Descendants is a 2015 American musical fantasy television film directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega. The film stars Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart and Sofia Carson as the sons and daughters of Maleficent, The Evil Queen, Jafar and Cruella De Vil. The plot follows these teenagers adjusting to life outside the Isle of the Lost, while on a mission to steal the Fairy Godmother's wand and free their parents from captivity.
The film also stars Mitchell Hope, Melanie Paxson, Brenna D'Amico, Sarah Jeffery, Zachary Gibson, Jedidiah Goodacre, Dianne Doan, Dan Payne, Keegan Connor Tracy, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Maz Jobrani, Kathy Najimy, and Kristin Chenoweth. The film debuted on July 31, 2015 as a Disney Channel Original Movie, to positive reviews and 6.6 million viewers.
After their wedding, Belle and King Beast establish the United States of Auradon from the surrounding kingdoms, creating a prosperous new nation, and are elected King and Queen. The kingdom's villains are imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, a slum where magic is suspended and surrounded by a barrier. Twenty years later, Prince Ben is to ascend the Auradon throne and informs his parents that his first proclamation is give the Isle of the Lost's children the chance to live in Auradon, away from the influence of their villainous parents. The first four children he has chosen are Evie: Daughter of Evil Queen, Jay: Son of Jafar, Carlos: Son of Cruella de Vil, and Mal: Daughter of Maleficent. On the island, Maleficent instructs the four chosen children to find and steal the Fairy Godmother's magic wand to release the villains.
Traveling to Auradon Prep, the four meet Ben and his self-proclaimed girlfriend Audrey, daughter of Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip, and the Fairy Godmother, who is the school's headmistress. Evie uses her mother's pocket-sized magic mirror to locate the magic wand that's in a nearby museum, but they fail to steal it. Learning the Fairy Godmother will use the wand at Ben's coronation, the four wait it out by attending classes but start to fit in with the students. Jay is recruited into the school's "tourney" team (a hockey-like sport), while Carlos surpasses his cynophobia by befriending the school mutt Dude. Evie, though intelligent, acts vain to impress Chad: Son of Cinderella and Prince Charming, but ends up doing his homework for him. Dopey's son Doug encourages her to not pander to others and be herself.
Mal becomes popular, using Maleficent's spell book to improve the looks of the Fairy Godmother's daughter Jane, and Li Shang and Mulan's daughter Lonnie. Learning that Ben's girlfriend will be seated close to the magic wand during the coronation, Mal bakes a cookie laced with a love potion and gives it to Ben, who falls madly in love with her, much to the shock of his friends. On a date with Ben, Mal becomes conflicted with her inner goodness and desire to please her mother, unsure how to react to Ben's feelings towards her. During the school's family day, the villains' children are ostracized after an encounter with Audrey's grandmother Queen Leah. Though Ben, Lonnie and Doug remain friendly towards them, Lonnie is forced to distance herself from the quintet, while Jane turns her mocks them with Audrey and Chad angering Mal to undo Jane's Hair makeover and after threatening to do worst the other kids, the quintet decide carry out their task and grab the wand.
On the day of the coronation, Mal gives Ben a brownie containing the love spell's antidote, believing it is "extra wicked" to keep Ben under the spell, but he reveals he was already freed of the enchantment since their date when he went swimming in the Enchanted Lake and believing that Mal only did that because she really liked him but he was "in a relationship" with Audrey. During Ben's crowning, a disillusioned Jane grabs the wand from her mother, accidentally destroying the Isle's barrier. Mal takes the wand from Jane, but torn over what to do, is encouraged by Ben to make her own choice rather than follow Maleficent's path. Mal recognizes that she and her friends found happiness in Auradon, and they decide to be good.
Maleficent crashes the ceremony, freezing everyone in time except herself and the four children. When they defy her, Maleficent transforms into a dragon. The four use a counterspell, turning Maleficent into a tiny lizard, based on the amount of love in her heart. Mal returns the Fairy Godmother her wand and tells her not to be hard on Jane. The Fairy Godmother then unfreezes everyone.
While the villains watch the celebration from afar, Auradon Prep's students party through the night, with Mal and her friends finding happiness. Mal dances with Ben while Lonnie Dances with Chad, Evie with Doug, Jane with Carlos and Audrey with Jay. After Ben and Mal share a moment together, Mal faces the audience with eyes glowing mischievously green and her narration states that it wasn't the end of the story.
- Dove Cameron as Mal, the daughter of Maleficent.
- Cameron Boyce as Carlos, the son of Cruella de Vil.
- Booboo Stewart as Jay, the son of Jafar
- Sofia Carson as Evie, the daughter of The Evil Queen.
- Mitchell Hope as Prince Ben, the son of Queen Belle and King Beast
- Sarah Jeffery as Princess Audrey, the daughter of Aurora, the Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip.
- Brenna D'Amico as Jane, the daughter of the Fairy Godmother.
- Zachary Gibson as Doug, the son of Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Jedidiah Goodacre as Prince Chad Charming, the son of Cinderella and Prince Charming.
- Dianne Doan as Lonnie, the daughter of Fa Mulan and Li Shang.
- Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, Mal's mother who is known as the worst villain in Auradon.
- Wendy Raquel Robinson as Cruella de Vil from One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Carlos's mother.
- Maz Jobrani as Jafar from Aladdin, Jay's father who owns his own junk shop.
- Kathy Najimy as the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Evie's mother who still has issues with her stepdaughter Snow White.
- Melanie Paxson as the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella, the headmistress of Auradon Prep and Jane's mother.
- Dan Payne as King Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Prince Ben's father.
- Keegan Connor Tracy as Queen Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Prince Ben's mother.
- Judith Maxie as Queen Leah from Sleeping Beauty, the mother of Princess Aurora, the Sleeping Beauty and the grandmother of Princess Audrey who has issues against Mal for her mother depriving her of spending a childhood with Aurora.
- Stephanie Bennett as Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a local news anchor who reports on the activities at Auradon.
- Reese Alexander as Coach Jenkins, the gym teacher at Auradon Prep who is the coach of its tourney team.
- Jonathan Holmes as Mr. Deley, a science teacher at Auradon Prep.
On December 12, 2013, Disney Channel announced the production of the film and released the plot outline. The script was written by the Emmy Award-nominated Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott. Filming began in the spring of 2014. Kenny Ortega, the Emmy Award-winning director who has previously worked with Disney Channel on the High School Musical trilogy, was announced to be directing the film. Filming took place in Victoria, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Descendants made its debut on Family Channel in Canada on July 31, 2015, at the same time as the United States. It was also the last Disney Channel Original Movie to air in Canada on Family after moving all Disney Content to Disney Channel The film premiered on August 1, 2015 on Disney Channel in Australia and New Zealand and on September 25, 2015 on Disney Channel in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In the Middle East and Africa, the film premiered on September 18, 2015 on the English feed of Disney Channel. It premiered in Turkey on October 17, 2015 on Disney Channel.
Descendants was released on DVD on July 31, 2015.
Before the film made its TV debut, it was viewed more than one million times on the Watch Disney Channel app. It was viewed by 6.6 million people on its premiere night and 10.5 million viewers in Early DVR Playback. Shortly after the premier air date, ratings showed the film was the fifth most watched original movie in cable history.
In Australia, the film attracted 151,000 viewers, making it the sixth highest-rated broadcast on pay television on its premiere day. The British premiere was watched by 827,000 viewers, making it the most-watched broadcast on Disney Channel of that week and month. The viewers rose to 1.45 million in 28 days, making it the highest viewership ever on the network.
Isabella Biedenharn of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" grade, saying "... plot isn't really the point. The fun is in the roll call... It's no High School Musical, but the songs are catchy, and the junior villains are worth rooting for." Tisha Mae Eaton of Moviepilot.com stated, "It's a movie that definitely had the feel of a Disney classic with a modern twist and I highly recommend it." Alex Reif of LaughingPlace.com gave it a score of 4.5 out of 5 saying, "... I highly recommend this to any Disney fan, if for no other reason than to see what they've done with the characters, the Hocus Pocus references, and Kristin Chenoweth's Maleficent which is closer to the animated character than Angelina Jolie's portrayal." Brian Lowry of Variety called it "... a playful and tuneful TV movie, exhibiting much higher ambitions than, say, the Teen Beach franchise." By contrast, Amy Amatangelo of The Hollywood Reporter gave it a mixed review, calling it "High School Musical meets Once Upon a Time. It smartly ushers little girls who have grown up watching Disney movies into the tween audience and is an idea so ripe for merchandising that the Disney Store is already chock-full of Descendants costumes, dolls and T-shirts." She called the story "flimsy", but singled out the performances of Chenoweth, Najimy, Robinson and Jobrani.
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result||Ref.|
|2015||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie TV Song||Shawn Mendes - Believe||Nominated|||
|2016||Writers Guild of America Award||Children's Longform Program||Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott||Won|||
|2016||Directors Guild of America Award||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Children's Program||Kenny Ortega||Won|
|2016||Golden Reel Awards||Sound Editing In Television - Musical: Long Form||Amber Funk||Nominated|
|2016||68th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Music Composition For A Limited Series, Movie Or Special (Original Dramatic Score)||David Lawrence||Pending|||
During the 2015 D23 Expo, Disney announced that a sequel to Descendants has been ordered. The news was made official on the Disney Channel Facebook page on October 15, 2015. Deadline reported that Parriott and McGibbon will reprise their duties as screenwriters and executive producers and that all of the cast from the first film is expected to return. On June 10, 2016, it was announced that China Anne McClain, who was already voicing Freddie, the descendant of Dr. Facilier, in Wicked World, would join the sequel as Ursula's descendant, Uma.
Before the film's premiere air date, Disney Channel announced a live action mini series leading up to the event. Every day leading up to the release of the film, a new episode of Descendants: School of Secrets would be released revealing more secrets about the students at Auradon Prep. Each episode of the series is under 5 minutes long, with 23 episodes in total.
Right after the film finished airing on Disney Channel, it was announced that a CGI-animated short spinoff entitled Descendants: Wicked World would be released in September 18, 2015. Furthermore, former Phineas and Ferb storyboard artist Aliki Theofilopoulos Grafft announced on Twitter that she was directing the series, with Jenni Cook as producer, and that the original cast would be reprising their roles. Each episode of the series is going to be under five minutes long, and in January 2016 a DVD intitled "Descendants: Wicked World & More" was released and has every short from season one, along with the Rotten To The Choreography and the Set It Off Specials. The episodes are about two minutes long.
The Isle of the Lost
A prequel novel called The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz, has the villains' descendants banding together to retrieve the Dragon's Eye. The book has spent over 14 weeks as a Children's Middle Grade New York Times Best Seller.
Besides detailing about the children of Maleficent, Jafar, Cruella De Vil, and the Evil Queen, it also talks about some of the known locations of the Isle of the Lost like Dragon Hall (the only school on the Isle of the Lost), Goblin Wharf (which is operated by goblins who would like amnesty for their involvement with Maleficent), Bargain Castle (which sells enchanted robes and bargain hats while the top floor is where Maleficent lives), Jafar's Junk Shop (which is owned by Jafar as mentioned in the film), Castle Far Away (where the Evil Queen lives), Hell Hall (where Cruella de Vil lives), and the Isle of the Doomed (which is hidden next to the Isle of the Lost). The sorcerer Yen Sid from Fantasia is positioned here by King Beast to work at Dragon Hall to help the students with formerly magical parents adapt to more modern methods since the Isle of the Lost's barrier negates all magic.
Other villains mentioned or hinted to be on the Isle of the Lost are Captain Hook from Peter Pan (who is mentioned to own "Hook's Inlet and Shack" and is the father of Harriet and CJ Hook), Ursula from The Little Mermaid (who owns "Ursula's Fish and Chips" while the Strait of Ursula that's named after her is what separates the Isle of the Lost from Charmington and the mother of Uma), Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog (who was the founder of Dragon Hall and the father of Freddie Facilier), Mother Gothel from Tangled (who is mentioned to be a teacher at Dragon Hall teaching "Selfishness 101" and is the mother of Ginny Gothel), Lady Tremaine and her two daughters Drizella and Anastasia from Cinderella (Lady Tremaine is the grandmother of Anthony Tremaine and a teacher at Dragon Hall teaching "Evil Schemes and Nasty Plots" while her cat Lucifer is the school mascot), Clayton from Tarzan (who is the father of Clay Clayton), Madame Mim from The Sword in the Stone (who has Mad Maddy as one of her granddaughters), Governor John Ratcliffe from Pocahontas, Gaston from Beauty and the Beast (who is the father of Gaston Jr. and Gaston III as well as the owner of "Gaston Duels Without Rules"), Shan Yu from Mulan, Shere Khan from The Jungle Book (who owns "Shere Khan Pawns"), Scar and his hyena cronies from The Lion King, the Horned King from The Black Cauldron (who is mentioned to own "Cauldron Repair"), Professor Padraic Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective, Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove (who is the mother of Yzla and Zevon), and Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (who is mentioned to own "Frollo's Creperie" and is the father of Claudine Frollo).
Return to the Isle of the Lost
Another Descendants novel titled Return to the Isle of the Lost was released on May 24, 2016. While Ben is running Auradon while his parents are on a cruise, Mal, Jay, Carlos, and Evie receive threatening messages to return to the Isle of the Lost at the time when it ends up in worse shape ever since Maleficent's defeat and the fact that Cruella de Vil, the Evil Queen, and Jafar have gone missing.
During this time, it was also confirmed that the Crocodile from Peter Pan (who has various children swimming around "Hook's Inlet"), Edgar Balthazar from The Aristocats (who is mentioned to have a son named Eddie), Hades from Hercules (who is mentioned to have a son named Hadie), and the Ringmaster from Dumbo (who is mentioned to have a daughter named Hermie Bing) are imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost. The Isle of the Lost also has an original character who was the former Royal Astronomer of Agrabah and an ally of Jafar who is the father of Reza. It's also introduces Hercules's son Herkie, Pinocchio's son on Pin, Grumpy's son Gordon, Tiger Lily's daughter Tiger Peony, and King Arthur's Son Artie in the book.
It is also reveled that apart from Jay and Audrey, the villain kids and hero kids introduced in the film that shared couple dances are dating, Mal is still with Ben, Evie is confirmed to be Doug's Girlfriend. and Carlos and Jane turned out to be a perfect match for each other.
Also as Freddie, Jordan, and Ally appear in the book, the story takes place during Descendants: Wicked World.
Other books have been released, including Mal's Diary, Mal's Spellbook, a poster book, and a Guide to Auradon Prep.