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Previewing "Descendants: The Rise of Red"

A look at the upcoming fourth installment of the popular Disney Channel film franchise

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 15 days ago 5 min read

The countdown is on, and it's coming sooner than advertised!

I was over the moon with the news of a fourth installment to the Descendants film series, and the moment is close to arriving! I absolutely love this film series; hard to believe that this whole phenomenon started nine years ago! It was during the summer of 2015 that the first film hit Disney Channel, with the central characters being a quartet of villainous offspring (or "VKs"--short for "villain kids"). They were as follows: Mal (the daughter of Maleficent), Carlos (the son of Cruella de Vil), Evie (the Evil Queen's daughter), and Jay (the son of Jafar). The first film's plot centered on the quartet being sent by Maleficent to infiltrate Auradon's school to steal the Fairy Godmother's wand, though the film's progression saw the group slowly fit in to the point where they decided to abandon the plan.

The huge ratings and popularity of the first film led to a sequel being released two summers later in 2017, followed by a third film in the summer of 2019. The central cast of the first three films included Dove Cameron as Mal, Sofia Carson as Evie, Booboo Stewart as Jay, and Cameron Boyce as Carlos. Additional cast members included Mitchell Hope as Ben (the son of Belle and Beast), who was placed under Mal's love spell in the first film, but remained in love with Mal even after the spell was removed, leading to the couple becoming married in the third film. Melanie Paxson appeared in all three films as the Fairy Godmother, China Anne McClain debuted in the second film as Uma, serving as the sequel's Big Bad before redeeming herself in the third film, and of course, Sarah Jeffery played Audrey (Aurora's daughter), debuting in the first film, and returning in the third film as the main villainess (in such epic fashion).

Before I talk about the fourth film, I have to mention this:

Cameron Boyce played Carlos in all three films (the third film airing posthumously)

Tragedy hit the Descendants family prior to the third film airing, as Cameron Boyce passed away on July 6, 2019 at only 20 years of age. Boyce had been in a lot of films and TV shows since childhood; he was in Mirrors and Eagle Eye, and did a lot of work on Disney Channel (mainly his regular role on Jessie) prior to Descendants. Descendants 3 aired less than a month after Boyce's untimely passing, and the film was dedicated to Boyce. In addition, Adam Sandler's 2020 comedy, Hubie Halloween, was also dedicated to Boyce, who worked with Sandler in both Grown Ups movies.

Even prior to Boyce's passing, there was a feeling that the third film would be the end of a trilogy. I had believed so when the film was announced, and after the tragic news, my sentiment was that they had to end it there out of respect for Boyce.

However, when I learned about this new film and who was involved, I was elated, and still am. So here's the story so far regarding the new installment, Descendants: The Rise of Red.

Kylie Cantrall as Red, the daughter of Queen of Hearts

I'm going to start with a tidbit I just learned prior to writing this. I am so happy that Kylie Cantrall is in this film as Red, the daughter of the Queen of Hearts! The reason is simple: I am still upset that Disney Channel pulled the plug on her show, Gabby Duran and the Unsittables. That was my Friday night jam; I loved that show. Cantrall was amazing as the title character, and I feel that this casting in this upcoming film makes up for it. Along with Cantrall as Red, the film also features Malia Baker (from Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club) as Chloe, the daughter of Cinderella, and as the latest teaser trailer revealed, the two are roommates at Auradon.

The fourth film will also see China Anne McClain back as Uma, who serves as the new principal of Auradon Prep, with the first teaser revealing that Mal placed Uma in the position. I like this, it's the completion of Uma's redemption arc, which began with the third film. We'll also see Melanie Paxson back as the Fairy Godmother, along with two more familiar faces:

That's right, folks! Brandy is back as Cinderella! Not only that, Paolo Montalban is back as Prince (now King) Charming, with both actors reprising their roles from the 1997 film that aired on ABC. That is epic casting. It reminds me of the Arrowverse's last Crisis crossover, which saw all of the past DC superhero shows (even the 1960s Batman series) being suddenly part of the Arrowverse. The same applies here: the 1997 Cinderella film is now part of the Descendants universe. Just absolutely epic!

Speaking of epic, let's talk about who's playing the Queen of Hearts, shall we?

Rita Ora (behind the scenes) as the Queen of Hearts

You know that feeling I had when the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup two years ago? Take that, add my happiness over the Green Bay Packers making the playoffs with Jordan Love, multiply it by 100, and it still won't be enough to cover my elation over this! Rita Ora will be in this film as the Queen of Hearts, the film's Big Bad. Oooooh man, where do I start?! I've wanted Rita Ora to play a villainess in something...anything...for a while. She has that villainous vibe about her; trust me, in wrestling, she'd be such an uproarious heel manager--a mix between Sherri and Melina. Rita Ora will knock this out of the park farther than Aaron Judge does on the field. She will totally display the Queen of Hearts' venom to perfection, and she'll look fabulous doing so.

We won't have too long to wait for this! Descendants: The Rise of Red will hit Disney+ on July 12 of this year, before debuting on Disney Channel on August 9--just over five years after the third film's release. I'm very excited for this! I love this mostly new cast, while we see some respect to the OG group as well. I'm hoping that this fourth film gains enough popularity to result in a fifth and possible sixth film. I have an idea or two for any potential sequels, but I'll save that for another story.


About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

Feel free to follow my social media:

Twitter - Facebook - Tiktok - Instagram

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Comments (3)

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  • Mariann Carroll15 days ago

    I watched the Descendants with my daughter. I was sad when one of the cast past away. Very talented young man. I guess I am going to have to get Disney + . It’s cute you include Green Bay Packers in this story. As always I enjoyed this . Great cast on this Descendants !!!!

  • Philip Gipson15 days ago

    I've seen all three "Descendants" films, so I kinda knew that Disney would continue to cash in on the franchise somehow. This new movie should hopefully be a delight. :)


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