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Recapping the ‘Descendants’ Series Ahead of ‘Descendants: The Rise of Red’

Recapping the ‘Descendants’ Series Ahead of ‘Descendants: The Rise of Red’

Fans of Disney’s Descendants series are set to return to Auradon this summer with Descendants: The Rise of Red! This fourth installment in the musical fantasy film series will be the first spinoff of the original Descendants trilogy, following an exciting new group of storybook characters — though a few familiar faces from the original cast are set to return as well!  

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Once Upon a Time…

The fairytale kingdoms all united to become Auradon, and the villains were banished to the Isle of the Lost. Villain Kids (VKs) were not allowed to attend Auradon Prep, until Prince Ben — son of Belle and the Beast — opened up the school to four VKs: Mal, Maleficent’s daughter; Evie, the Evil Queen’s daughter; Carlos, Cruella de Vil’s son; and Jay, Jafar’s son. When the VKs initially arrived, they schemed to steal Fairy Godmother’s wand and break down the barrier between the two lands. But the VKs grew to find happiness and the good within themselves, and they decided to return the wand and stay in their new home of Auradon.

For Mal, Auradon was her new home and where she fell in love with Ben, but the pressure that comes with being royalty drove her to return to the Isle. But the Isle wasn’t how Mal had left it — Uma, Ursula’s daughter, had become the leader of the VKs of the Isle. Uma, fueled by spite for not being selected to attend Auradon Prep, led her crew of pirates to kidnap Ben and demand Fairy Godmother’s wand in exchange. The VKs battled Uma and her pirates, and through the power of Mal’s true love for Ben, Uma was defeated.

Mal and Ben got engaged and all were in celebration, with the exception of Audrey, Aurora’s daughter and Ben’s ex-girlfriend, who always thought she would become queen. Devastated, Audrey placed a sleeping curse on Auradon. The VKs teamed up with Uma and the pirates in order to thwart Audrey’s villainous plan. They all learned that “good” and “bad” isn’t based on whether you were born a Villain Kid or born of royalty — it’s about what you choose to do and choose to be every day. And so, together, the barrier between Auradon and the Isle of the Lost was broken down for good.

Descendants: The Rise of the Red

With director Jennifer Phang — who previously helmed Disney’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and HBO’s The Flight Attendant — taking the reins for this installment, Descendants: The Rise of Red promises to be the biggest Descendants film yet. 

Before the film’s Disney Channel premiere on August 9 at 8 p.m. E.D.T., let’s look back at Descendants’ first three films to recap how we got here.

‘Descendants’ (2015)

Released in 2015, Disney’s Descendants was a runaway hit. The film saw the return of many of Disney’s beloved animated characters. Descendants opens with Belle and Beast ruling over the United States of Auradon, a land of peace after Disney villains have been banished to the Isle of the Lost. 

Soon, Bell and Beast’s son, Ben — the future king — announces a proclamation to allow four Villains Kids the opportunity to leave the Isle of the Lost and live in Auradon, away from the influence of their dastardly parents. The chosen V.K.s are Jay, son of Aladdin’s Jafar; Evie, daughter of Snow White‘s Evil Queen; Carlos, son of 101 Dalmatians’ Cruella de Vil’ and the clique’s leader, Mal, daughter of Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent.   

Life on Auradon is pretty good for the V.K.s! They quickly find themselves thriving in a normal Auradon childhood, with Mal even starting a relationship with Ben. But when the barrier between worlds is dispelled, Maleficent takes her opportunity to transform into a dragon and attack. Mal and her group of friends decide to act — banding together, they fight back against Maleficent (turning her into a tiny lizard) and save Auradon. 

‘Descendants 2’ (2017)

Descendants 2 finds Mal out of place. As her high-profile relationship with Ben causes her celebrity to grow, she becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the princess-like facade she must maintain. And so she decides to return to the Isle of the Lost. 

But as she arrives, she finds her old rival Uma (Ursula’s daughter, natch) — her gang Harry, son of Peter Pan‘s Captain Hook, and Gil, son of Beauty and the Beast‘s Gaston — now rule the Isle. With Mal missing, Ben enlists the help of Evie, Jay and Carlos to help search. Soon, Uma captures Ben and demands the Fairy Godmother’s wand for his deliverance. 

Ben falls under Uma’s spell and invites her to return to Auradon with him. Giving chase, Mal and her friends use a fake wand to rescue Ben and save him from Uma’s spell with a kiss of true love. 

‘Descendants 3’ (2019)

Mal, Evie, Jay and Carlos visit the Isle of the Lost to choose a new band of Villain Kids that will live peacefully on Auradon. 

Upon their return, we learn that Ben has assumed the mantle of King of Auradon. He soon proposes to Mal, who accepts. Learning of this, Ben’s ex-girlfriend Audrey, daughter of Sleeping Beauty‘s Princess Aurora, is overcome with jealousy. She steals the Queen’s crown and Maleficent’s scepter and gains magical, evil powers. 

Having become an outright villain in her own right, Audrey curses Mal. And so Mal and her V.K.s must once again return to the Isle to retrieve Hades’ ember, the only thing powerful enough to break the scepter’s curse. 

Mal and her friends team up with Uma to defeat the evil Audrey. Having, once again, saved Auradon, Mal extinguishes the Isle of the Lost’s barrier and creates a bridge, bringing harmony to the two worlds.  

Return to Auradon with Descendants: The Rise of Red on August 9 at 8 p.m. EDT for a brand new adventure starring Red, the rebellious daughter of Alice and Wonderland‘s Queen of Hearts, and Chloe, Cinderella‘s perfectionist daughter. 

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