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Descendants: The Rise of Red is an American musical, fantasy and comedy film directed by Jennifer Phang. The film is a spin-off to the previous Descendants film trilogy, and a standalone sequel to Descendants 3, while the events take place after the television special Descendants: The Royal Wedding.

It was released on July 12, 2024 on Disney+. It will have an encore presentation on August 9, 2024 on Disney Channel. Production began on September 5, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Filming officially started on January 30, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia, and ended on the 21st of March that year.[1][2]

The film broke a record in its debut on Disney+ with 6.7 million views in its first three days of streaming, becoming Disney Branded Television's most-viewed movie premiere ever on the streamer.[3]

Synopsis[]

In this newest installment in the mega-hit "Descendants" franchise, former Villain Kid Uma, now headmaster of Auradon Prep,  extends an invite to the school to another VK – Red, the rebellious daughter of the tyrannical Queen of Hearts from Wonderland. The Queen of Hearts has long held a grudge against Auradon, and especially against Cinderella, and seizes the opportunity to seek revenge when she drops her daughter off at school. When the Queen of Hearts incites a coup against Auradon, Red must team up with Cinderella's perfectionist daughter Chloe and travel back in time using a magical pocketwatch to try to undo the traumatic event that set Red's mother down her villainous course.

Plot[]

Some years after the events of Descendants 3, Mal, Ben, Evie, and Jay leave Auradon on business, leaving Uma as the new headmistress of Auradon Prep, she sends an invite to Princess Red, the rebellious daughter of the tyrannical Queen of Hearts, much to Fairy Godmother's dismay as Wonderland is not part of the alliance due to its chaotic and unruly nature, but Uma manages to convince her as a way to honor Carlos. Meanwhile, in Wonderland, Red, who has never known freedom and longs to escape her mother's oppressive nature, is being chased by The Jack of Diamond's guards, after vandalizing the courtyard ("Red") only to be rescued by Maddox, son of the Mad Hatter and Red's private tutor, who shows her his latest invention, a pocket watch that can travel to specific moments in time, but despite warning her about the effects it could have, such as possibly losing her mother, she steals it. At the same time, Chloe Charming, daughter of Cinderella and King Charming and younger sister of Chad, prepares to leave for her first year of Auradon Prep and is gifted a modern pair of glass slippers for her good and kind actions ("So This Is Love"). The next day, The Queen of Hearts convinces her daughter to punish the Jack for his inability to protect her courtyard by having him beheaded, but she flippantly refuses, only for Red's invitation to Auradon Prep to arrive, which her mother accepts for her, believing it to be an opportunity of a lifetime.

Red and her mother follow the invitation through the rabbit hole which leads them to Auradon just as Chloe and her mother arrive ("Love Ain't It"), the Queen of Hearts and Cinderella meet for the first time since their time at Merlin Academy, Auradon Prep's original title, which turns hostile immediately, relaying a traumatic prank of the Queen of Hearts suffered from their high school days, and their daughters have a cold introduction. At Auradon's opening day, the Queen shows Red the looking glass which shows Red as a capable and compliant princess next to her mother, which Red immediately denies as she refuses to be anything like her, but The Queen does not believe her. Uma welcomes Red to Auradon ("What's My Name (Red Version)"), only for her mother to launch a coup on the Kingdom and take everyone prisoner, including Uma, Fairy Godmother and Cinderella, who refuses to bow to her. The Queen of Hearts goads Red into condemning Cinderella, but despite Ella's urging, Red complies and has her sentenced to a beheading, leading all of Auradon to turn on her. Chloe attempts to use her sword, in order to rescue her mother only for Red to stop her, Chloe attacks her, inadvertently activating Maddox's time watch which sends both Red and Chloe into the past, when their mothers were their age, and the school was called Merlin Academy.

Red and Chloe fight over the pocket watch, Chloe believing that they should return to before the coup, and Red believing that they were sent to the current time for a reason ("Fight of Our Lives") until they resolve to team up for the sake of both of their mothers. The princesses meet Principal Merlin and enroll themselves into the academy under the guise of exchange students of far-off kingdoms, they are escorted to chemistry class where they are partnered with Bridget and Ella, (teenage versions of The Queen of Hearts and Cinderella respectively), and are surprised to find that they used to be best friends and that Bridget actually used to be a kindhearted person who just wanted to be friends with everyone before becoming Queen. While passing out enchanted cupcakes to other students ("Life Is Sweeter"), they meet a group of young villains, including Morgie, son of Morgana le Fay and teenage versions of Maleficent, Hades and Hook, all led by Uliana, Ursula's younger sister, whom is just as evil as her. She steals Bridget's cupcakes and consumes the enchanted flamingo feathers from all of them, accidentally turning her into a flamingo that chases her and Ella through the school, embarrassing her in front of everyone and invoking her vengeance, which Red and Chloe realize is the catalyst for Bridget becoming the cruelhearted Queen of Hearts. After the chase comes to a halt, Bridget wanted to apologize for what happened, but her attempt was declined by Ella because Uliana had done it to herself. She also tells Red and Chloe that Uliana usually bullies her and Bridget. Prince Charming then comes across Ella and asks her if she wants to go to the Crowncoming dance, however she is not very enthused, refusing to go out with him and Charming leaves unfazed because of the possibility of her attending the dance if Ella changes her mind. Even though Chloe appears to sense chemistry between them, Ella is not interested in him at the moment. She instead chooses to go to the dance with Bridget who's pleased about that.

Looking for answers, Red and Chloe visit Ella's house, which Chloe is shocked to find it in shambles and disarray, compared to her otherwise pristine home, and officially meet Ella who only allows them in if they help her with her chores, by order of her stepmother. They question Ella about why Bridget and Uliana are who they are, which Ella states that Uliana is who she is because she feels like she has to live up to her sister's reputation of being one of the worst villains there was and hates Bridget specifically because she's so kind and only wants to be friends. When Red calls her mother an easy target because she's weak, Ella responds by saying she's the strongest person she knows because of hard she tries to be loved by everyone and when Chloe tells her about how her slippers were a gift for her good behavior, she asks if she really earned them if they were a gift, making both of them question their own motives. While cleaning, Chloe accidentally breaks a vase, but Lady Tremaine chooses to blame Ella for it, despite Chloe admitting her own fault, and forbids her from going to the upcoming Crowncoming dance, and Ella reluctantly complies, and when Chloe tells her that it's unfair, Ella tells her about how unfair her own life has been since her parents died because of how her stepmother treats her despite how kind she is, making Chloe realize that her mother had lived a very different life from her.

The duo travel to the Black Lagoon, where the VKs hang out, and secretly follow them inside as they try to figure out what the big prank on Bridget is supposed to be in which they discover is a spell from an enchanted cookbook that is meant to turn Bridget into a monster after eating a cursed cupcake ("Perfect Revenge"). The duo decides that the best thing to is to get the cookbook before they do so they can't cast the spell, they visit Bridget to ask her where it is, where they find her practicing a special dance for the Crowncoming dance with a deck of cards ("Shuffle of Love") and ask her if she knows anything about the cookbook, and Bridget searches for it. While she looks, they find Bridget's looking glass and look at how their future is currently only to see that The Queen of Hearts has captured King Charming and coldly teases him by dropping Cinderella's glass slippers in front of his eyes and they break into pieces, suggesting that she successfully beheaded Cinderella, much to Charming and Chloe's despair. Bridget then thought it was strange that she couldn't find the cookbook. Red and Chloe began to realize that the spell book might be one of the banned books in Principal Merlin's office, but Bridget doesn’t like the idea of going there because of how dangerous that is.

The girls have argument about what to do with the information, Chloe believes it's best to confess everything to Principal Merlin because it's the right thing to do, despite the fact that it could expose them, while Red resolves to steal the book themselves before Uliana can and take it with them so they can't pull off the prank, Chloe tells her that it's wrong and that it would make her no different than her mother, only for Red to coldly retort saying that she doing the right thing is what led her mother to her demise, and leaves to steal the book by herself because she knows she's bad. Later, Chloe, in a moment of self-doubt, goes back to Ella's house and asks her advice on what the right thing is, and Ella tells her that sometimes you need get your hands dirty to do a lot of good and that people who know that they're bad aren't actually that bad, Chloe then begins to reflect on her own goodness while helping Ella clean her garden which she realizes is more vain and skin deep than she believed ("Get Your Hands Dirty") and resolves to help Red steal the book.

Back at the academy, the VKs watch as Red sneaks into Merlin's office where she reunites with Chloe who apologizes for what she said and together, they look for the enchanted cookbook, only to accidentally trigger a security protocol that causes swords to attack them while a mechanical owl goes to warn Merlin, they fend off the swords and Chloe successfully throws her slippers at another owl before it flies off with the book, only for the VKs to enter and take it for themselves, but when Uliana opens it, the book casts a spell on her, Maleficent, Hades and Hook freezing them in place due to their evil nature. Chloe then gives the book to Red, believing her to be the real hero, she opens it and removes the recipe. They leave just as Merlin returns and gives the VKs a year's worth of detention, blaming them for the destruction, preventing them from attending the dance and causing the prank.

Assuming Bridget will be fine, Red and Chloe reconcile their differences and become best friends as they activate the pocket watch and return to Auradon, minutes before The Queen of Hearts launched her coup. The duo find that the Queen of Hearts is now a kind-hearted queen spreading love and joy and is truly happy that her daughter will be attending Auradon Prep as they embrace ("Life Is Sweeter (Reprise)"), and Chloe reunites with her mother as Uma announces the opening of Auradon Prep. The kingdom celebrates with a dance party ("Life Is Sweeter (Remix)"), but in a narration, Uma states that while everyone got what they wanted, getting what you want can be dangerous, especially when you mess with the fabric of time, and then says that the story isn't over yet.

Cast[]

The Descendants[]

Villains[]

Heroes[]

Other[]

Songs[]

      Main article: Descendants: The Rise of Red (Soundtrack)

Videos[]

Trivia[]

  • While in production, the film was under the working titles The Pocketwatch[1] and Descendants 4.
    • Subsequently, the title was changed and officially announced as Descendants: The Rise of Red.[8]
    • In the script for the film, the title is also named as Descendants: The Rise of Red - Part One.[9]
  • Auradon appears for the first time since Descendants: The Royal Wedding, released three years before this film.
    • This special also gave the first hint that the film would focus on Wonderland, ending with a scene focused on white roses painted red and a rabbit hole.
    • As by Disney's request, The Rise of Red returns to these locations and also takes audiences through the rabbit hole to the hostile unincorporated territory of Wonderland, a magical, mysterious place made famous in Alice in Wonderland.[1]
  • Seven new songs and Disney classic songs advance the story.[1]
  • Returning to the franchise is production designer Mark Hofeling, who previously designed the sets for the entire Descendants franchise.[1]
  • Dara Reneé and Kylie Cantrall appeared previously in the special: Descendants Remix Dance Party.
  • Brandy Norwood and Paolo Montalban played Cinderella and Prince Charming in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella for ABC's Wonderful World of Disney.
  • Per Deadline Hollywood, along with The Pocket watch, a sequel is being developed by Disney.
  • This is the first Descendants film that is not focused on Mal. This is also the first film in the franchise where, besides her, Evie, Jay, Carlos, Ben, Jane, Doug, Chad, Beast and Belle do not appear in.
    • Mal, Ben, Carlos, Evie and Jay appear in pictures, while Chad, Beast and Belle are only mentioned.
    • This is also the second time Audrey has been absent from a Descendants film since her absence in Descendants 2.
  • This is one of four Descendants televised/YouTube related media to include a title, the others being Wicked World, Under the Sea, the Remix Dance Party special and School of Secrets (not including the books), but unlike the previously mentioned, this instalment within the franchise is just a spin-off.
  • The original script for the film when it was known as "The Pocketwatch" hinted at a royal baby though the idea has been seemingly scrapped.[10]
  • Previous films' stars Sarah Jeffery, Brenna D'Amico, Jedidiah Goodacre, Anna Cathcart and Jadah Marie attended the premiere.[11]

References[]

External links[]


Navigation[]

v - e - d
Descendants 4 Logo
Characters
Descendants: RedChloe CharmingUmaMaddox Hatter
Disney Characters: Queen of Hearts / BridgetCinderella / EllaKing Charming / Prince CharmingFairy Godmother / FayHookMaleficentHadesAladdinJasminePrincipal MerlinEvil Stepmother
Original Characters: UlianaMorgieJack of DiamondsCrimson ArmyMeadow
Music
Soundtrack
Songs: RedSo This Is LoveLove Ain't ItWhat's My Name (Red Version)Fight of Our LivesLife Is SweeterPerfect RevengeShuffle of LoveGet Your Hands DirtyLife Is Sweeter (Reprise)Life Is Sweeter (Remix)Bad Reputation
Locations
AuradonAuradon PrepWonderlandCharming CastleMerlin AcademyBlack Lagoon
Objects
The Pocket WatchThe Looking GlassChloe's Glass ShoesGlass SlippersMagic WandSorcerer's CookbookMerlin's Wand
v - e - d
Descendants Media Logo
Films
DescendantsDescendants 2Descendants 3The Rise of Red
Television and web series
School of SecretsWicked WorldThe Planning of the Royal WeddingChibi Tiny TalesChibiverse
Video games
Descendants: Isle of the Lost RushDescendants (mobile game)
Soundtracks
DescendantsDescendants 2Descendants 3The Rise of Red
Books
The Isle of the Lost series: The Isle of the LostReturn to the Isle of the LostRise of the Isle of the LostEscape from the Isle of the LostBeyond the Isle of the Lost: Wonderland

Films' novels: Descendants: Junior NovelDescendants 2: Junior NovelDescendants 3: Junior NovelDescendants: The Rise of Red: Junior Novel
Guides and databooks: Disney Descendants YearbookDisney Descendants: Secrets of Auradon Prep: Insider's HandbookDescendants: Mal's Spell BookDescendants: Mal's DiaryDisney Descendants: Up Close!Auradon Prep Spirit Book: Highlights and MemoriesDescendants 2: Evie's Fashion BookMal's Spell Book II: More Wicked MagicA Descendants Scrapbook: The Isle of the Lost EditionDescendants 2: Uma's Wicked Book: For Villain KidsDescendants 3: The Villain Kids' Guide for New VKsDescendants 3: Audrey's DiaryDescendants: The Magic of FriendshipDescendants: The World of Auradon: Royals and Villains
Cinestory comics: Descendants: Wicked World Wish Granted Cinestory Comic Volume 1Descendants: Wicked World Cinestory Comic, Vol. 2Descendants: Wicked World Cinestory Comic Volume 3Descendants: Wicked World Cinestory Comic Vol. 4
School of Secrets series: CJ's Treasure ChaseFreddie's Shadow CardsAlly's Mad MysteryLonnie's Warrior SwordCarlos's Scavenger Hunt
Manga: Rotten to the Core Trilogy (Vol. 1 - Vol. 2 - Vol. 3 - Collector's Edition) • Evie's Wicked Runway (Vol. 1 - Vol. 2) • Dizzy's New FortuneMaking the Manga
Comic books and graphic novels: The Isle of the Lost: The Graphic NovelDescendants: Twisted Field TripReturn to the Isle of the Lost: The Graphic NovelDescendants: Fright at the Museum
Others: Poster-A-Page: This is Our Time

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