Disney Channel's Live-Action Movie 'Descendants' Will Center On Kids Of Classic Villains

Based on the description of Disney Channel’s planned original movie, Descendants, it seems the cable channel has sent the bucket deep into the Disney well and has come up with a pretty ambitious but intriguing all-star(ish) sequel concept. That may be cause for concern to die-hard Disney fanatics, especially if we consider some of those straight-to-video non-classics Disney has distributed in the past, which have tampered with the canon of the stories in less than satisfying ways. But I think this TV movie has potential, and not just for whatever undiscovered youths there are out there talented enough to land roles in it, likely hoping to be the next Vanessa Hudgens or Zac Efron… or whoever the next people of those two were between High School Musical and now.

Disney Channel announced today that they’ve begun casting on Descendants, a TV movie that’s described as a contemporary live-action adventure-comedy focusing on the offspring of Disney’s most evil villains. The movie will be directed by Kenny Ortega, who helmed and choreographed Disney’s High School Musical TV movies and feature film. Disney says production is slated to start next spring with a 2015 premiere planned for Disney Channel.

Here’s the official synopsis:

In a present day idyllic kingdom, the benevolent teenaged son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from Disney's iconic "Beauty and the Beast") is poised to take the throne. His first proclamation: offer a chance at redemption to the trouble-making offspring of Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, the Evil Queen and Jafar who have been imprisoned on a forbidden island with all the other villains, sidekicks, evil step-mothers and step-sisters.These villainous descendants (Carlos, Mal, Evvie and Jay, respectively) are allowed into the kingdom to attend prep school alongside the offspring of iconic Disney heroes, including Fairy Godmother, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Mulan. However, the evil teens face a dilemma. Should they follow in their nefarious parents' footsteps and help all the villains regain power or embrace their innate goodness and save the kingdom.

I realize Classic Disney purists may not take this optimistic approach, but I kind of love the premise of this, as I think there’s a lot of potential for interesting character stories. Not only does it offer familiar tie-ins to characters we all know and love (or love to fear, in the case of the villains), but the root of the story seems to be about identity, which is something anyone can relate to — especially high school kids. Factor in the stigma of being the child of a bad guy and how that might relate to a group of kids entering a prestigious prep school full of kids who are growing up in the happily-ever-after of their hero parents and anything can happen. Plus, it's a prep school, which -- if it's the boarding kind -- may mean we won't be seeing live-action versions of the kids' parents, which I'd be ok with. If I had a preference, I'd want them to exist in reference only if possible.

Is it safe to assume that with Kenny Ortega’s involvement, there will be music, or at the very least dancing? The announcement doesn’t mention, but it’s another high school set TV movie, so there’s a possibility, right? Maybe a prom situation? We’ll be sure to keep you posted if we hear any updates, especially as casting gets underway.

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Logo image via EW.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site. She an expert in all things Harry Potter, books from a variety of genres (sci-fi, mystery, horror, YA, drama, romance -- anything with a great story and interesting characters.), watching Big Brother, frequently rewatching The Office, listening to Taylor Swift, and playing The Sims.