‘Descendants 2′ Director Teases Upheaval For Dove Cameron’s Mal In Sequel

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Fans who are gearing up to watch Descendants 2 may be surprised to find that the movie takes its lead characters in a completely new direction.

Ahead of Descendants 2‘s premiere, People’s Choice spoke with the film’s director, Kenny Ortega, about how the sequel will be different from the first movie. According to Ortega, while the villain kids will each go through different struggles in this movie, Mal, who is played by Dove Cameron, will be grappling with some of the biggest changes.

“For Mal suddenly, as a potential lady of the kingdom and being the King’s girlfriend suddenly awakens to this responsibility that is overwhelming, and that nothing that she’s been given as she’s been brought up has prepared her for the attention and the responsibilities,” Ortega, who also directed the High School Musical franchise explained. “It becomes overwhelming for her and I think that her character becomes frightened that she’d never be able to add up to all that is necessary for her to be a responsible person in the position she’s finding herself is in.”

While Mal is dealing with the pressure to be perfect her best friends, are loving their new life… or so it seems.

“But our other characters, Carlos, and Jay and Evie, find comfort and are chilling out in this new environment. They’ve got friends, they’ve got room and board, they’re getting educated on this high level, they have sports, they have so much going for them,” he continued. “So I think when we meet everyone in this new story that we find the majority of our villain kids have found sort of comfort and are almost in denial, especially Evie about where they come from and their past.”

The film’s two leading ladies have different paths to take in Descendants 2, but each of them is rooted in the past. “Mal is now starting to toy with the idea of, ‘hey maybe, I’d be happier going back, maybe I’d feel less pressure.’ I don’t think she thinks perhaps she could ever really add up to what’s expected of her in this new environment,” Ortega said.

Evie, who is played by Sofia Carson, on the other hand has turned off her past life, and by seeing Mal’s journey she discovers her past is still there.

“Evie’s character has an awakening where she sort of turned off to her past and suddenly awakens because of a very special story for her. That, ‘Hey, there are a lot of kids that are still back there. What makes me more special than them? And why should I have this chance and not them?’ And also, just excepting all that we are, where we come from, where we’re going, and just taking responsibilities for the decisions we make,” Ortega revealed. “I’m really thrilled with the themes that river through these stories.”

The themes of friendship, and staying true to yourself, and knowing where you’re from are definitely at the forefront of this film, which is similar to the first film, but are explored differently throughout Descendants 2.

Descendants 2 premieres on July 21, 2017 at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel, Disney XD, ABC, Freeform, and Lifetime.

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