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Descendants is a Disney Channel Original Movie that premiered July 31st, 2015. It stars Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce, and Booboo Stewart.
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The story is set in a world of Disney Animated Canon characters, the various kingdoms of which were brought together by King Beast and Queen Belle to become the United Kingdom of Auradon. The villains of these kingdoms were long ago exiled to the Isle of the Lost, a place where magic is unusable, and have been scratching out a living ever since. In both places, life goes on, families begin...

With his coronation as king approaching soon, Belle and Beast's son Ben decrees that the children of the most notorious Disney villains (Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Jafar, and Cruella De Vil) should be allowed a second chance by attending the kingdom's Elaborate University High.

Seeing it as an opportunity to get revenge, Maleficent and co. send their children - Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos - to obtain the Fairy Godmother's magic wand for their evil purposes. However, their children become torn between obeying their parents, or escaping their shadow to become better people.

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A sequel premiered on July 21, 2017, simultaneously on Disney Channel, Disney XD, ABC, Freeform, and even both Lifetime and Lifetime Movies, taking place six months after the events of the film. After Mal cracks under pressure and returns to the Isle of the Lost, Ben and the other Villain Kids must race to save her from herself and from the new leaders of their turf: Uma daughter of Ursula, Harry, son of Captain Hook, and Gil, son of Gaston.

A third film will premiere in summer of 2019.

The film has had several other works based on it, though the canonicity of them compared to each other is nebulous at best:

  • A series of novels by Blue Bloods author Melissa de la Cruz. The Isle of the Lost is set before the events of the film and shows how the original four Villain Kids met. Return to the Isle of the Lost is a direct sequel to the film's events. The third book, Rise of the Isle of the Lost, ties into the sequel and introduces Uma, Harry, and Gil under different circumstances.
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  • ''Disney's Descendants: Wicked World'', a series of animated shorts taking place after the events of the first movie and introducing several other children of heroes and villains.

Not to be mistaken for the film The Descendants.


Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Why the Villain Kids act as they do. In her opening lines from "Rotten to the Core", Evie says outright that she didn't receive any love from her mother, and when talking to Lonnie while making the love potion, it's all but stated that none of the kids were loved by their parents. It's also the catalyst for the events of the film and why Ben wanted them to come to school, because he felt that they deserved a chance away from the influence of the villain parents.
  • Actionized Sequel: The only action moment from the first film was Maleficent's attack, which only last a few minutes and only involves the Villain Kids. Descendants 2 has a brawl between Uma's pirates and the Villain Kids (plus Ben and Lonnie), followed by a duel between Uma and Mal in their respective Sea Witch and Dragon forms.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Maleficent, as played by Kristin Chenoweth.
  • Adorkable: Doug. Also Ben in "Did I Mention" while under the effects of Mal's Love Spell.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Belle is aghast at the idea of welcoming the children of villains and doesn't come to their aid later on either. What was the point of her movie again?
  • Age Lift: Fairy Godmother was a grandmotherly woman in the original movie, here she's portrayed by a woman in her forties, probably to make the fact that she has a teenage daughter more believable. Justified in that she could have magically de-aged herself to better fit so that she would look more like Jane's mother rather than her grandmother, and so that her students would not make fun of her for being an old lady. It's implied she did de-age herself, as the villains do make fun of her being old.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The prequel novel has a lot of worldbuilding not featured in the movie. One thing of note is the brother-sister relationship that Evie and Carlos share in the novel is something that's not really evident in the movie proper.
    • As does the School of Secrets web series.
  • Alternate Universe: To the Disney movies they're based on. Most notably, it is a Constructed World where they have some modern day technology and the movie's setting is one where worlds collide.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Averted for all of the Disney characters who applied in their original works, which is carried to their children.
  • An Aesop: Several of them -
    • You are not your parents- choose your own destiny, but that can cut both ways.
      • Your parents don't always know what's best for you.
    • The flip side of the first one: It's really not cool to punish children for the horrible things their parents did.
    • You can be smart and pretty. And being smart isn't a bad thing.
    • No matter what anyone says, you're beautiful inside and out. It's nice to get a compliment from time to time though.
    • Do what makes you happy. Trying to please someone else isn't worth it if you're unhappy while doing it.
      • Related: Never sacrifice who you really are for your passions. Do what you love and do it your way.
    • The above two Aesops being said, there's a right way and a wrong way to be yourself. When being yourself puts others in danger, then you need to rethink your expression.
    • Your past will always be a part of you, but don't let it hold you back.
    • If you want the world to change, do it yourself instead of waiting for it.
    • The second movie has a girl power message involving Lonnie, even though Mulan didn't break gender norms for the sake of fighting for equality.
  • Animated Adaptation: There are animated shorts based on the movie called Descendants: Wicked World, which is considerably Denser and Wackier.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: A few of the Disney Heroes' children are this in the sense that they are the opposite of their sweet-natured parents. We have Chad and Audrey, though she becomes friends with Mal and her prior antagonism toward her makes sense given their parents' history.
  • Audience Surrogate: Lonnie fills this role, acting as a stand-in for the audience as she is often curious of what the Villain Kids' lives are really like, and what they're going through as they experience life in Auradon.
  • Bad is Good and Good is Bad: Or so the kids on the Isle of the Lost have been raised to believe.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Maleficent and the Evil Queen died at the end of their movies, and Jafar died at the end of the sequel to his film. This isn't a plot hole either: the prequel novel, The Isle of the Lost, reveals that they were brought back to life just to be imprisoned on the island.
    • They aren't the only ones. The prequel novel reveals several other deceased Disney villains were also revived simply to be banished as well.
  • Bait-and-Switch: During Ben's coronation, someone snatches the Fairy Godmother's wand and cracks the force field around the Isle of the Lost, allowing Maleficent to escape. At first, we assume that it was Mal, and that she decided to carry on with her mother's plan after all. Eventually, it is revealed that Jane was the one responsible, and that she grabbed the wand out of desperation and subsequently zapped the force field by accident.
  • Beta Couple:
    • Evie and Doug. The end dance also pairs up Jay and Audrey, Lonnie and Chad, and Carlos and Jane, but it's not clear if they're meant to be couples.
      • Wicked World further implies Carlos and Jane might end up together with a cute moment where Carlos compliments Jane's dress, then awkwardly adds in, "...from one friend to another."
      • In the sequel, they end up together.
  • Big Bad: Maleficent. She's the one who leads the other villains and plots their revenge against Auradon. She's also the one who wants the Fairy Godmother's wand the most. Maleficent wants her daughter, Mal, to grow up to become this trope and rule along with her. By the end of the film, Mal has other ideas.
  • Big Man on Campus: Ben, justified by being the future king, and he runs the show here.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Chad.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Audrey definitely does not resent Mal for her mother trying to kill Audrey's parents and stuff.
    • Mal also totally does not resent Audrey for her grandparents inviting the whole world but her mother to their stupid christening.
  • Brainless Beauty: Subverted with Evie. She's actually pretty smart but has repressed it due to her mother teaching her that looks are the only thing that matters. She's still naive though.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Maleficent's view of Mal.
  • Brick Joke: In the Establishing Character Moment song "What's My Name?", Harry Hook says he "never learned to count 'cause he's number one". Later, when taunting a captive Ben, he pulls out a pocket watch and claims that Ben has twenty minutes (until a noon deadline) left before being thrown overboard from Uma's ship. it's actually eleven-thirty.
  • Broken Aesop: Zig-Zagged. The main characters learn their lesson that it's OK to be different from your parents and are able to have their own character. Great. But what about all the other characters like Lonnie, Gil and Harry who have no identity outside of being like their parents?
  • Bullying a Dragon: The Auradon students ('specially Audrey and Chad). They think the villains' kids are evil like their parents, but never stop to consider they might have inherited their magical powers or been trained in other more mundane ways by the other villains they lived with. Even with Mal openly using magic or Jay being much stronger than any other guy, they still choose to antagonize them. The Villain Kids decide they've had enough of their abuse and decide to unleash their wrath on them.
  • Butt-Monkey: Carlos.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Disney villains from the first movie. Only Maleficent and Jafar had these traits in the source material. Cruella and the Evil Queen didn't.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Mal gets the opportunity when Maleficent shows up. Carlos did this to his mother during the group video call, and the other villains were quite impressed.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Wicked World seems to be this judging from the sequel as none of the new characters appear and Captain Hook has a son instead of a daughter.
  • Canon Foreigner: In a way, all of the descendants could be considered this to their respective parents' films. Wicked World also introduces several new characters unseen in the original film: Jordan (daughter of the Genie), Freddie (daughter of Doctor Facilier) Ally (daughter of Alice), CJ (daughter of Captain Hook), and Zevon (son of Yzma).
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each of the students wear certain colours that affiliate with their respective parents; Mal wears purple (and sometimes black and green) like Maleficent's cloak, Ben wears blue and gold a la Beast, Doug wears green like Dopey, etc.
    • Subverted with the kids introduced in the sequel. While they have their own defined colour schemes (Uma with blue and sea-green, Harry with red and white, Gil with orange, and Dizzy with blue and paint-splatters), none of them match up with their parents.
      • Costume designer Kara Saun explained that because some of the villain parents shared a primary color scheme with other characters (ex. Purple already being Mal’s color theme and red being shared by the original Hook and Gaston) she chose a secondary color the villains had in their original design. While Harry got to maintain Hook’s main red color, Uma’s turquoise was based off of Ursula’s eyeshadow and Gil’s sandy orange was from Gaston’s gloves.
  • The Cameo:
    • Aurora and Philip, Prince Charming and Cinderella, Dopey, and Mulan all appear as background, blink-and-miss characters. The former five don't do much... nor does Mulan, but when all the shit comes down, she's immediately in front of her daughter to protect her. Aurora's mother, Queen Leah (now apparently widowed... and, you know, old) appears too, though her role is less of a cameo and more of an incredibly large and coffin sealing Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! moment.
    • There's also a boy many assumed to be the spawn of Doctor Facilier (that is, before his actual daughter Freddie showed up in Wicked World) during "Rotten to the Core".
    • Snow White briefly shows up as a reporter filming at Ben's coronation.
  • Constructed World: Being that this movie has a fantasy setting, Auradon was created with the purpose of bringing together every world and element from the Disney Animated Canon, and judging by the map, doesn't seem to correspond to any land on Earth (if it even is our Earth). Even works from wildly different times show up and interact- for example, Carlos is the son of Cruella, who was from a relatively modern London, with automobiles and trains, but he frequently interacts with Mal, who is the daughter of Maleficent, from a world of swords, sorcery, and no technology more advanced than the horse and carriage. How these worlds were put together has not yet been explained.
  • Contralto of Danger: Played around with a bit. Evie has that smoky Emma Stone quality to her voice but she's probably the least villainous of the group, second only to Carlos. Her mother also has a deeper voice, and she is pretty bad.
  • Costume Porn: Maleficent's outfits and the Villain Kids' punk-inspired getups in particular.
  • Curse Cut Short: Downplayed in the sequel's It's Going Down. Judging by how Uma cuts Harry off in mid-sentence and how her line does not rhyme with his, it most likely does rhyme with what he intended to say, but couldn't - that is, kill. Though it's not really a curse word, it might be just a little bit darker than what Disney was going for:
    Harry: All it takes is one swing and I'll humiliate him
    Matter of fact, make one wrong move and I'll debilitate him
    And if he even starts to slip, I'll eliminate him
    All it takes is one long look and I'll—
    Uma: Harry! We get it. Chill.
  • Cute Witch: Mal.
  • Dating Catwoman: Ben and Mal, even if they weren't enemies themselves. Belle and Beast weren't exactly delighted to hear that Mal dated their son, despite she wasn't the daughter of their very own sworn enemy (though Maleficent is Auradon's most hated enemy).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Villain Kids, ultimately.
  • Daydream Surprise/Dream Intro: The sequel begins with the VKs giving the AKs poison apples which turn them evil...which turns out to be a daydream Mal is having when being interviewed before the Cotillion.
  • Denser and Wackier: The animated shorts series Wicked World is essentially this, to the point where the series is driven by mostly comedy-driven and zany situations with surreal humor that the characters get themselves involved in. Justified in that each short is two minutes long and thus there isn't that much room for actual conflict. If anything, the humor presented is only good in small amounts.
  • De-Power: Seems to have befallen Jafar, as he's no longer a lamp-bound evil genie as per the end of Aladdin. This is also true of other magic-based villains, due to the effects of the island's barrier.
  • The Ditz: Evie plays to the part to a tee, before she realizes that she's more than just a pretty face.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Doug, the son of Dopey, has a crush on Evie. She eventually reciprocates, though.
  • The Dragon: The Evil Queen portrays shades of this for Maleficent. She seems to be her best friend and closest confident and also has the biggest role of the villains after Maleficent. She's also the first villain to agree to Maleficent's plan, just after she does Evie's eyebrows.
  • The Dreaded: Maleficent is considered Auradon's #1 enemy, and the sound of her name strikes fear and terror in everyone's hearts, especially for Audrey's grandma.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: 'Bertha' for Mal, and 'Florian' for Ben.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The end of the film shows Mal with Glowing Eyes after Maleficent's defeat, saying the story doesn't end there. Ditto for the sequel with Uma.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: In Descendants 2, Jay points out that one advantage the Isle has over Auradon is that they don't bar girls from doing anything.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Several of them.
    • Mal's ECM comes at the end of "Rotten to the Core". She steals candy from a baby and is happy that Maleficent is pleased - but she's visibly uncomfortable when Maleficent spits on the candy, puts it under her arm and has it returned to the kid. It shows that despite her mom's training, Mal really is a good person.
      • A second ECM for Mal comes the first time we see her, when she's working on an excellent piece of graffiti depicting her mother. We see that she's really more interested in both her art and making her mother happy than in being evil.
      • A third happens during her first date with Ben when she is singing to herself. The song portrays not only her own self-conflict with her evil upbringing and her inner good nature, but it also arches over to her friends of both their doubts for their parents evil plan and their ideas that maybe being good isn't really so bad, wondering if they should follow their hearts or the desires of their parents.
    • The first thing we find about Ben is that even though he's about to become King, he's more concerned about making the lives of the less fortunate - even the lives of the kids of convicted criminals - better, and his first act as King will be to make that happen. That says a lot about both Ben and his parents (Belle and the Beast), and how they raised him.
    • Jay always talks about acting on his own and "there's no 'team' in I" - but the first thing we see of him is that he's part of a group that he's devoted to.
    • The first time we see Evie - she's walking across an area like a supermodel strutting down a runway. This is a girl who's been taught not only that beauty is the most important thing for a girl, but that one has to use it to get attention whenever possible.
    • In his first appearance, Carlos snatches a painter's rag and a little girl's apple, but tosses the latter back to her without a glance after one bite. His "badness" is petty at worst, and he's got compassion even if he won't face or own up to it.
    • The fearful scattering of people heralds Maleficent's arrival, whereupon she immediately (and continually) chides Mal for "not being good enough" at anything she does.
    • The first time we see the Evil Queen, she's looking in a magic mirror.
    • When we meet Audrey, she's practically superglued to Ben's arm and doesn't miss a single opportunity to remind the Villain Kids of their own royal status.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: In the sequel, excluding the Daydream Surprise at the start, the movie is over by them end of the third day.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Averted with the villains, who, as the "chocolate chip cookies" scene makes it abundantly clear, treat their kids as horribly as they treat most other people and have never once done a single thing to show they care.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Being that the setting is filled with royalty, this is a given. It's played with in Evie's case that she has the traits of a princess, and even claims to be one, but on Auradon, she's just another Villain Kid. Fortunately, Audrey's around to pick up the princessly slack among the main cast.
  • Evil Laugh: As expected in a story about villains. Most notably, Maleficent lets out a sinister cackle at the end of "Evil Like Me".
  • The Faceless: Ursula in the sequel. When she comes out to yell at her daughter, the most we get to see of her is a single tentacle.
  • Fairy Tale Free-for-All: By virtue of the franchise taking place in a universe where all the Disney Animated Canon characters — many of which are fairytale characters — exist in the same world. The main characters are the offspring of said characters. For example, Ben is the son of Beauty and the Beast, Mal is the daughter of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, while Evie is the daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. That said, Disney characters that aren't from fairy tales are present as well, but the fairy tale themes of goodness and Happily Ever After are analyzed.
  • Family Theme Naming: Downplayed. All of the children have a name that's close to their parent's, yet also giving an Aerith and Bob feeling as most of the children fall into the "Bob" category to their parents' "Aerith". For instance, Mal is the daughter of Maleficent, and Jay is the son of Jafar. This is also true for the hero children, such as Audrey, daughter of Aurora, and Lonnie, daughter of Mulan.
  • Fictional Currency: Played with; Currency in Auradon is in Dollars, but payment is in the form of gold coins and jewels.
  • Fictional Sport: Jay is recruited to participate in Tourney, a field sport employing lacrosse sticks and nets, kite shields, and air-cannons that fire projectiles at players crossing a designated "kill zone."
    • The sequel gives us R.O.A.R., which is a combination of acrobatics with fencing.
  • Fille Fatale: Evie has a reputation as a heartbreaker and by her own admission is a flirt.
  • Fingerless Gloves: All four wear them and from the sequel they seem to be standard Isle wear with only Dizzy seen without them. It helps with their delinquent image.
  • Five-Man Band: The main cast fall into this in the sequel.
    • The Hero: Mal, taking point on the plan to rescue Ben after Uma captures him.
    • The Lancer: Carlos ends up as this by the end, calling out Mal for not talking to the others about her problems.
    • The Smart Guy: Evie uses her science knowledge to make smoke bombs for their escape.
    • The Big Guy: Jay is the obvious muscle of the team.
    • The Chick: Ben is a definitive Non-Action Guy, but tries to make an emotional connection with Uma by sympathizing with her and the other kids still on the island.
    • Sixth Ranger: Lonnie forces her way into the trip to the Isle by convincing Jay that she can hold her own, she brought swords for the team, and that if they don't take her she'll tell Fairy Godmother everything that's happened.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Several of them, mostly on chalkboards or cameos from classic Disney characters in crowd scenes.
    • If you look carefully during the tourney game, the person in the knight mascot outfit is Jane.
    • In Descendants 2, if you pause at the scene where Mal rides back into the Isle, you can see that Shan Yu has been forced to open up a dim sum restaurant, called "Shan Yu's Dastardly Dim Sum." It must be a special kind of hell to have to sell your sworn enemies' cuisine for a living.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: The main conflict in the movie (and not just for the villains' kids) - will they end up living their parents' lives or make their lives their own?
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Evie's sarcastic comment in "Rotten to the Core" that she "never got no love" foreshadows the later, more serious revelation that she really didn't and neither did any of the other villain kids.
    • Early in the second movie, Lonnie isn't allowed into the school's fencing teams because the rules say the only members must be the captain and eight men. The issue is eventually solved by making her the team's captain.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The four villain kids.
    • Mal is Choleric: determined, authoritative and with leading skills.
    • Carlos is Melancholic: analytical, anxious and more at ease with things than with people.
    • Evie is Phlegmatic: shy and passive but also sensible.
    • Jay is Sanguine: charismatic and prone to action but often impulsive.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • After Maleficent has frozen the crowd at the coronation, a terrified Chad is seen as he grabs Doug.
    • Judging by the position of Audrey in the same scene, Chad has evidently thrown her aside to grab Doug.
    • During the "Be Our Guest" number, in a few scenes you can see Chad sneering, possibly due to no open space. This is a hint to his manipulation toward Evie.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The main Villain Kids, a.k.a. the Core Four, consist of two girls (Mal and Evie) and two boys (Jay and Carlos).
  • Generation Xerox: A major focus of the film, with the children of the villains having to face the prospect of their entire lives based around the deeds of their parents, or being judged because of their deeds. This culminates on family day. Mal looks so much like a young Maleficent that Queen Leah has an Oh, Crap! moment upon first meeting her, and when facing Maleficent, Ben seems to channel his father's Beast-side (too bad Maleficent didn't give him a chance). His attempt to redeem the villain kids is compared more than once to what his mother did for his father.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Evil Queen tells Evie to find a prince with a big castle. Later when Chad tells Evie how big his is, she seems turned on.
    • This exchange during Mal and Ben's date:
      Ben: Is this your first time?
      Mal: We don't date much on the Isle. It's more like gang activity.
      Ben: No, I mean, is this your first time eating a jelly donut?
  • Gilligan Cut: When Fairy Godmother suggests Jay and Carlos to use all their energy on the tourney field, they turn down the offer. Cut to them joining the tourney team.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: The film is very blatant about this, even with the descendants. Much of the hero kids are shown wearing bright-toned colors. The Villain kids wear dark, harsh-toned colors.
  • Good Costume Switch: If noticed throughout the movie, during the villain kids' Heel–Face Turn, their clothes slowly decrease in rebellious imaging. Come the coronation and after-party, complete with formal wear, the transition is complete.
  • Good Counterpart: By the end of the second film Mal has effectively become one to her mother down to the dragon form.
  • Good Feels Good: Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay begin to realize this during their time at Auradon Prep.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The only characters who are unambiguously nice are Ben, with Doug and Lonnie coming a close second (Their only sin is passiveness after the incident with Queen Leah), everyone else does morally questionable acts, or are downright mean, and not only to the "villains". Chad completely averts this trope because he was never nice, even before the villain kids came along.
  • Harmless Villain:
    • After their opening Villain Song neither Carlos nor Evie really do anything bad.
    • Cruella, Jafar, and the Evil Queen are pretty harmless as well. At worst, they're just bad parents and only commit petty crimes, but are otherwise left watching from the sidelines due to their imprisonment on the Isle. The only villain who becomes a serious threat in the end is Maleficent, and she ends up abandoning the other villains when the barrier is broken.
  • Has a Type: Blink and you'll miss it, but between Jay, the Beast and her mention of Gaston, Maleficent has a thing for well-muscled bad boys. Makes you wonder who Mal's father was.
  • He Who Must Not Be Named: It's revealed in the prequel book that Mal has a human father "known as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-in-Maleficent's-Presence".
  • Hero Academy: Auradon Prep was established to educate a new generation of heroes.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The ultimate end goal of sending the four to the Kingdom's school. It works because what they really needed were good people in their lives.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Nearly all of the Isle kids.
    • Oh, so very much Jay. He even has a leather letterman's jacket!
    • The leather dress Evie makes also fits this trope.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: In a film where the villains were banished on an island, we're supposed to see their kids as bad guys just because they're the villains' kids, but the "heroes" have proven to be almost as bad as the villain kids -if not worse-, using the Villain Kids as tools, and seeing them as villains just like their parents. Special mention goes to Princess Audrey and Chad Charming.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Even Ben sees how Carlos and the campus mutt have bonded, and his defying Cruella (when she wants him to bring the pup to her) is his heroic moment.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jay and Carlos on the male side, Evie and Mal on the female one.
  • High Collar of Doom: Mal and Evie's "signature" outfits and coronation gowns feature high collars that take after their mothers'.
  • Hotter and Sexier:
    • In both lyrics and choreography, Rotten To The Core is easily the most suggestive dance number ever shown in a DCOM. Bonus points to Booboo Stewart and Sofia Carson, who really turn up the heat in the number. The Sofia Carson remix takes this Up to Eleven.
    • Likewise "Good is the New Bad" in Wicked World
    • Genie in a Bottle seems to have won this contest.
    • ...until What's My Name? appeared in Descendants 2. Game, set and match.
  • Hypocrite: Queen Leah, Audrey's grandmother and Aurora's mother, still harbors a deep grudge and hatred at Maleficent for her actions. However, Maleficent attacked Aurora for the actions of her parents, King Stefan and Queen Leah (the snubbing of invitation at the celebration for Aurora's birth), which is exactly how Leah justifies fearing and verbally attacks Mal, because the girl's mother, Maleficent, hurt Leah's family.
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: "If Only" is sung by Mal as she realizes she's falling in love with Ben, and begins to question whether she should follow in her mother's footsteps or chart her own path.
  • "I Am" Song: "What's My Name?" from Descendants 2.
  • I Choose to Stay: The Villain Kids decide they will stay at Auradon and not complete what they were told to do at the end.
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: Jane, the Fairy Godmother's daughter, has crippling self-esteem issues, and wishes that her mother wasn't so True Beauty Is on the Inside-oriented. It almost screws up a lot of shit.
  • Incoming Ham: What did you expect when you cast Glinda (The Kristin Chenoweth version) as Maleficent and when you cast Kathy Najimy as the Evil Queen? Wendy Raquel Robinson as Cruella isn't far behind them either.
  • Informed Flaw: We're supposed to believe Jane isn't beautiful until Mal gives her long luscious hair, but Brenna D'Amico is actually quite conventionally attractive.
  • Jerkass: Chad - full stop. He doesn't do a single nice thing during the entire film! He even screws over both his love interests (Evie and Audrey) at some point (and it doesn't help that he has actual disdain for Evie)! He pays for it by ending up alone at the end of the movie - Evie and Doug are happily dancing... and Audrey dances with Jay. (He dances with Lonnie during "Set it Off", but they weren't together.)
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While the hostility and discrimination against the Villain kids is harsh, the wariness towards them isn't unfounded since they are planning to steal the Fairy Godmother's wand for their parents and tried to manipulate Ben and Jane for a chance to do so.
    • Also, Chad is spot-on with his denouncing of Mal for stealing someone's boyfriend and Jay for liking to hurt people. He loses points when he gets to Evie and calls her a "gold-digger", and says nothing about Carlos.
  • Just the Way You Are: A major plot point in the sequel, with Mal feeling that she's still too much of an Isle girl to be a good match for Ben. Ben has to prove to her that he loves all of her, even the parts she's not proud of.
  • Large Ham: All of the villains, but Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent in particular hams it up like it's going out of style.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Not surprising, since the students are all offspring of different Disney characters, some of whom make appearances themselves.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Descendants 2, Lonnie is trying to join the school fencing team, but even though Jay respects her skills, he can't let her on because the school rules state that the team must comprise one captain and eight men (a term which is apparently interpreted very strictly in Auradon). Jay gets around it by giving his position to Lonnie, as there is no rule requiring that the captain be male).
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Audrey. She is only a bitch to the villain kids for understandable reasons. The ending gives the impression that she may not be all that bad, and this is confirmed by the prequel novel and later the web series in which she is Vitriolic Best Buds with Mal and Evie. It's also hard to really hate her when one takes into account the fact that Audrey is quite insecure such that she feels she always needs a prince to feel better about herself, which is why she tries to spend more time with Ben, or hook up with Chad after the love potion incident.
  • Love Potion: Made into a cookie. Mal uses it on Ben with the desired results. There is an antidote, but the effects are dispelled after a dip in a magic lake. Later in the film, Ben reveals that he knew Mal spelled him and that his feelings are true.
  • Magical Database: Evie uses her magic mirror in this fashion.
  • Magic Pants: Literally. Transforming into an animal and back will give clothing to match. Case in point, Mal transforms wearing a more traditional ballgrown and then comes back with a completely different (clearly dragon inspired) gown.
  • Male Gaze: Evie gets an obvious one from a guy she steals a scarf from during the "Rotten to the Core" number and Mal gets a blink-and-you'll-miss-it one at the beginning of the same number from one of the guys she brushes aside who is clearly checking out her butt.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Not only does it have Disney characters' offspring, but we are also treated to appearances by the parents themselves, in some cases. The Wicked World spinoff series improves on this with more characters not seen in the movie itself.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The villain kids make a Love Potion and wonder if the human tear to be used as one of the ingredients really needs to be generated by sadness. When Jay suggests using onions to force someone to shed tears, Evie offers a scientific explanation to believe it won't be the same thing.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Ben takes his shirt off a couple of times, and it's clear he's been working out.
  • Mythology Gag: The film features numerous references to the Disney Animated Canon.
    • Ben and co. perform a hip-hop remix of "Be Our Guest" during the Family Day celebration.
    • Evie's bag resembles the box that the Evil Queen wanted to use to contain Snow White's heart.
    • When Mal's corset is being laced up at the start of the second film, Mal tells Evie: "Okay, Evie, I cannot breathe", with Evie's actions alluding to the Grimm Brothers' literary version of the evil queen's attempt to kill Snow White with a tightly laced bodice.
    • While admiring Jay's physique, Maleficent mockingly remarks, "Gaston should be jealous."
    • When Doug sees Evie for the first time, he (infatuatedly) utters "Heigh ho..."
    • There are a few instances where Ben roars ferociously, just like the Beast.
    • Beast is shown to wear glasses, similar to how he wears a pair when he, Belle & Chip presented the award for Best Animated Short at the 64th Academy Awards?
    • Upon seeing a lamp in Jay's hands, Jafar grabs it and rubs it eccentrically (it doesn't work, of course). Clearly, he's still a little crazy when it comes to magic lamps and genies.
    • In one scene, Fairy Godmother teaches a special class for the villain kids. The answers to her multiple choice questions allude to their parents' past exploits (cutting out Snow White's heart, cursing Aurora, etc.)
    • Maleficent crashes the coronation uninvited, dramatic entrance and all, just like in Sleeping Beauty.
    • The number on Carlos's tournament jersey is 101.
    • Ben's middle name is "Florian". That's one of the alleged names of Snow White's Prince.
    • The opposing team in the tourney match are the Sherwood Falcons.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Evie learns this after Doug stands up for her intelligence. Turns out, she's a sexy nerd as well. Even Doug himself has this effect.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The "The Reason You Suck" Speech the Villain Kids get at Parent's Day from the "good guys" makes them want to continue with their parents' plan after already abandoning it.
  • Not So Different: The villains are...villainous, but the Heroes and their children are prone to acting holier-than-thou, which leads to refusing to forgive or look beyond face value.
  • Not So Harmless: For the most part, the villain parents are Played for Laughs as over-sized hams. Then the seriousness of their villainy is brought home to the audience (and Mal) when Queen Leah describes how because of Maleficent's curse, she completely missed out on Aurora's childhood.
  • Official Couple: Ben and Mal.
  • Oh, Crap!: Mal's reaction when she finds out she's speaking to Queen Leah, Aurora's mother who finds out who Mal is, and it goes south from there.
  • Perky Goth: Mal and Evie.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Mal's side of "It's Going Down", since she isn't so much rapping as talking in time to the music. Uma's side comes off much better.
  • The Power of Friendship: When the Villain Kids band together against Maleficent at Ben's coronation. Also counts as a You Are Not Alone moment.
  • Power Walk: The Villain Kids do this as they walk down the museum hallway in their first attempt to steal the wand, and again when they leave from being harassed at lunch in the scene before the coronation.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • So far, Chad and Doug are the only Auradon kids who have not appeared in Wicked World yet, done to make room for new characters.
    • Audrey is the only AK who does not appear in the sequel. The Evil Queen, Jafar, and Cruella are also absent from the film.
  • Race Lift:
    • Cruella was white in 101 Dalmatians; here she is black.
    • Aurora's family is black here, whereas they were white in Sleeping Beauty.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Queen Leah and Chad deliver these back-to-back to the Villain Kids on Family Day.
  • Reality Ensues: Crops up in Descendants 2: Ben picking only four Villain Kids to be invited to Auradon means that there were a lot of kids who didn't get picked and some of them aren't happy about being left out. Ben notes that he did intend to invite more, but he got so caught up in being king that he forgot.
  • Reverse Psychology: How Mal gets Ben to eat the cookie with the love potion in it.
  • Royal School: Auradon's prep fits much of the requirements; notably some students are royals because their parents were, and princesses are one of the popular group of kids in the spin- off web series School of secrets.
  • Sassy Black Woman: You never physically see her in Descendants 2, but it's clear that Ursula (appropriately voiced by Whoopi Goldberg) is this around her daughter.
    Ursula: Shut your clams! These dishes ain't gonna wash themselves!
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Carlos Sensitive Guy to Jay's Manly Man.
  • Secret Test of Character: When Mal tried to save Ben in the enchanted lake, even though she can't swim (and he wasn't in any danger). With his head clear (after the lake washed away Mal's love spell), he saw her for who she really was.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The royal families left children of villains to rot on the Isle of the Lost with their parents because they believed Evil was In the Blood, but abandoning them to live in a Wretched Hive where all they learn is how to be cruel and corrupt is what made them rotten more than any other factor.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the final number, Mal's voiceover says the story doesn't end there, complete with Glowing Eyes and mischievous smile.
    • Returns in Descendants 2, with Uma saying the same line word-for-word. It also has plot lines set up for a potential next film, as Evie and Ben are working to bring more VKs into Auradon to help them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Some Leg:
    • After Lonnie gets her hair done by Mal, she tears a slit in her skirt to complete the image she wants.
      Lonnie: Now I'm cool.
      Mal: Like ice.
    • Jane also tears her skirt - and immediately freaks out.
      Jane: What did I just do? Mom's gonna kill me!
  • Signature Style: If you've seen a music-oriented DCOM in the past decade, then you can see the fingerprints of Kenny Ortega on this film. If Rotten To The Core didn't tip you off, Evil Like Me all but shouts out Ortega's name.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: The Fairy Godmother doesn't just bring the bad guys back to life to punish them, but for some strange reason she allows them to bring up children when it's pretty obvious that they're unfit parents.
  • Spiritual Successor: No doubt this DCOM is one to High School Musical, as it is music oriented, and is also directed by Kenny Ortega.
  • Spin-Offspring: The major characters are the children of Disney Animated Canon heroes and villains.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Mal has a staring contest with her own mother, Maleficent, twice throughout the film. The second time, she's staring down Dragon Maleficent.
  • Stealth Pun: Jane. Her background is that she's very shy, wears simple clothing, has no special talents (that we know of), and all she wants to be is as pretty as the other girls. In other words, she's Plain Jane. This is hilariously lampshaded in Wicked World. Being told that true beauty is on the inside shows that her mother is somewhat out of touch with how teenage kids think about their looks.
  • Sticky Fingers: Jay's principle vice is his love of stealing.
    Mal: (to Jay) What are you doing?
    Jay: It's called stealing. It's like buying whatever I want, except it's free.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: In Wicked World, even after they have defected to Good, the VKs wear their dark, edgy, studded fashions. By Descendants 2, Mal is being pressured into dressing like a girly Princess, while Evie, Jay and Carlos still have their villain-inspired clothes.
  • Story Book Opening: Done with a tablet computer!
  • Suddenly Voiced: In Descendants 2, Dude the dog gains the ability to speak after taking a snack of Mal's truth serum.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Mal's basic reaction to Ben's assumption that she gave him the love potion because she had a crush on him but didn't trust that it could happen on its own because he was with Audrey at the time.
  • Sweet Tooth: The Villain Kids all show this, Jay and Carlos being the most...enthusiastic.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Lonnie feels this for the Villain Kids when she learns that their parents don't take care of them like other kids' parents do.
  • Team Normal: Cruella is this to the rest of the villains, by virtue of being the only one of the group never to possess or indulge in magic prior to her banishment.
  • Teens Are Short: Subverted in that some of the adults are pretty short too, for example 4'11'' Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Chad Charming. He's on the Heroes' side, but he's more of a smug jerk than evil.
  • Token Good Teammate: Jafar is the least abusive of the villainous parents, even giving Jay some encouragement before he travels to Auradon.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mal's Tomboy to Evie's Girly Girl
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Strawberries for Mal after she has them for the first time during her date with Ben (not much fresh fruit on the Isle of The Lost). For Carlos and Jay (but especially Carlos), it's chocolate.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Promos use clips from the final moments of the film - when Ben is crowned king and the final dance number.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • There are a few scenes that the trailer takes out of context, most notably the scene where Mal casts a spell to undo Jane's hair. The trailer presents it as Mal messing with another student out of spite, but in the film, Mal merely returns Jane's hair to the way it was before she enchanted it and only because she's in a bad mood after Jane makes fun of her. There's also a scene in the trailer that's left out of the film: when the Evil Queen plucks Evie's eyebrows and tells her 'Beauty is pain'.
    • This could also be the case for "Where is Evie?" Disney made everyone think it was a big event, but it turned out to be a music video for the Wicked World show.
  • True Companions: The protagonists. At first it looks like they barely tolerate each other, mocking, teasing and taking stuff from each other. Then you realize it's because they are comfortable with each other and see themselves basically as siblings (with Mal and Evie even calling each other sisters). They are quick to share and show new stuff to each other (sweets, games, sports) and are quick to defend each other as they need (in Family Day and in the final battle).
  • True Love's Kiss: At some point in the second movie Evie and Mal discuss the trope, saying it works every time. A Foreshadowing to the ball scene, when Mal manages to take a under love spell Ben back to his senses thanks to a kiss.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Mal and Evie of the Five-Man Band.]
  • Uncanny Valley : The animated spin-off Wicked World has character designs that come off as creepy. The animators tried too hard to mix their live action counterparts with the Glen Keane style, and they do not mix together whatsoever (probably because the animation service that's animating the Wicked World series also animated Space Chimps and Legends of Oz).
  • Villain Protagonist: The ragtag team of the villain's children are this, with Mal as their leader.
  • Villain Song:
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: All Mal wants is for Maleficent to be proud of her. It's what drives her throughout the movie to get Fairy Godmother's Wand, no matter the cost.
  • Wham Line: The teaser for the third film mostly consists of Mal walking towards a blue flame (most likely representing Hades, who will be appearing in the film). It ends with the flame hissing Mal's name, and Mal responding with:
    (shocked) "Dad?"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mal is shown punching air holes in a box to take her mom, still stuck as a lizard back to the Isle, but we never see Maleficent after that scene. It's not even clear whether she was still on the Isle or not afterwards. It's later revealed in one of the novels that Maleficent has been imprisoned in Auradon.
  • White Sheep: The villain kids (and especially Mal). Inverted in the case of Princess Audrey and Chad, as they're also nothing like their parents (in terms of personality), though the former has a more sympathetic angle to her behavior.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Thanks to Cruella, Carlos is terrified of dogs. He gets better once he gets to know one.
  • Wicked Witch: Mal and her mother, Maleficent, of course, Mal isn't all that wicked in the end. The Evil Queen is also this, though, her wicked witchness isn't seen as much here as it was it the original.
  • Wolf Whistle: Carlos gives one when Jay shows off his tournament jersey to the rest of the group.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Possibly. Ben may have performed one when deciding to eating Mal's love potion enchanted cookies. If cookies are normal, he wins because he has shown trust (a little reluctantly) in one of the villain kids, plus, hey, cookies! If the cookie is enspelled, it will either kill him, put him to sleep, or make him fall in love with Mal. Ben could safely rule out the first two since Mal would easily get caught. The last one could give Ben certain opportunities. As shown in the movie, it let Ben perform a secret test of character on Mal, which she passed beyond any expectations. It also let Ben do something else that he might have been reluctant to do; break up with Audrey. Ben completely lacks any anger, or any other negative emotion at Mal for making him break up with Audrey while under magical influence. Such mind control is a serious violation, maybe Ben wanted to badly break up with Audrey already. But such a breakup might be messy given she's from a prominent family and he's about to become head of state. Also, many people don't enjoy dumping a partner. The cookie eating turned out well for Ben, but some might question whether he would be smart enough to make a spur of the moment Xanatos Gambit. All Ben really needs to do is view the Enchanted Lake as the most romantic spot near the school and know the water's effects. Hell, in a feudalistic magical fairytale world with love spells, all royals should have their first date in the waters of the Enchanted Lake. It's something parents should tell their kids.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Evie. Mal's is purple, and magenta for most of the sequel. The antagonist of 2, Uma, has blue and white hair.
  • Young Love Versus Old Hate: One of the themes of the film. The heroes and villains hate each other, but thanks to Ben, the children of both factions unite.
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