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Disney's 'Descendants' Brings Diversity in the Present

The legacy of this movie starts off the film series with a bang of magic, plot twists, and battles.

Descendants (2015)

4.5 / 5
4.5 / 5

The legacy of this movie starts off the film series with a bang of magic, plot twists, and battles.

Disney’s Descendants (2015) is the first movie in the film series. This movie brings diversity to young audiences in the present-day kingdom while preserving elements of magic, romance, and following one’s dreams. The film features four offsprings–Mal, Carlos, Jay, and Evie–of respective villains Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, Jafar, and The Evil Queen; who travel to the kingdom of Auradon to go to preparatory school. As they start to fit in with the other students, they discover that their identities are different from those of their parents. Despite their original goal of stealing the Fairy Godmother’s magic wand to break the barrier of the Isle of the Lost, the kids decide to follow their dreams.

This article will discuss representation and diversity in the present-day kingdom and the movie’s legacy.

Forming an Identity

Mal and Ben

Mal, the main character of Disney’s Descendants, has inherited her magic from the wicked fairy Maleficent. She struggles with obeying her mother’s orders to steal the wand using her powers and following her desire to marry Ben, the son of Belle and The Beast. She discovers that Ben has romantic feelings for her, even without the love potion. As love is something that comes from within you, Mal realizes that she can use her magic to defy her mother’s wishes of staying evil and change for the better.

Mal’s conflict ties with those of her friends Jay, Carlos, and Evie, as the kids discover their identities. Evie realizes that she is smart, Carlos overcomes his fear of dogs, and Jay is recruited to a sports team. All four kids choose to be good, as they’re satisfied with changing for the better.


this image is of Mal, Carlos, Jay and Evie
Mal, Carlos, Jay and Evie

As with many films produced by the studios, Disney’s Descendants features representation and diversity for young audiences while preserving its magical legacy. Who says this movie is just for kids? Teens and young adults can enjoy this movie as well. The topic and messages about diversity are a continuous legacy in today’s generation of movies; this film starts off the Descendants franchise.

This film has African American actors mixed in with white actors, bringing colorful magic into the present-day kingdom of Auradon and the Isle of the Lost. In addition, the magic behind Descendants‘ diversity lies within its main actors. Evie played by Sofia Carson is of Latina descent, BooBoo Stewart as Jay comes from Asian roots, and Cameron Boyce who played Carlos is half African-American. The classic heroes and villains from films produced by the Walt Disney Company come together since the movie focuses on their offspring. The success of this film has led to a sequel Descendants 2 (2017)and Descendants 3 (2019) Therefore, Disney’s Descendants is a legacy that is continuous in the enchanted series.

Editor’s Note: Cameron Boyce died in 2019 from a seizure caused by his ongoing epilepsy. His memory lives on, the smiles he gives to the little faces who continue to watch him on Disney.