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She’s the daughter of Maleficent, brought up in a land full of criminals and evil sidekicks. Surely, Mal from Disney Channel’s original movie, Descendants, would stay evil, right? Here’s what we know about this character, portrayed by Dove Cameron

Disney Channel's 'Descendants' characters Uma and Mal
Disney Channel’s ‘Descendants’ characters Uma and Mal | David Bukach/Disney Channel via Getty Images

Mal is a VK, the child of Maleficent, in Disney Channel’s ‘Descendants’

She’s rotten to the core — or so her mom thinks. When Mal gets an invitation to leave the Isle of the Lost, (AKA where all the villains are kept,) her mother Maleficent concocts a plan to break out. It all falls onto the shoulders of Mal and a few of her friends. 

Still, Mal isn’t the only VK invited to attend Auradon Prep. There’s the son of Cruella de Vil named Carlos, the son of Jafar named Jay, and Mal’s best friend, the daughter of the Evil Queen named Evie. Together, they decide to disobey their parents and save the people of Auradon. 

Mal decides that she wants to be good

In the second Descendants movie, Mal has a mini-crisis and is struggling with keeping up appearances. Primarily, she’s struggling to be perfect and good all the time. In the end, Ben unveils a portrait he had made of Mal and it only confirms his love for her. 

It’s part Auradon and part Isle. Mal didn’t want to forget her past, but that also doesn’t stop her from looking forward and being a better person in the future. That becomes fully realized in the last film, where she helps bring the next generation of VKs to Auradon. 

“In the first film, she was really a kid, really scrappy and defensive and very fear-based, and then in the second film, she was unbelievably lost, we’ve all been through those phases where we just don’t even have a clue left, right, up or down or who we are, how we feel about anything,” Dove Cameron said of he character during an interview with Digital Spy.

“In the final movie, I know it sounds presumptuous and arrogant and silly to say they’ve developed – because who’s really ever developed – but for as long as I’ve lived,” she continued “I definitely feel the most sure of myself that I have, and I think that’s very much where Mal is as well.”


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Mal finally marries Ben in the final ‘Descendants’ movie

A big turning point for this character is not exactly when she marries Ben, but when she actually falls in love with him and accepts that this love has always been there, despite her rocky path.

When she and Ben go on their first date in the first Descendants movie, she reveals that she doesn’t know what love feels like, because of her mother and the need for survival on the Isle. For the remainder of the film, as well as the other movies, Ben decides to show Mal what love feels like on his end.

He gifts her a motorcycle, he listens to her opinion before making decisions as a king, he even proposes to her. In the second movie, Mal reveals that of course she’s always loved him back but, for the remainder of the franchise, her acts show the audience that she loves him.

These selfless acts made to help those in Auradon, the Isle, her friends, and her boyfriend, all illustrate a pretty big character shift in Mal to where, eventually, she’s “good.”

All three Descendants movies, as well as the television series spinoff titled Descendants: Wicked World, are available on this platform. To learn more about Disney+ and to subscribe, visit their website