Meet the “Descendants: The Rise of Red” Cast, Including the New and Returning Characters

While the film introduces a slew of new characters, there are several familiar faces that pop up throughout as Chloe and Red travel back in time

<p>Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty</p> Malia Baker as Chloe and Kylie Cantrall as Red

Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Malia Baker as Chloe and Kylie Cantrall as Red

Descendants is introducing a new group of storybook characters with Descendants: The Rise of Red.

Following the events of the original franchise, the new film serves as a spinoff with the Queen of Hearts’ daughter Red and Cinderella’s daughter Chloe at the center of the story.

While the film introduces a slew of new characters, there are several familiar faces that pop up throughout as Chloe and Red must travel back in time to stop a chaotic event from unfolding.

Notably, China Anne McClain makes her grand return as Uma, who is now the principal of Auradon Prep. As head of the school, her first act is to unite “all the kingdoms” including Wonderland, setting off a chain of events in the film.

Additionally, Brandy and Paolo Montalban will star as Cinderella and Prince Charming after previously playing the characters in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, a made-for-TV musical film, which premiered in 1997.

Ahead, here are the main cast members in Descendants: The Rise of Red.

Kylie Cantrall as Red

<p>Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Taylor Hill/WireImage</p> Kylie Cantrall as Red

Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Taylor Hill/WireImage

Kylie Cantrall as Red

Kylie Cantrall stars as the film’s titular character Red, who is the daughter of the Queen of Hearts. Despising her mother’s dictatorship over Wonderland, Red does everything she can to rebel against her.

Following guest appearances on Disney Channel shows such as Bizaardvark and Raven's Home, Cantrall got her big break starring on Gabby Duran & the Unsittables. In August 2023, Cantrall had a recurring role as Dani on the fourth and final season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series alongside her Descendants costar Dara Reneé.

Speaking exclusively with PEOPLE, Cantrall recalled that it was “so special” to work on the new Descendants film with Reneé given their history on HSMTMTS. “I remember telling Dara on the last day of High School Musical, ‘See you in two weeks. Can't believe we're going on our next journey together.’ It was just so comforting knowing that she was going to be there and that I had that buddy to go into it with.”

“She's the most special person and makes everyone around her feel so loved and special, so it felt great,” she added. "It's really funny, too, we talked about how I'm a villain in High School Musical, and we have an interesting dynamic. Then, now, the roles are reversed in Descendants.”

In addition to her acting career, Cantrall is a musician who has released several singles and often gives a look her songwriting process, including through a recurring TikTok series where she writes songs in 10 minutes.

Malia Baker as Chloe

<p>Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty</p> Malia Baker as Chloe

Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty

Malia Baker as Chloe

Malia Baker stars as Chloe, the teenage daughter of Cinderella and Prince Charming, who attends her first year of Auradon Prep in the film. During orientation, Chloe travels back in time with Red and the two must work together to protect the ones they love in the present day.

Following small appearances on shows like A Million Little Things and The Flash, Baker got her breakout role as Mary Anne Spier in Netflix’s adaptation of The Baby-Sitters Club. She appeared on the first and second seasons of the show before its cancelation in 2021, after which she appeared on Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark? revival.

After the release of Descendants: The Rise of Red, Baker already has a number of projects lined up, including Harvest Moon with Paul Bettany, Spider & Jessie alongside Mckenna Grace and Dacre Montgomery and Hair of the Bear, the latter of which she executive produced.

After getting her first experience producing, Baker told PEOPLE that she’d love to get more involved in directing and writing, saying Ayo Edebiri and Zendaya were inspirations to her for working behind the camera as well as in front of it.

“I would love to be in the directing space at some point,” she said. “I produced my first film this year, so hopefully that'll be the next step along this journey.”

China Anne McClain as Uma

<p>Disney/ Quantrell Colbert; Joe Scarnici/FilmMagic</p> China Anne McClain as Uma

Disney/ Quantrell Colbert; Joe Scarnici/FilmMagic

China Anne McClain as Uma

China Anne McClain makes her grand return as Uma, the spunky daughter of Ursula. Her character is first introduced in Descendants 2 as the leader of the VKs on the Isle of the Lost. Though she and Mal butt heads at first, they eventually put their differences aside and become close friends in the third film.

In the latest film, Uma serves as the new principal of Auradon Prep, with her first order of business being to unite “all the kingdoms” of Auradon, including Wonderland, by extending an invite to Red.

In PEOPLE’s exclusive first look at her return, McClain noted that she was nervous about taking on the role of Uma again following Cameron Boyce's death, but it ended up being a healing journey for her.

“I was apprehensive to revisit the Descendants world at first, because losing Cam was the first heartbreak I’ve ever experienced," she said in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE. "But once I saw how excited the new generation of kids were, it reminded me of myself when we created the original films."

"Everything came together beautifully," she added of the movie. "There’s one scene that is very special to me, I’m sure the audience will be able to guess which one it is once they see the movie. Stepping back into Uma was very fulfilling, and healing for me.”

Before Descendants, McClain had made a name for herself on hit shows like Tyler Perry's House of Payne and Disney Channel’s A.N.T. Farm. After the Descendants films, including starred on The CW’s superhero series Black Lightning and reprised her character Jazmine Payne on OWN's revival of The Paynes.

Dara Reneé as Uliana

<p>Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Monica Schipper/Getty</p> Dara Renee as Uliana

Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Monica Schipper/Getty

Dara Renee as Uliana

Dara Reneé stars as Uliana, the little sister of Ursula and Uma’s aunt. Uliana tries to outdo her big sister Ursula's villainy at every turn by tormenting those around her.

Reneé made her acting debut in 2018 when she played Savannah in the Disney Channel original movie Freaky Friday. Following a recurring role on the fifth season of Black-ish, Reneé starred as Kourtney on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, which wrapped its final season in 2023.

In addition to acting and singing, Reneé is a songwriter. She penned an original track for the third season of HSMTMTS titled "Here I Come” and regularly gives glimpses of her music on social media.

Playing McClain's aunt was particularly special for Reneé, she told PEOPLE. “The first time I ever met China Anne McClain, I was in an autograph-signing line for A.N.T. Farm at a mall in California,” Reneé recalled. “She was so kind. She said I looked beautiful. That was the first time a role model has ever said that to me, so I carried that with me.”

“When I met her on set, she exceeded my expectations,” Reneé continued. “China Anne McClain is truly an angel on earth. I will say that for the people in the back, I want everybody to know because she treated me with such kindness. She's very special to me and I am just so grateful I got to be her aunt. She's a really, really cool person and literally beautiful inside and out.”

Ruby Rose Turner as Bridget

<p>Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Michael Buckner/Variety/Penske Media via Getty</p> Ruby Rose Turner as Bridget

Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Michael Buckner/Variety/Penske Media via Getty

Ruby Rose Turner as Bridget

Ruby Rose Turner stars as Bridget, the younger version of the Queen of Hearts, whom Chloe and Red meet when traveling back in time. Though Rita Ora plays the Queen of Hearts as villainous in the present-day, her younger self Bridget is shown to be incredibly sweet. It's said that a pivotal event in her life eventually turned her mean.

Turner got her start on shows such as Fuller House and Game Shakers before starring on the Disney Channel series Coop and Cami Ask the World alongside Dakota Lotus. The series ran for two seasons before its completion in 2020.

Morgan Dudley as Ella

<p>Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Morgan Dudley/ Instagram</p> Morgan Dudley as Ella

Disney/ Kwaku Alston; Morgan Dudley/ Instagram

Morgan Dudley as Ella

Morgan Dudley stars as Ella, the younger version of Cinderella, with whom Chloe and Red interact when they travel back in time.

Descendants: The Rise of Red marks one of Dudley’s first starring roles after appearing in Netflix films such as The Prom and A Tourist's Guide to Love. Additionally, she has a background in theater, previously playing Frankie Healy in Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill in 2021, per Playbill.

Rita Ora as the Queen of Hearts

<p>Disney/Edward Herrera; Dave Benett/Getty</p> Rita Ora as Queen of Hearts

Disney/Edward Herrera; Dave Benett/Getty

Rita Ora as Queen of Hearts

Rita Ora stars as the adult Queen of Hearts, the villainous ruler of Wonderland and Red’s strict mother. During Red’s orientation at Auradon Prep, she pulls a stunt that sends Auradon into full chaos.

Ora is best known for her singing career, with hits like “Let You Love Me” and “Black Widow,” though she has appeared in a number of films including the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise and Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. Additionally, she has served as a judge for a number of notable shows such as The X Factor and The Masked Singer.

Speaking with PEOPLE, Cantrall noted it was “surreal” having Ora as her onscreen mother after being a fan of her music for so long. “She's this pop star boss woman, so I think she was able to bring that aura to the Queen of Hearts character,” Cantrall explained. “Just watching her flip that switch of getting into that villain mode, it was so cool to watch her professionalism. I definitely look up to her in so many ways.”

“She's definitely not mean like the Queen of Hearts at all,” she said, adding that she gave her some motherly advice offscreen as well. “She gave me some good boy advice with her little British accent. She's like, ‘Boys are a waste of time. Don't trust them.’ I've held onto that ever since.”

Brandy as Cinderella

<p>Disney/Edward Herrera; Leon Bennett/STA 2020/Getty</p> Brandy as Cinderella

Disney/Edward Herrera; Leon Bennett/STA 2020/Getty

Brandy as Cinderella

After playing Cinderella in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1997 TV movie of the same name, Brandy reprises her role as the Disney princess in the Descendants film. (Baker shares that she’s not exactly the same Cinderella as in the ‘90s version, teasing there’s a bit of a “multiverse” situation going on) In addition to playing Chloe’s mother in the film, she’s also Chad Charming’s mother from the original Descendants franchise.

Baker recalled to PEOPLE that everyone was starstruck about meeting the Moesha actress, noting that her first day on set was dubbed “Brandy Day.” Though she was “geeked out” about meeting her at first, she noted that they hit off right away.

“She was just so lovey-dovey, and she hugged me right off the bat,” Baker recalled. “She held my hand through a lot of this process. She just gave me the best advice of remaining authentic and staying grounded. She has such an amazing presence on set that she brings everyone down to earth. So she's an OG for a reason.”

Paolo Montalban as King Charming

<p>Disney/ Quantrell Colbert; Noam Galai/Getty </p> Paolo Montalban as King Charming

Disney/ Quantrell Colbert; Noam Galai/Getty

Paolo Montalban as King Charming

Like Brandy, Paolo Montalban also reprises his role from the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1997 TV movie, only this time he’s King Charming. Alongside Cinderella, he rules over Cinderellasburg and is the father of Chloe and Chad.

Baker noted that it was especially fun to explore the royal couple’s new realm in Descendants: The Rise of Red. “Cinderellasburg was never a place in [the original movies]. It's a whole new world, which I think is so fun to tap into and explore. As you watch the movie, you just get drawn into it. It's so vibrant on screen. So I think it was a lot of fun to experiment with, which is why I'm so excited for people to see it.”

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