Disney+ has been on a tear in bringing back some of its most popular films of yesteryear. Hocus Pocus got Hocus Pocus 2; Enchantment got Disenchantment. Even Willow is getting a sequel. It’s enough that fans might ask what other major past hits will find a way back to the present. The answer is Cinderella, with Brandy returning to the role in a new Descendants movie, The Pocketwatch. Let’s run down everything to know about the film, from the cast to release date predictions.
Perhaps the biggest and most important thing to know is that The Pocketwatch is not a sequel to Rodgers & Hammerstein's famous Cinderella musical in which Brandy and Whitney Houston starred. It’s part of Disney’s Descendants franchise, which began in 2015 as part of the Disney Channel Original Movies collection. Two sequels followed in 2017 and 2019.
Since Disney+’s arrival, fans expected yet another sequel to come, this time on the streaming service. However, fans have wondered how the movie series would proceed due to the passing of Cameron Boyce, who played Cruella De Vil’s son, Carlos, and was in a romantic relationship with the Fairy Godmother’s daughter, Jane (Brenna D’Amico).
The answer seems to be a whole new cast and storyline. Here’s everything known far.
The Pocketwatch Cast
Most of the original lead cast of Descendants will not return for the fourth installment of the franchise, which is one of the reasons for the new title. However, one familiar face will be back, China Anne McClain, who played Uma, daughter of Ursula, who was introduced in the second film. McClain announced she would lead the new story at 2022’s D23 Expo. Dara Reneé and Kylie Cantrall joined her, with Reneé as Ulyana, Uma’s teenage mean-girl sister, and Cantrall as Red, the Queen of Hearts’ rebellious 16-year-old daughter.
On Nov. 21, 2022, Disney revealed the rest of the main cast, including two significant stars: Rita Ora will join the franchise as Red’s mother, the Queen of Hearts and ruler of Wonderland. Also, a second returnee from the original franchise was announced, as Melanie Paxson will reprise her role as the Fairy Godmother.
But the most prominent name joining the new Descendants movie is Brandy Norwood. Norwood, who starred in Cinderella in 1997, will reprise her role as the now-40-something Cinderella, mom to 16-year-old daughter Chloe, played by Malia Baker, of the late lamented The Baby-Sitter’s Club.
The new cast includes Joshua Colley (Senior Year), who plays Hook, son of, well, you can guess. Also co-starring: Ruby Rose Turner and Morgan Dudley, who play younger versions of Cinderella and the Queen of Hearts, respectively.
The Pocketwatch Plot
With an all-new cast and story, it’s understandable Disney is looking to change the name of the film; however, The Pocketwatch is reportedly a working title and subject to change. Here’s the film’s current synopsis:
The Descendants movies unfurled an imaginative mythology of two new lands, idyllic Auradon and ragtag Isle of the Lost, home to the teenage progeny of Disney’s most iconic characters and notably, its most notorious villains. The Pocketwatch returns to these lands and also takes audiences through the rabbit hole to the hostile unincorporated territory of Wonderland, a magical, mysterious place made famous in Alice in Wonderland. It introduces Red, the whip-smart and rebellious teenage daughter of the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland) and Chloe, the perfectionist and athletic daughter of Cinderella and Prince Charming (Cinderella). In order to prevent an impending coup in Auradon – one that looms during the celebration of a new royal baby –, Red must join forces with Chloe to travel in back in time, via the White Rabbit’s pocket watch, to stop an event that would lead to grave consequences.
The Pocketwatch Music Soundtrack
All three Descendants films — directed by Hocus Pocus’ Kenny Ortega — were musicals, and The Pocketwatch will be no exception. Thus far, Disney has stated there will be “seven new songs” plus an as-yet-unannounced number of Disney classic songs featured on the film’s soundtrack.
The Pocketwatch Filming Updates
Production and rehearsals for The Pocketwatch are reportedly already underway.
The Pocketwatch Trailer & Release Date Predictions
No release date has been announced for The Pocketwatch yet, and there’s no footage for a trailer. However, with the film already in production, fans will likely get to see it sometime in the later half of 2023 on Disney+.