Look out for the original actor's cameo in the sequel.
Enchanted was not expected to be a massive hit when it debuted in 2007. The first film released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (formerly Buena Vista) was seen as a mid-sized comedy, meta-Disney commentary for hardcore princess fans. Instead, it grossed over $300 million, which makes one wonder why it took 15 years to make a sequel. Disenchanted, which debuted on Disney+, is just as delightful, but there was one slight alteration: Morgan was recast. Here’s why fans think that happened.
In Enchanted, the singing, dancing would-be Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is, as is typical, waylaid by Narissa, an evil queen determined to keep her from marrying the handsome prince (James Marsden). Not so typical? Narissa’s heroine removal method involves kicking her out of the animated kingdom and into live-action New York City. Hilarity ensues as Giselle meets cynical New York lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey). He cannot believe this woman, while his 6-year-old daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey), has all her fairy tale beliefs confirmed.
Disenchanted is set a decade after Giselle and Robert’s real-world happily ever after, bringing back Adams, Dempsey, Marsden, and Idina Menzel as Robert’s girlfriend from the first film, Nancy, who wound up marrying the prince. However, Covey, whose portrayal of Morgan earned her a Young Artist Award nomination, does not reprise her role. Instead, newcomer Gabriella Baldacchino plays Robert’s now-teenage daughter.
There are many reasons Disney could have decided to recast, but a leading theory is simply due to the age factor. Covey was 6 when she filmed the role in 2005, 18 months before it was released. Although the movie only jumps forward 10 years, in reality, it’s been almost two decades since the original film was made, and Covey is nearly 25. Disney could have made her look younger, but it seems more likely they looked for someone closer to the right age. (Gabriella Baldacchino was 19 when filming took place in 2021.)
It’s also notable that Covey’ is not currently a working actor. Instead, she’s become a musician, composer, and playwright, and recently had a musical she wrote premiere in New York City. She very well could have told Disney “Thanks, but that’s not my scene,” or she could have had scheduling conflicts with her new pursuits that she wasn’t willing to give up.
Even so, she was a good sport and made a cameo. Eagle-eyed viewers spotted her in a minor role, in which she has a short exchange with Giselle after her wish comes true. So, whatever really happened that led to Covey not reprising her role, it doesn’t seem like there’s any bad blood between her and the Enchanted franchise.
Enchanted and Disenchanted are both streaming on Disney+. (Don’t have Disney+ yet? You can sign up here.)