Dove Cameron's Mal Featured In Descendants 4: Rise of Red (Photo)

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
Dove Cameron as Mal in Descendants, Malia Baker, Kylie Cantrall

A teaser for Descendants: The Rise of Red included an appearance from Dove Cameron's Mal. Well, sort of. 

Premiering July 12 on Disney+, The Rise of Red is Disney's fourth Descendants film. It features Kylie Cantrall as Red, the Queen of Hearts' daughter, who is forced to work with Malia Baker's Chloe, Cinderella's daughter. 

Disney confirmed Descendants 4 will bring together actors and characters both old and new, but does that include the franchise's original heroine, Mal?  

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Dove Cameron's Descendants 4 Role

Disney's teaser for Descendants: The Rise of Red pays special attention to a picture of the original Descendants characters: Mal, played by Dove Cameron, and Mitchell Hope's Ben. 

The video begins with Kylie Cantrall's Red spray painting hearts down a hallway, particularly on portraits of familiar Descendants characters.

Kylie Cantrall's Red in Descendants 4

One of those portraits is of Ben and Mal with Red having painted a pink heart around the couple, followed by Red's signature.

Mal and Ben in Descendants: The Rise of Red

So does this mean Mal is returning and will have a role in Descendants 4?

As of writing, Dove Cameron's return is unconfirmed. But it seems unlikely since the image Red encircled with a spray-painted heart was previously used to promote Descendants 3, meaning it's not a new image of Dove Cameron. 

Comparison of Ben and Mal's picture from past Descendants projects with Descendants 4
The Direct

However, in a 2019 interview with Digital Spy, the actress encouraged the idea of "a spin-off with maybe the younger characters" and that she "would be open to doing more:" 

"Also, I may or may not have heard something about something that I might be doing involving the franchise. I would never say that it's over, but I also would never confirm anything at this time. I would be open to doing more."

Still, it sounds like these comments may have only been in reference to Descendants: The Royal Wedding which followed the release of Descendants 3

In 2022, Cameron seemed disinterested in returning to the franchise, telling PopBuzz, "I don't think it would be the same without the whole original cast:"

“I’m gonna say no, because I don’t think it would be the same without the whole original cast. It would just be different now and also we did it. We told a full story. We completed it.”

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Will Dove Cameron Make a Suprise Descendants Comeback?

The fact that Descendants: The Rise of Red paid special attention to Dove Cameron's Mal is interesting and appears to hint at something. 

And, even though Cameron may not have been willing to return in 2022, her feelings could have changed, especially since she appears to have an appreciation for the franchise and wants it to continue.

What might explain her role (whether in-person or not) is that Descendants 4 is expected to involve the past with Chloe and Red traveling back in time; several stars have been cast as younger versions of adult characters. 

Perhaps this time-traveling trip and Chloe and Red's mission will somehow involve or reference Mal.

Another possibility is that Red's Auradon agenda may be inspired by Mal and her path to the throne.

This latter option could be how Descendants 4 includes its original villainess-turned-heroine without the actress herself. 

Perhaps future Descendants teasers will shed further light on the mystery ahead of The Rise of Red's debut on July 12.

Descendants: The Rise of Red premieres July 12 on Disney+ and August 9 on Disney Channel.

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- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.