Post Mortems
Descendants 2 Interview

Descendants 2 Director Breaks Down the Final Battle: What Does It Mean for Mal and Uma? (Plus, Grade the Movie)

Warning: This interview reveals the ending of Descendants 2. If you don’t want to be spoiled, make like the villains and get lost.

If you just finished watching the premiere of Disney Channel’s Descendants 2, you’re probably thinking three things: (1) This was so much better than the first movie. (2) China Anne McClain is a gift unto us all. (3) And that final battle was quite possibly the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. For the sake of this article, let’s focus on that third one.

Following a flurry of plots, threats and Hamilton-inspired fight songs, the movie concludes with an epic battle on the high seas between a giant Uma — a brilliant nod to Ursula’s final fight in The Little Mermaid — and a fire-breathing Mal, who transforms into a dragon for the first time. But does Mal’s transformation signify that her dark side might not be as gone as she’d like to believe?

“I think it’s just part of who she is,” director Kenny Ortega tells TVLine. “It’s a protective skill in Mal. She’s protecting Ben. There’s something in her DNA that enables her to become a large, protective version of herself, as opposed to just turning into a dragon to battle or to hurt someone. That was important to me. I didn’t want these two women going at each other with one dying and one surviving. This was about something else. This was about one person feeling that she missed out on an opportunity she deserved, and one who was trying to protect someone she loves and cares about.”

And if you thought Ben’s uncharacteristic roar signified that he was about to join the fight by turning into a beast — like father, like son! — you’re not alone. I nearly dropped my remote in anticipation, though my excitement was quickly snuffed out when the new King of Auradon remained very much human.

“No one has ever asked me about that, nor was it ever raised throughout the entire process,” Ortega says with a laugh. “But I could see where someone would think, ‘Uh-oh! That’s going to happen, too!’ We just felt that Ben needed to express that he was feeling empowered to make the decision he makes at that point.”

As for the outcome of the battle — Uma giving up and slinking back to the Isle of the Lost — Ortega acknowledges that it certainly leaves the door open for a third movie, though he’s not one to get ahead of himself.

“Every once in a while, I think about new characters,” he admits. “Or I think about the characters we already have and what their next journeys might be. But none of us are really thinking about a third movie right now. We don’t want to jump the gun. We’re waiting to see how the fans respond.”

What say you, Descendants fans? Are you hoping for a third, even-bigger movie? What was your favorite part about the sequel? Grade Descendants 2 below, then drop a comment with your full review.