Readers of a certain age will certainly remember the joys of the Disney Channel Original Movie. These movies (which we ranked here) are not necessarily produced by the same standards as the Mouse House’s theatrical ventures, but have a contagious energy, enthusiasm, and capacity to lodge into our nostalgia-addled brains like nothing else. Thankfully, Disney+’s new original movie looks to fit right into that distinct category of entertainment. The trailer for Secret Society of Second-Born Royals is below, and it’s exactly the kinda flick 10-year-old me would’ve eaten up at a sleepover.
Peyton Elizabeth Lee, the star of wonderful Disney Channel series Andi Mack, stars as Sam, a rebellious teenage member of royalty who, alongside several other youngsters sharing similar royal DNA, discovers the secret powers lying within herself. At a new, secret boarding school, the kids learn how to harness their powers from mentor Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect), learn how to work together, and try to defeat the villainous Inmate 34 (Greg Bryk, My Spy).
The film, which reminds me a bit of the eternally underrated The Kid Who Would Be King, is directed by Anna Mastro (Marvel’s Runaways), written by Alex Litvak (The Three Musketeers) and Andrew Green (Hannah Montana), and produced by Zanne Devine (Kim Possible), Mike Karz (The Nut Job), Austin Winsberg (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist), and Juliana Janes (Butter). To be frank, a lot about the Disney+ original film feels cheap and undercooked, especially some of the garish-looking visuals. But the young cast looks ready to play, and the narrative of fighting against our so-called pre-ordained fates just might be the inspirational family-friendly watch the doctor ordered.
Secret Society of Second-Born Royals fulfills its specific destiny on Disney+ July 17. Check out the trailer below. For more upcoming YA goodness on the service, here’s a first look at Artemis Fowl.