You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stars of ‘Descendants 3,’ ‘Zombies 2’ Laud Strong Female Characters on TV

Promoting strong female characters was very much on brand for several of Disney Channel’s star characters at Saturday’s Disney Channel Fan Fest held at California Adventure Park, a day-long event that treated kids and their families to a bevy of fan-focused activities, from Q&A sessions to musical performances and meet and greets with Disney Channel stars.

Sofia Carson, who stars as Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen in Disney Channel’s original movies “Descendants” and “Descendants 2,” revealed that in the third installation her character will continue to be a positive role model for young viewers.

“Evie has always been very much focused on her heart and what she cares about most is giving back and especially empowering young girls and young women everywhere, so you’ll especially see that in ‘Descendants 3,’ said Carson, who also joined the cast of the Freeform drama series “Pretty Little Liars” this past year.

“It’s just a really beautiful and emotional and almost political message,” says Carson of Evie’s character arc. “So many girls are raised to believe that we are defined by our reflection in the mirror, and we should really only be defined by what’s in our hearts and in our minds, and that’s what Evie says.”

Co-star Dove Cameron, who is readying to release her debut single and music video and is also set to appear in the London production of the Tony Award-winning musical, “The Light in the Piazza,” starting this summer, assures fans of the “Descendants” franchise that “we tie up so many loose ends.”

“So many stories get their fulfillment,” says Cameron, who stars as Mal, daughter of Maleficent. “You see things go in a direction where you want them to go.”

Sadie Stanley, who stars in the Disney Channel live-action feature-length adaptation of the early aughts’ animated series “Kim Possible,” was intent on crafting a protagonist that inspired Disney Channel audiences.

“This is a very iconic character that means a lot to a lot of people and their childhood, and I wanted to make sure that I brought a lot of cartoon animated Kim’s personality traits and characteristics and idiosyncrasies into my live-action version of her,” sais Stanley.

“It’s so important now more than ever in this amazing age of woman empowerment to continue to have these multi-dimensional characters who are strong and powerful but they are also flawed and human and relatable and realistic and they are doing whatever comes authentically to them,” she continued. “I think that’s such an amazing role model for young kids—girls and boys—to have and look up to. That’s so important and that’s what I want to do with my career. I want to play roles that inspire people with the characters that I play.”

Kylee Russell and Meg Donnelly, who star in “Zombies” and its upcoming sequel “Zombies 2,” spoke of the parallels between the real-life adolescence and the two Disney Channel original movies, in which zombies and cheerleaders vie for love, friendship and acceptance at an American high school in the fictitious town of Seabrook.

“When you are not secure in yourself you become insecure and you take out your insecurities on other people,” said Donnelly. “And I think a lot of times in Seabrook they were treating zombies unfairly just because they were different or just because they were scared of them, but they had no idea their cultural background or where they came from.”

“Self-acceptance is a theme both in ‘Zombies’ and in real life,” added Russell. “In high school you’re kind of trying to learn who you are and there are so many cliques and you’re like, ‘Where do I belong?’ But once you learn how to accept and love who you are and you love yourself, you’ll fit in anywhere.”

Other celebrity attendees at Disney Channel Fan Fest included Peyton Elizabeth-Lee and Joshua Rush (“Andi Mack”); Miranda May and Mallory James Mahoney (“Bunk’d); Bobby Moynahan and Danny Pudi (“Ducktales”) and Raven-Symoné, star of “Raven’s Home.”

“We all film in different places. Some film in Utah, people film in Canada. And to be able to come together and it’s not competitive, to see everybody’s faces, it’s what it’s all about,” she said of what she loves best about the Fan Fest event. “A lot of times you have different shows and you are fighting for that number one spot. But when you bring us all together like this and you put your [Mickey Mouse] ears on, we are here for entertainment.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • ALL RISE -- A drama that

    TV Review: 'All Rise' Starring Simone Missick

    Finding a new way to do a legal procedural is such a difficult prospect at this point that it would be hard to blame TV for giving up entirely and just going on autopilot. “All Rise,” however, both indulges the basics of the genre and finds some refreshing ways to twist them into slightly new, [...]

  • An Emmy statue is displayed during

    Expect High Heat and Traffic for Emmys Sunday

    If you work in TV, are a fan of TV, or are in fact a TV yourself, the 71st Primetime Emmys promise to be a treat. Television’s biggest awards show takes place in Los Angeles on Sunday night, with some of Hollywood’s brightest stars set to appear as the entertainment community honors the best of [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun

    Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun Rights

    Viacom has sealed a deal with Sony Pictures Television for the cable rights to “Seinfeld” starting in October 2021. The deal comes on the heels of a blockbuster new deal between Sony and Netflix for the streaming rights to the beloved NBC sitcom that also begins in 2021. “Seinfeld” reruns have been a staple of [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content