The Secret Is Almost Out!

Reports of recent production delays made me question whether or not the upcoming Disney+ original movie Secret Society of Second-Born Royals was far enough along to premiere this summer as initially promised. Two days ago, I received my answer when a long-anticipated trailer for the action-packed princess flick was finally dropped alongside a release date of July 17th. I was excited about this movie not because I have a preference for princesses who kick butt, but instead because of its lead actress, Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who starred in the brilliant Disney Channel sitcom Andi Mack. Peyton is an endearing and talented actress who will take on the role of Sam, the younger sister of the crown princess of Illyria. Another familiar face in the Secret Society is its teacher, Skylar Astin, the second actor to take on the role of Greg in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend that currently portrays the character of Max in another musical drama, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. The trailer gives us a first glimpse of both of these stars in action. Check it out below.

There's something off about the way the Secret Society of Second-Born Royals trailer begins. We see our rebel heroine Sam skateboarding through a modern-day city and being escorted by a pair of police into a prison. She says "People call me a princess" in a gruff voice that makes it sound like it's a rude nickname that used to mock her for her clearly unprincess-like behavior. As more of the story unfolds, we learn that Sam is, in fact, an actual princess of a kingdom that bears a strong resemblance to New York City. T-shirts, ballgowns, and leather jackets are all acceptable fashion in the kingdom of Illyria. It gives off subtle vibes of Princess Protection Program, another contemporary Disney Channel princess movie, but even that film implied that the princess's home country was less contemporary than the one she was hiding out in. If anything, the world of Illyria is probably inspired more by the Descendants franchise with princesses and princes attending a modern-day high school and rejecting the centuries-old traditions of their lineage.

This movie appears to be Disney's answer to countless fan requests for a Disney Princess Avengers-style team up, unless you count Wreck-It Ralph 2, in which case, that already happened. After the acquisition of Marvel, Disney's two biggest franchises were their superheroes and their princesses. It was only a matter of time before they attempted to combine the two. Releasing Secret Society of Second-Born Royals on Disney+ gives them a subscription to hide behind if the combination of princesses and superheroes doesn't work. Unlike Disney Channel, which can be seen by just about anyone with a cable subscription, Disney+ can only be be viewed by hardcore fans who deliberately signed up for the streaming service, providing an opportunity for experimental programming. Secret Society of Second-Born Royals features princes as well as princesses, so it is a transparent attempt to amass fans of Disney's male-oriented and female-oriented franchises. Oil and water don't usually mix, so Secret Society of Second-Born Royals has just as much potential to become an epic disaster as it does a cult classic.

The aspects of this movie that I am most excited about are the very things that Sam's character is most likely to reject. As much as I love nuance of the line "Where the fairy tale ends is where our story begins," I have hope that the movie will slip in more fairy tale references than the trailer implies. I've never been a fan of action movies, but of course, the princess element is a huge selling point for me. The second half of the trailer includes footage of Sam running around in a beautiful Cinderella-like ballgown despite her dislike of all things princess. I'm also looking forward to learning about what sorts of superpowers each character will have. Even though Skylar's character informs them they all have powers in the trailer, we never see any of the society members use supernatural abilities in the subsequent action clips. If it's anything like the 2005 movie Sky High it may surprise us with some silly and seemingly useless abilities that become useful during the climax in creative ways.

With the lockdown order still in place in my hometown, I was hoping that Disney would shorten the wait and release this movie in June, but if I have to wait until July 17th, then so be it. I'm glad it wasn't delayed further and can't wait to see one of my favorite actresses portray the next new Disney Princess. Sure, it could turn out to be a campy mess due the vast differences between fairy tales and superheroes, but that won't stop me from tuning in. As modern as the world of Illyria appears, I'm relieved the costumes aren't as much of a hot mess as the Party City Halloween attire we got from Descendants. The next month and a half won't be easy, but I'm glad the release date for Secret Society of Second-Born Royals is no longer being kept a secret.


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