|“||Call me a schemer, call me a freak, how can you say that, I'm just... unique!||„|
|~ Mal singing "Rotten to the Core".|
|“||I can look into your eyes, and I can tell you're not evil.||„|
|~ Ben's belief in Mal's goodness.|
|“||Cause we're rotten... to the core||„|
|~ Mal's slogan|
Maleficent Bertha is the main protagonist in the Descendants franchise.
She acts as the main protagonist in the Descendants film trilogy, the first three novels and the animated spin off series Descendants Wicked World. She also appears as one of the tritagonists in the fourth novel Escape From The Isle of The Lost. She is the mischievous and tomboyish daughter of Maleficent and Hades.
Isle of the Lost
At the very beginning, Mal made her mother, Maleficent, banish Evie and the Evil Queen to the Castle-Across-the-Way, which is described as more of a cave than a castle, a prison within a prison. Mal did this because the Evil Queen did not invite her to Evie's six-year-old birthday party. Ten years later, when Evie is finally allowed to leave the castle, Mal continued to torment her.
In the novel, Mal was told by her mother that she will receive her mother's full name when she proves herself worthy to the world, and that she is currently only worthy of one part of her name. Mal continues to torment Evie, despite the fact that Evie herself had nothing to do with the guest list.
She decides to play a dangerous prank on Evie for her school project at Cruella's house while she is away. Mal forces Carlos to host a party there, but is disappointed to see Evie come out unscathed after she shoves Evie into a closet full of bear traps. When her mother's raven, Diablo, returns to her, she informs Mal that her scepter is out there, and Mal must retrieve it for her, so they can destroy the barrier and gain freedom.
Mal realizes that she needs Jay, her only friend, and wants to bring Evie along so that she will touch the scepter and be cursed for an enchanted 1000-year-long sleep. Evie brings Carlos with her.
The villain kids make their way through many different obstacles and tests while navigating Maleficent's fortress. At last, they reach the throne room, the scepter obtainable. Evie stretches her hand out to grab the scepter, but at the last second Mal stops her. Mal has realized that Evie is useful to her, and she doesn't want that usefulness to be taken away. Mal grabs the scepter and is knocked out for only a few minutes because she is the daughter of Maleficent.
While knocked out, Mal experiences a vision of Maleficent's past, when she was all-powerful and interrupted baby Aurora's christening. Mal realizes that her mother, in a way, was just like herself: a jealous girl who wanted revenge for not being invited.
She looks around to see that the scepter has vanished.
Disappointed, she and the others return home where her mother is waiting for her, scepter in hand and Diablo on her shoulder. She explains that Diablo brought the scepter back, and he told her that Mal was supposed to let Evie touch it, lamenting furiously that sometimes Mal is such a disappointment.
Mal still vows to make Maleficent proud of her, and joins forces with the three villain kids, now much closer to all of them than before, and begin a raid on the town, kicking off the events of the movie.
Mal and her gang are seen in the beginning of the movie doing a graffiti and walk in the town. She loves being evil and making her mother proud of her, because everyone also knows her and all the children of villains as trouble makers. After the song "Rotten to The Core" where she had been dancing with her friends and all the other villain kids, she stole a lollipop from a baby. Maleficent tells her she does recognize her nasty little girl like she said. When Mal hears that she and her friends was going to Auradon Prep, by the order of Prince Ben, she was surprised, because she knows no villains and their offspring can leave the Isle of the Lost, but Maleficent told her she needed her to go and steal the wand from the Fairy Godmother. Mal agrees, and she and her friends take the limo to go to Auradon. When she and her friends finally arrive, everyone in Auradon Prep greeted them. Ben greeted her with Audrey. When she, Carlos, Evie, and Jay walk in the school museum, they finally find the magic wand, but Jay accidentally activates the museum alarm, and they have no choice but to escape, getting away clean only because of Carlos' quick thinking.
They continue to go to Auradon Prep, and Mal decides to befriend Jane, Fairy Godmother's daughter, in order to get information about the wand. Mal preys on Jane's insecurities and makes her think that she can only be beautiful, aka she can only have worth as a person, with a magical makeover that Mal provides. Jane, believing that Mal is her friend, tells her that Fairy Godmother will use the wand during Ben's coronation. Ben later lets them know that his girlfriend gets to sit in the front row with him at said Coronation.
Mal decides to spell Ben into falling in love with her, so that she will be his girlfriend. The spell causes Ben to confess his love through a musical number in front of two entire schools. His girlfriend Audrey is hurt, betrayed, upset, embarrassed, and utterly humiliated. She breaks up with Ben on the spot. Mal does not really care about hurting Audrey.
Ben then asks Mal on a date, and she tells Evie to help her get ready to go on the date. Ben shows her the place he wanted to go swimming, but Mal refuses to follow him. When she can't see him in the lake anymore she believed he had drowned and tried to save him, but she can't swim and was about to drown when Ben came to save her.
Ben presents Mal as his girlfriend to his parents on Family Day, where the students' parents come visit. At Family Day, Queen Leah, Audrey's grandmother, believes Mal is Maleficent and causes a scene. Many of the AKs picked on Mal and her friends after this event, including Jane. Mal takes away Jane's magical hair.
Ready to carry out their plan, Mal says that she wants to break the love spell. She makes a brownie with her spell book open to the page, "How To Break A Love Spell." However, the anti-love spell that we see is not a potion and has no cooking process, so the brownie might have been a completely separate thing from the anti-love spell. Ultimately it is unclear if the brownie is an anti-love spell, or even if she actually went through with breaking the love spell.
However, Ben reveals that he hadn't actually been spelled since his and Mal's first date at the Enchanted Lake, which has enchanted water that undid the spell. However, the fact that the spell was broken does not absolve Mal of the moral implications of what she did. She was perfectly okay with the idea of controlling Ben and his feelings.
At the coronation, Jane takes the wand to make herself beautiful, because Mal's bullying and toxic/fake friendship convinced her that she was worth nothing if she didn't fit conventional standards of beauty. However, Jane accidentally removes the barrier from the Isle of the Lost, thus making it possible for all the villains to invade Auradon.
Mal then takes the wand from Jane, and Ben believes that she wanted to give it back. However, Mal threatens everyone with the wand. Ben convinces her to give the wand back by telling her that he's following his heart. Mal realizes that she enjoys being in Auradon, and that Ben loves her. Mal gives the wand back to Fairy Godmother, but Maleficent breaks in and freezes everyone, then takes the wand. Maleficent transforms into a dragon when Mal doesn't want to go with her. Mal says a spell and turns Maleficent into a lizard, which would not have been possible without Evie, Jay, and Carlos. At the end of the movie, she celebrated with Ben and all of the other students of Auradon. At the very end, she tells us the story isn't over.
Descendants: Wicked World
Mal appears to have adjusted to live in Auradon but still gets stressed and irritated over everything there. She isn't exactly evil in the series but more of witty and sarcastic girl who is always poking fun at the AKs whenever they do something she finds amusing. Most of the AKs accuse Mal of various bad things happening to them despite Mal's insistence that she's innocent, they eventually turn on Mal after Ben was kidnapped and assumed it was her until CJ Hook revealed herself as the true culprit along with Freddie Facilier who helped sneak CJ into Auradon. After CJ left Freddie apologized to Mal for sneaking her into Auradon and Mal forgave her.
Mal appears in this season as the main protagonist and false antagonist. She was informed of the upcoming Jewel-bilee where she was informed that Maleficent hid her jewel on the Isle of the Lost, upon hearing this Mal and Freddie went back to the Isle in search of the jewel. After failing to find it, Freddie gave Mal what she thought was a lucky necklace however it began making Mal act odd as if it were brainwashing her. She later returned to Auradon and caused a lot of mischiefs until Audrey banished her from the Jewel-bilee. She then sneaks into the museum and steals Jafar's staff, giving it to Zevon, the true main antagonist of the series. Evie, Jay and Carlos discover that Mal's jewel was cursed and unknown to them Zevon was in Auradon, knew about Mal's jewel and was using this to his advantage. By the end of the series Mal defeats Zevon, and makes up with the AKs and gets her jewel without it being cursed.
Mal struggles with her new celebrity life as the girlfriend of King Ben, putting a spell on her hair making it blonde, and uncomfortably maintaining a princess-like personality. She tries to convince Evie, Jay, and Carlos that they should go back to being evil, but they are content with their new lives in Auradon and do not wish to return to the Isle of the Lost and dredge up their trauma. Evie tells Mal that she should stop using magic to solve every little problem that she has. Carlos, wishing to ask Jane to the upcoming Cotillion dance, turns to Mal for help with honesty. Mal gives him a sweet that will make him speak the truth, but his dog, Dude, eats it, and now magically speaks the blunt truth in English.
During their picnic date, Ben discovers Mal's reliance on magic, and she tries to cast a spell on him instead of taking responsibility for her actions, causing a falling-out. Mal returns to the Isle, now ruled by her former rival Uma, Ursula's daughter, along with Harry and Gil, the sons of Captain Hook and Gaston. Mal visits hairstylist Dizzy Tremaine, Drizella's daughter, who restores her signature purple hair, saying she felt that Mal's blonde hair was unnatural. Harry discovers Mal's return and informs Uma.
Ben, Evie, Jay, and Carlos learn of Mal's departure and sneak onto the Isle to find her, but Gil recognizes them. Ben confronts Mal, who rejects his feelings. Ben leaves dejected, only to be captured by Uma. Mal and Uma arm wrestle for Ben and Fairy Godmother's wand, which Uma wins. Uma then orders Mal and her friends to retrieve the Fairy Godmother's wand or Ben dies. Carlos and Jay return to Auradon Prep, where they create a replica of the wand using a 3D printer. They are caught by Lonnie, Mulan's daughter, who blackmails them into letting her come, having previously been rejected from Jay's sports team based on her gender.
Uma speaks with Ben, angry that the Core Four got to go to Auradon while the rest of the Isle kids were left to rot in false imprisonment and poverty when they had done literally nothing wrong. Ben takes this into account and invites her to Auradon, but Uma refuses the exclusive invitation. She refuses to leave anyone behind. Mal's group returns, handing over the fake wand in exchange for Ben, but Uma realizes the forgery. The group flees back to Auradon, but Mal and Ben's relationship is still rocky, and Mal isn't the happiest about being back in Auradon. The villains' children come to terms that they cannot run from their pasts and agree to be honest with themselves and each other. Carlos confesses to Jane but struggles a little bit, while Jay appoints Lonnie as the captain of his team.
Aboard a ship during the Cotillion, Ben stuns everyone by appearing with Uma, who he declares as his true love and announces he will destroy the barrier on the Isle on her behalf. Jane unveils a stained glass display Ben commissioned to show his affection for Mal, who realizes he loved her for who she was all along. Suspecting Uma has given him a love potion, Mal confesses her love for Ben and kisses him, breaking the spell. Enraged, Uma leaps into the water using Ursula's magic seashell to transform into an octopus, and Mal fights back as a dragon. Ben intervenes, quelling the battle, and Uma returns the ring that Ben had originally given her when he had declared her as his true love. She leaves, despite his offer still standing.
Mal and Ben reunite, Mal surrendering her spell book to the Fairy Godmother. Evie requests that Dizzy be allowed to attend Auradon Prep; when Dizzy is offered, she excitedly accepts.
Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos visit the Isle of the Lost to choose four new villain kids (VKs) to take to Auradon. They pick Dizzy, granddaughter of Lady Tremaine, Celia, daughter of Dr. Facilier, and Squeaky and Squirmy, the twin sons of Mr. Smee. The day the kids are to be picked up, Ben proposes to her, and she accepts. Ben's ex-girlfriend Audrey is hurt and upset about this, and her grandmother Queen Leah admonishes her and basically tells her that she's worthless because she failed to secure the family legacy by marrying Ben, despite the fact that none of it is Audrey's fault.
When the barrier is opened for the new VKs, Hades, the god of the underworld, attempts to escape, but Mal beats him back in her dragon form. That night, unable to overcome her feelings of worthlessness, Audrey steals the Queen's Crown and Maleficent's Scepter from The Museum. The theft and Hades' escape attempt has the citizens panicking. Belle and Beast look to Mal, as future Queen, to decide the best way to protect the subjects and restore peace. Instead of placing Hades in a more secure location or increasing security at the museum and the Isle, Mal decides to close the barrier permanently, meaning no new VKs can come, nor can anyone enter the Isle. This also means that no supplies can reach the Isle, so everyone on the Island will die from starvation in a matter of months. Mal decides that this will solve all of their problems because they won't have to deal with villains anymore.
Audrey attacks Mal with Maleficent's scepter, turning her into an old hag. Mal and the other VKs go to the Isle to get Hades' ember, the only thing powerful enough to break the scepter's curse. Mal is restored upon entering the Isle due to the suppression of evil magic there. Celia gets Mal into Hades' lair, but he thwarts their effort to steal the ember. He is revealed to be Mal's absentee father and reluctantly gives her the ember, warning her that it mustn't get wet and will not exhibit its full powers for her. While leaving the Isle, Mal and the others are stopped by Uma, Gil, and Harry, who take the Ember. They agree to help after Mal lies to them and says that she will release all the children from the Isle.
Mal lies to Evie about who came up with the plan to close the barrier. Although we don't see it, we can assume that Mal lied to Jay and Carlos as well. Audrey then attacks Jane's birthday party with a sleeping curse; Chad aligns himself with Audrey, while Jane escapes into the Enchanted Lake. As the entire kingdom falls under Audrey's spell, she offers to reverse it if Ben will marry her; he refuses, so she turns him into a beast and begins turning people to stone. Mal refuses to let Uma have any power within the group as they all return to Auradon. Despite Mal's stubbornness, they defeat suits of armor animated by Audrey. Uma finds Audrey's diary and learns that she spends time at Fairy Cottage, a contribution for which Mal thanks her. Evie, nervous to define her feelings for Doug, wakes him with "true love's kiss." After finding Ben in beast form, Carlos calms him down until Jane restores him with lake water. As Mal and Uma are thawing towards each other, Audrey traps them in Evie's house; they reverse Audrey's spell by combining their magic, and they all reunite there.
At the Fairy Cottage, they find only a shell-shocked Chad. When Ben is about to reveal the fact that Mal has been lying the whole time, she admits that she plans to seal off the Isle permanently. The group implodes and Celia, learning she can never see her father again, throws the ember in a birdbath, and Uma and Harry leave, telling Mal that they shouldn't have expected anything other than betrayal from her. After Evie tells Mal how upset she is for lying to her and their friends, they are all suddenly turned to stone, except for Mal. Instead of trying to help her friends, Mal sings a song about her life story and how great she is. She begs Uma and Harry for help, but they refuse her because she is still going to close the barrier, so they know she doesn't actually care about them.
Audrey takes Celia hostage and attacks Mal, who turns into her dragon form. Realizing she is Celia's only hope, Uma combines her magic with Mal's to reignite the ember, Audrey is defeated and falls comatose, and the curses are lifted. The ember could revive Audrey, but only in Hades' hands; Ben agrees to send for him, while Uma, Harry, Gil, and Celia plan to return to the Isle so that they can protect their people as best they can. Mal apologizes for lying; her friends and former rivals forgive her despite the fact that she is still going to condemn thousands of people, including Uma, Harry, Gil, and Celia, to wrongful imprisonment, poverty, and eventually death. Hades arrives and revives Audrey, but reveals the double standard by which Audrey is immediately forgiven because she is not considered a villain. Audrey apologizes to Mal and Ben; in response, Mal and Ben admit they owe Audrey an apology but don't actually apologize.
Mal announces that she cannot be the Queen of Auradon unless she can also be the Queen of the Isle, despite the fact that she was planning on killing all of the people on the Isle. With Ben and the Fairy Godmother's non-verbal, last-second agreement, Mal removes the barrier and creates a bridge. The people of the newly merged society celebrate.
In the mid-credits scene, Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos are seen looking at the Isle of the Lost; then racing across the bridge to their parents.
In the first movie, Mal is rebellious, determined, sarcastic, manipulative, callous, and indifferent. She is focused on her goal of getting the wand and breaking the barrier. A lot of her character is hinged on, "she's evil because of her mother." Stealing the wand is her only focus, as everything we see her do revolves around getting the wand. She doesn't really care who she has to hurt in order to complete this goal. While her friends Evie, Jay, and Carlos are participating in Auradon activities and making friends, Mal doesn't do that, nor does she support anything that her friends are doing. She manipulates Ben with a spell, causing him to fall in love with her. She does not care in the slightest about how much she hurt Audrey. She also manipulated Jane into thinking that they were friends and that Jane was worthless if she wasn't pretty, all to get information so that she could get the wand. Eventually, Mal decides to rebel against her mother and have power Auradon instead of the poverty-ridden, trash-covered Isle.
In the second movie, Mal is conflicted, manipulative, controlling, flighty, selfish, determined, vindictive, and petty. She likes being in Auradon and being Ben's girlfriend, but not the responsibilities that come with those things. Mal complains about these things to Evie and Carlos without ever thinking about how they're doing. She also invalidates Carlos' trauma from the Isle by rolling her eyes at him. She constantly uses magic for every problem that she encounters, including on her own boyfriend, Ben. There is no way to tell how many times she had erased his memory. After Ben calls her out on her manipulative behavior, she runs away to the Isle without telling anyone, or even having the decency to break up with Ben. She is still determined, as shown with her focus on beating Uma, her old rival. Her fixation on this also shows her pettiness and vindictive nature. Mal still has not let go of whatever grudge she has against Uma. Eventually Mal does return to Auradon, but only because she didn't want Uma coming after her. As soon as Mal sees Uma at Cotillion, she's ready to bolt again, despite the fact that her actions absolutely warranted Ben to leaving her and finding someone else. Mal only seems to care about Ben again after seeing the window, which proved that he "loved the real her."
In the third movie, Mal is irrational, selfish, stubborn, power-hungry, and legitimately homicidal. She decides to close the barrier to the Isle forever, which will hinder any supplies from getting to the Isle, meaning that every person there will die. Closing the barrier doesn't even solve the problem that Mal was trying to solve, that of the musuem theft, which wasn't even perpetrated by an Isle resident. She manipulates her friends and the Sea Three to help her stop the Queen of Mean, and nearly bites Uma's head off numerous times only because Uma wants to make some decisions. At the end of the movie, she "redeems herself" by taking down the barrier only when her lack of compassion is making her look bad. This action actually puts the entire kingdom of Auradon in danger as well as lets Evie, Jay, and Carlos' abusive parents stir up trauma for them.
Throughout the three movies, Mal goes from evil, to "good", to evil, to "good", to committing genocide, to "good" again. It's a fair assumption that she'll return to her evil ways after D3 as soon as an advantageous opportunity comes along.
Mal is a pale-skinned, fairly attractive young woman with eyes which alternate in color from grayish-blue to bright green who is of average height and slim physique. In her dragon form Mal appears as a gigantic dragon with horns and glowing green eyes that had a consistent accent pattern of black, purple and pink across her body.
In the first movie Mal had wavy, dark violet colored hair with magenta highlights in a long bob style that sits over her collarbone, she continues having this style throughout Wicked World with it subtly growing slightly longer across the series. In the second movie Mal started with long platinum blonde hair with violet highlights which she changed once returning to the Isle into a slightly shorter style with bangs in a lilac color. In the third movie Mal's hair was changed once again into that of a long wavy style with an indigo color.
Mal usually wore punk style clothes such as custom made leather jackets which were usually designed with different shades of purple, pink, green and black. In the third film however she changed her style drastically into wearing very dark colored leather.
- According to Dove Cameron, the actress who played Mal, Mal is pansexual.