Prepare to meet a new kind of Disney princess.
EW has your exclusive first look at Disney+'s new sci-fi fantasy film Secret Society of Second-Born Royals that introduces Sam (Andi Mack's Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a rebellious teen living in the kingdom of Illyria — and in the shadow of her older sister Princess Eleanor (Ashley Liao), who is next in line for the throne. "Sam has always felt like not only is she second born, but she is also second best," Lee tells EW. "She is struggling to find where she can shine and where she belongs." But Sam soon finds out that being a second-born royal has its own perks: Not only does the birth order mean she scores superpowers, but she's also drafted into a top secret group of other gifted young recruits who are charged with keeping the world safe.
"Sam is going to be a unique addition to the Disney princess family because she doesn’t want to be a princess, she doesn’t want to be royalty," Lee says of Sam, who opts for a skateboard instead of an enchanted pumpkin for her preferred mode of royal transportation. "Because of that, it takes her on this journey of figuring out how to make it work for herself that’s going to break that delicate princess mold. When she finds this secret society that feels the same way, they figure out how to create their own legacy and have an impact on their country and the world."
Leading the new class of trainees is Prof. James Morrow (Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist's Skylar Astin), a superhuman second-born royal himself. "He is such a fun character and provides a little levity to this otherwise fantasy action movie," Astin tells EW. James helps guide the young royal rookies as they discover the full potential of their unique superpowers but most importantly, teaches them the values of teamwork. "James has the ability to multiply, so that is very convenient for teaching and combat," the actor says. "I made sure to make certain versions of him more eager, certain ones more serious. In a fight scene there's one that's more aggressive. My mother is going to love this movie because there will be 20 of me."
While Astin is used to being considered one of the younger actors on set from his career-making roles in the Pitch Perfect franchise, taking over the role of Greg in the final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, his one-episode appearance on Glee, to now playing the male lead on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, he now finds "art imitating life" with this Disney+ film. "I’ve become a little bit of a mentor for the kids on set," Astin says about his costars (pictured above, from left) Isabella Blake-Thomas who plays the uber-friendly Princess January, Faly Rakotohavana who plays the sweet, smart, and shy Prince Matteo, Niles Fitch who plays the charismatic and self-centered Prince Tuma, Lee, and Olivia Deeble who plays the mega-popular Princess Roxana. "You forget how much experience you have until you work with people so much younger and you’re like, 'Wow, I guess I’ve been doing this for a while.' Since like literally when these kids were born!"
And Lee reveals that Astin actually helped coach her during filming. "Noah [Lomax], who plays my best friend and bandmate in the movie, we had a couple musical scenes together," Lee says. "And [Astin] was so helpful because neither of us played our instruments prior to the film. He was there to lend his musical ear to what we were doing."
The second-born royals' mission becomes more urgent in the movie when a shadowy villain (The Handmaid's Tale's Greg Bryk) emerges with his eyes on the crown... and world domination. Known as Inmate 34, he manages to escape one of Illyria's most secure prisons after being imprisoned for over 10 years and is thirsty for revenge."That's when we get to see [the royals] make their mark," Lee teases. Sounds like a good time to trade in those glass slippers for combat boots.
Secret Society of Second-Born Royals hits streaming this summer on Disney+, but check out EW's first look photos above and below now.
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