Disney+ has plenty of content for fans to watch over the holiday season, though you don't have to just enjoy mistletoe filled romantic comedies or Santa-style adventures. If you're looking for something fun for the whole family that combines secret organizations, superpowers, and a bit of mystery, Disney's Secret Society of Second Born Royals might just be the film you've been waiting for. The original film features a delightful cast, including Faly Rakotohavana, who brings the lovable Matteo to life, and when ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Rakotohavana, we talked about everything from the audition and getting into character to what Matteo's secondary abilities might be because yes, I'm a giant X-Men nerd and I figured you would want to know too. You're welcome.
The film could be described as Disney+ X-Men, as it brings together a myriad of personalities and rather unique power sets to help defend the world in secrecy. Matteo's power set very much fits this description, and his personality was quite different from Rakotohavana's, which was a challenge at first.
"When I first saw the role of Matteo, it didn't take me very long to realize that he's the complete opposite to myself," Rakotohavana said. "He is very anti-social. He's very quiet and awkward. He has a very unique personality, I think I can say. But I'm not that I think. I hope not. I enjoy social situations and getting to talk to people and Matteo just isn't that. Learning to be such an introverted character was really a challenge for me. I enjoyed every second of it and getting to play Matteo was a true blessing."
Matteo's introverted personality and struggle with being seen and appreciated by others is something many in high school and college can identity with, though it's a struggle that those of all ages encounter throughout their lives. That's why the character is so relatable, and Rakotohavana hopes the arc to someone more confident in themselves comes through in the finished product.
"I think one of the most important things for me to project in this character, was his wanting to be a part of something," Rakotohavana said. "He wanted to be a part of this group, but he just had some trouble speaking up sometimes. So I feel like the most important projection of mine in the film, was to convey the confident arc, that he gained throughout the film that he learns to control his powers. And I feel this will be a strong reflection for a lot of people in society, who want to fit in, but sometimes have a little trouble putting themselves out there and reaching out. And I think this is going to speak to them, because it will show them that all you got to do is, you've just got to take that step, you've just got to put yourself out there, then you can open up a lot of opportunities for yourself. If you don't, you're going to miss all the shots you don't take, so you've got to put yourself out there and hope for the best."
Matteo's ability differs a bit from the rest of the group in that he can essentially control insects, though as we learn throughout the movie, it actually ends up becoming one of the most useful powersets in the group. We had to ask what Faly felt when he found out his big power was going to be controlling insects, and his reaction mirrored his character.
"Yeah, exactly. That was exactly Matteo's reaction in the film. When he found out he controls bugs, there's the same reaction of just like, 'Wow, first superhero film and I get to control insects.' But I think the idea of it, just the story arc of gaining the confidence and it mirrors how well I can control my powers really spoke to me. So, the more I played into Matteo, the more excited I was about it. But, as you saw from this first film, this is only probably less than 10% of our powers," Rakotohavana teased. "We haven't really fully learned to control these yet. We don't know what other tricks Matteo may be hiding under his sleeve, so hopefully, if further movies are made, we could expand on that. We'll have to see, I guess."
There are quite a few stylish action sequences in the film, especially early on as the team is trying to figure out their powers, and these were Rakotohavana's favorite sequences to film, though he was happy that one particular sequence didn't make it to the finished film.
"A lot of my favorite scenes that we filmed, were definitely involved with stunts," Rakotohavana said. "There's just one thing in particular, an obstacle course scene, and in the scene, we had to jump over all these blocks and avoid these lasers. It was insane. It was madness, but at one point, I had to jump over this block and my foot clipped the block and I face-planted straight on the hard floor, and it was during the scene. So I don't think anybody saw it. I stood up as fast as I could, I recovered so fast. The pain of the face-planting didn't even kick in, until the director said, 'Cut.' Once he said, 'Cut,' then I was like, 'Ow.' But I tried to conceal it as much as I could. I think only one person saw it, well heard it, and I think it was the sound guy. He might've heard the impact of me falling, but hopefully, as far as I know, nobody else saw it. And people are only now knowing about it, because I've been coming out about the story, but hopefully nobody saw it, because that was really embarrassing."
"I was so nervous when I watched the film, because I was like, 'What if I see in the background, the part where I face-plant?' And I'm going to be the only person that knows it happened," Rakotohavana said with a laugh.
If we get to see a new chapter in the series, there are a few aspects of the character Rakotohavana would find interesting to explore.
"His backstory. I think we should explore all the characters' backstories," Rakotohavana said. "We didn't get to read much into their own personal origins, per se. We got origins as a society, as a secret group of ensemble superheroes, but we didn't get to see their own individual backgrounds. So hopefully, that's something we get to explore because that'd be really cool."
Because of those X-Men vibes, it felt only natural to ask about secondary mutations. Mutants in the Marvel universe develop secondary mutations over time, and they can either enhance or change their physical forms, original powers, or give them another ability altogether. So, if Matteo had a secondary mutation, what would it be?
"This is the most unique question I've got. Oh, wow. Secondary mutation power. Okay. Oh, man. Maybe, you know how Wolverine has the ability, he can sheathe and unsheathe his crazy claws or whatever, you know? And then with that, he also gets the ability to heal quickly, hyper healing or whatever. Maybe Matteo could have the ability to shapeshift into different insects," Rakotohavana said. "That would be kind of freaky. Kind of like the Beast Boy of Secret Society."0comments
With one particular scene in the film involving a bug that can send a message, having Matteo morph into a bug himself would open up all kinds of possibilities, so we definitely want to see that happen. Make it happen Disney!
While we wait for a second chapter in the series, the original Secret Society of Second-Born Royals is available to stream on Disney+ right now!