In a scene from the series Renegade Nell, Nell (Louisa Harland) is standing in front of a gold carriage in the middle of the woods. She’s wearing a pirate-style black hat, a white shirt, red pants, brown pirate boots, and a mustard-colored coat. She holds a pistol in her right hand.

Behind the Scenes of Renegade Nell: A World of Magic, Intrigue, and Adventure

By Cecilia Sarantopoulos

Enter the world of Nell Jackson, but be warned: she’s not one to trifle with. In Disney+’s latest original series, Renegade Nell, we follow the witty and courageous Nell (Louisa Harland) as she navigates the treacherous landscape of 18th century England. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, Nell becomes the county’s most sought-after outlaw, with danger lurking around every corner.

In this perilous premise, magic unexpectedly emerges as Nell’s ally in the form of a fairy-like spirit called Billy Blind (Nick Mohammed), who can grant Nell extraordinary strength. With that advantage—and joined by her younger sisters Roxy (Bo Bragason) and George (Florence Keen)—Nell is determined to combat the nefarious schemes orchestrated by Robert Hennessey, the Earl of Poynton (Adrian Lester), a sinister political figure who wants to thwart her at any cost.

In a scene from the series Renegade Nell, Robert Hennessey, the Earl of Poynton (Adrian Lester) is wearing a brown powdered wig and looking to his left. He’s also wearing a black steampunk-style jacket with gold details and a white point collar dress shirt.

Lester couldn’t resist the mix of magic, political intrigue, and highway robbery within Renegade Nell’s script—as well as the opportunity to engage in exhilarating fight sequences while wearing some … unique costuming. “You may think you’ve perfected a fight sequence during rehearsal,” the actor tells D23. “But then you find yourself in a field at 2 o’clock in the morning in November, with freezing temperatures and literal frost on the ground—all while wearing heels and tights!”

The Earl of Poynton employs every ounce of his power to destroy the seemingly undefeatable heroine—and gets help in his quest from Sofia Wilmot (Alice Kremelberg), an ambitious widow who also wants to take Nell down. “Sofia is so complex and kind of a slow burn,” Kremelberg says. “She starts off pretty moral but then takes a bit of a dive.” Behind the scenes of their characters’ villainous schemes, Kremelberg worked with real animals and played with fire—literally. “Filming those [magic] scenes was so much fun,” she admits.

Rounding up the antagonistic trio is Sofia’s brother, Thomas Blancheford (Jake Dunn)—heir to the local “toff,” the landowning aristocrat. Thomas often wreaks havoc and imposes classist tyranny onto tenants, embodying the epitome of entitlement and privilege. “There was so much to unravel while playing Thomas, from his family’s stifled dynamic to the presence of dark magic,” explains Dunn.

In a scene from the series Renegade Nell, Charles Devereux (Frank Dillane) is wearing a brown powdered wig, a gold steampunk-style jacket, and a white point collar dress shirt. He is holding a white teacup and plate. In the background is a vibrant painting of a forest and a boar, and to Devereux’s right are flowers.

As Nell and her allies fend off various enemies, they’re also navigating a treacherous landscape of power and privilege, where justice hangs in the balance. Helping Nell on her journey is Charles Devereux (Frank Dillane), a charismatic highwayman, and the Blanchefords’ steadfast stable boy, Ressalas (Enyi Okoronkwo). Devereux often infuses the series with humor and wit: “I was particularly drawn to the more bombastic, comedic aspects of the show. I’m a huge fan of slapstick humor,” Dillane says.

Tough, self-reliant, but definitely not looking for love—joining the Queen’s army seems far more appealing—“Nell shares many qualities with our favorite Disney heroines,” says Ben Taylor, director of the series’ first two episodes. Taylor emphasizes Nell’s “strong heart and moral code” as reminiscent of classic Disney Princesses.

In a scene from the series Renegade Nell, Roxy Jackson (Bo Bragason), George Jackson (Florence Keen), and Nell Jackson (Louisa Harland) are sitting on a carriage. Roxy is wearing a checkered dress with floral patterns and a beige coat with fur trims; George is wearing a black hat, round glasses, a looser-cut coat with patterns, an open-necked white shirt, brown pants that reach her knees, and beige socks; Nell is wearing a pirate-style black hat, a white shirt, red pants, brown pirate boots, a brown belt, and a red and blue Regency tailcoat. She is also holding the reins of the carriage.

Taylor also drew creative inspiration from the iconic Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. “In the initial stages of conceptualizing the show’s design and embracing the swashbuckling essence, the influence of the Pirates of the Caribbean was definitely present,” he tells D23.

As the series gears up for its debut, anticipation is at an all-time high. With its compelling storytelling, dynamic characters, and enchanting world-building, Renegade Nell promises to be a must-watch for all Disney fans.