Jared Padalecki starred in 2002’s “A Ring of Endless Light,” an adaption of a novel of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle, alongside “The O.C.” star Mischa Barton. The plot of the film is pretty serious for a Disney Channel film as it tells the story of Vicky (Barton) who bonds with the dolphins she has been researching while her grandfather is dying from leukemia. A young Padalecki plays the privileged Zachery Gray in the movie, one of Vicky’s friends. Unlike other Disney Channel hits such as “The Cheetah Girls” and “Descendants,” “A Ring of Endless Light” didn’t have much of a cultural impact. The film only has 56% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and very few critic reviews.
Reception aside, the film came at an early time in Padalecki’s career, long before his “Supernatural” fame as one of the Winchester brothers. However, the film did release while Padalecki was playing his breakout role as Dean Forester on “Gilmore Girls.” Furthermore, Padalecki was not the only young, soon-to-be star in “A Ring of Endless Light.” Ryan Merriman of “Pretty Little Liars” and “Final Destination 3” fame was the co-lead in the film, playing Adam. So, while “A Ring of Endless Light” may not be the most recognizable Disney Channel movie, it stayed true to the Disney tradition of recognizing talent at a young age and casting future stars.