Maleficent (// or //) is a fictional character who appears in Walt Disney Productions' 16th animated feature film, Sleeping Beauty (1959). She is an evil fairy and the self-proclaimed "Mistress of All Evil" who, after not being invited to a christening, curses the infant Princess Aurora to "prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die" before the sun sets on Aurora's sixteenth birthday.
|Sleeping Beauty character|
Maleficent as she appears in Disney's Sleeping Beauty
|First appearance||Sleeping Beauty (1959)|
|Created by||Marc Davis|
|Based on||The evil fairy from the Charles Perrault's fairy tale|
|Title||Mistress of All Evil|
Maleficent is based on the evil fairy godmother character in Charles Perrault's fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, as well as the villainess who appears in the Brothers Grimm's retelling of the story, Little Briar Rose. Maleficent was animated by Marc Davis.
She is voiced by Eleanor Audley, who earlier voiced Lady Tremaine, Cinderella's evil stepmother, in Cinderella (1950). She serves as a recurring antagonist in Disney's House of Mouse, voiced by Lois Nettleton, and in the Kingdom Hearts video game series, voiced by Susanne Blakeslee. She was also an antagonist in the Disney Channel movie Descendants, portrayed by Kristin Chenoweth.
A revision of the character appeared as the protagonist in the 2014 live-action film Maleficent, portrayed by Angelina Jolie, who reprised the role in the sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which was released on October 18, 2019. This version of Maleficent is portrayed as a sympathetic character, who is misunderstood in trying to protect herself and her domain from humans.
The character was animated by Marc Davis. The wicked sorceress or horned witch was aptly named "Maleficent" (an adjective which means "doing evil or harm"). In determining Maleficent's design, standard depictions of witches and hags were dismissed as Mattinson's opted for an elegant, sinister, green-skinned beauty, depicted as "vain femme fatale, utilizing a classic archetype of a bad woman." According to Mattinson, Maleficent "was designed like a giant vampire bat to create a feeling of menace."
She was voiced by Eleanor Audley, who had previously performed Lady Tremaine, Cinderella's evil stepmother, in Cinderella. Audley also provided some live-action recording for both of these characters, to inspire the animators. In addition, dancer Jane Fowler performed some live-action reference for Maleficent. Animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, in their book The Disney Villain, describe animating Audley's voice as "a difficult assignment but a thrilling one, working to that voice track with so much innuendo mixed in with the fierce power."
Maleficent transforms into a dragon in the original film, which was animated by Eric Cleworth, who said that the dragon was modeled on a rattlesnake, with "powerful muscles moving a bulky body over the rocky terrain." Sound effects man Jim Macdonald searched for the sound of a dragon's fiery breath by asking the U.S. Army to send him some training films on flame throwing. These films provided just the right sound for him.
In the animated film, Maleficent arrives at King Stefan and Queen Leah's castle during the christening of their newborn daughter, the Princess Aurora. She expresses displeasure about not receiving an invitation, to which one of the good fairies Merryweather replies that she was unwanted. Angered, she prepares to leave. Queen Leah asks her if she is offended, causing Maleficent to deny her rage, and subsequently offers to bestow a "gift" on Aurora to show that she "bears no ill will". Maleficent confirms that Aurora will grow in grace and beauty, "beloved by all who know her", but as revenge for not being invited, she places a curse on Aurora so that before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. Laughing, her presence leaves, with the Royal Guards unable to seize her. Merryweather, who still has a gift to bestow, is unable to dispel Maleficent's power, but is able to weaken the curse so that Aurora will fall into a deep sleep instead, with only a kiss from her true love needed to awaken her.
Later, at her castle in the Forbidden Mountains, a frustrated Maleficent asks her bestial army why they have been unable to find Aurora, who had been hidden and brought up by the three good fairies. Maleficent learns that they have focused on searching for a baby the entire time, even though years have passed. She flies into a destructive rage, and soon desperately instructs her pet raven, Diablo, to find Aurora. The bird manages to succeed due to a magical quarrel between two of the fairies, which exposes their location.
On the evening of Aurora's sixteenth birthday, after the three fairies have momentarily left the depressed princess alone, Maleficent visits Aurora in the form of a will-o-the-wisp, luring the princess to a room where Maleficent transforms into a spinning wheel. Aurora pricks her finger on the spindle, fulfilling the curse.
Later on, Maleficent and her goons capture Prince Phillip, Aurora's true love, and imprison him. Maleficent then rests well, thinking she has triumphed.
Maleficent later wakes up and, by seeing that Diablo has been turned to stone, discovers that the fairies have freed Philip from her dungeon. She climbs to the top of one of her castle's towers and proceeds to blast Philip with lightning, and after the good fairies foil these attempts, she summons a forest of thorns, through which Philip slices his way out. Enraged, she blows away and confronts him in front of King Stefan's castle, and transforms into a huge dark dragon. The three fairies cast an enhancing enchantment on Phillip's Sword of Truth, which he throws into Maleficent's heart, mortally wounding her before she falls off the crumbling cliff to her death.
The 2014 live action reimagining presents Maleficent as a good-hearted but tragic fairy who protects the Moors, a realm of supernatural beings, from the neighboring human kingdom. She is played by Angelina Jolie.
Prior to sporting her iconic black attire, Maleficent had a pair of feathery fairy wings, wore a brown dress, and was always barefoot with an anklet on her left ankle. After healing a tree, Maleficent befriends and falls in love with a young peasant boy named Stefan, upon being alerted to his presence by Knotgrass, Thistletwit and Flittle, a trio of pixies.
As an adult, Maleficent grows apart from and is betrayed by Stefan, who uses iron to burn off her wings so that he can ascend the throne of the human kingdom, as per a bounty declared by the dying King Henry, who bore a grudge against her. Taking a raven named Diaval as a servant, a now hate-filled Maleficent names herself ruler of the Moors and her outfit changes to a darker one. When she learns that Stefan is now king and has had a newborn daughter named Aurora (Elle Fanning) with his wife Queen Leila, Maleficent acts on the notion that true love is nonexistent by casting her curse on the newborn Aurora, which she makes to only be broken by the kiss of true love, as revenge on Stefan. Because the three pixies that were assigned to look after Aurora proved to be incompetent, however, Maleficent cares for and saves the child from afar in order to ensure that her curse is completed, only to eventually develop a maternal affection for her. That love proves essential for a repentant Maleficent to undo her own curse when she kisses Aurora on the forehead. After waking from her sleep, Aurora helps restore Maleficent's wings to her when Stefan attempts to kill Maleficent, allowing her to defeat Stefan.
Soon after Stefan's death and Aurora's ascension, Maleficent crowns Aurora as the ruler of the Moors to unite their kingdoms forever under one throne.
Jolie reprised the role in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, in which Maleficent's relationship with Aurora was tested. Other fairies of her species appeared, led by Chiwetel Ejiofor's Connal. In the course of the film, Prince Philip's mother attempts to provoke a war between the humans and the fairies by creating the impression that Maleficent has cast another curse on the king, forcing Maleficent to flee the kingdom only to be rescued by others of her kind. During this time, Maleficent's species is identified as 'Dark Fae', although Maleficent's powers are unique to her due to her being the latest incarnation of the powerful Phoenix. The queen nearly destroys the fairies after devising a dust that will turn all fairies exposed to it into plants and luring them into a church for Aurora's wedding, but during the Dark Fae's attack on the kingdom, Aurora learns the truth and is able to convince both sides to stand down, Philip appealing to his own soldiers while Aurora confronts Maleficent. After asserting that she still regards Maleficent as her mother, Aurora is knocked off a tower by the queen, but Maleficent is able to save Aurora, ending the conflict when she breaks the curse on the King and turns the Queen into a goat. With peace restored, Maleficent walks Aurora down the aisle for her wedding to Philip, and later assures Aurora that she will return when their first child is born.
Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy
Maleficent is the protagonist in Serena Valentino's Disney Villains book franchise.
Maleficent was featured in the book sequel to Sleeping Beauty called Maleficent's Revenge.
Maleficent appears as a major character in the Kingdom Hearts video game series, voiced by Susanne Blakeslee in the English versions and Toshiko Sawada in the Japanese versions. She has appeared in every game in the series except for Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, being one of the series' key antagonists alongside Xehanort with Pete acting as her second-in-command.
Disney's House of Mouse
Maleficent is a recurring character in the TV series Disney's House of Mouse, voiced by Lois Nettleton. She also appeared as a villain in the film Mickey's House of Villains. In the episode "Halloween With Hades", Hades falls in love with her.
Once Upon a Time
Maleficent is a playable character in the Disney Infinity video games series, voiced by Rajia Baroudi and sporting her modified appearance from the live-action Angelina Jolie film. As with the other playable characters in the game, a tie-in figure for Maleficent was also released.
The original version of Maleficent has been called as "one of the most sinister Disney Villains". She is generally described as an "evil, cold hearted fairy who can curse an innocent baby just because she is not invited to the christening ceremony." Guillermo del Toro has stated that along with Vermithrax in Dragonslayer, Maleficent is his favorite cinematic, Disney dragon. Voice actress Eleanor Audley and supervising animator Marc Davis were also praised for their work on the character. In 2016, The Frisky described Maleficent and the Evil Queen as "two of the best-realized female villains in movie history."
Maleficent's live action version from the film series of the same name has received critical attention, different from its original, animated counterpart. Benjamin Justice describes this version of Maleficent as "a full person, good and evil, powerful and vulnerable, vengeful and loving" and notes that, while she and Aurora value heterosexual relationships and love, neither of them "let the idea of [one true love] define the arc of the personal or public lives." When analyzing Maleficent's disability after she loses her wings due to Stephan's betrayal, Colleen Elaine Donnelly compares her role to that of Elphaba in Wicked, explaining that in both cases, the story "intends to reform the stereotype of the evil witch by providing a backstory."
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- Good Morning America [@GMA] (March 6, 2019). ""Maleficent: Mistress of Evil," the sequel to Disney's "Maleficent," will be released nationwide October 18, 2019. gma.abc/2HNA1Wz Take a look at the new teaser poster!" (Tweet). Retrieved March 6, 2019 – via Twitter.
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- Donnelly, Colleen Elaine (December 26, 2016). "Re-visioning Negative Archetypes of Disability and Deformity in Fantasy: Wicked, Maleficent, and Game of Thrones". Disability Studies Quarterly. 36 (4). Retrieved August 29, 2019.
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- Üner, Ayşe Melda (July 20, 2017). "Intertextual transformation of a fairy tale from Sleeping Beauty to Maleficent" (PDF). Balıkesir University The Journal of Social Sciences Institute. 20 (38): 371–382. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
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- The Frisky (January 29, 2016). "Linguists Have Nailed The Exact Problem With Disney's Princess Movies". The Frisky. Archived from the original on April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
- Justice, Benjamin (September 1, 2014). "Maleficent Reborn: Disney's Fairytale View of Gender Reaches Puberty". Social Education. 78 (4): 194–198. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
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