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Maleficent as she appears in Disney's Sleeping Beauty
|First appearance||Sleeping Beauty (1959)|
|Created by||Marc Davis|
|Portrayed by||Kristin Bauer van Straten (Once Upon a Time)
Angelina Jolie (upcoming film)
|Voiced by||Eleanor Audley (Sleeping Beauty)
Lois Nettleton (House of Mouse)
Susanne Blakeslee (Kingdom Hearts series, Platinum Edition Trailer)
|Aliases||Mistress of all Evil, Embodiment of Evil|
Maleficent (pronounced /məˈlɛfɪsənt/) is a fictional character and the main antagonist in Walt Disney's 1959 film Sleeping Beauty. She is the self-proclaimed "Mistress of All Evil" who, after not being invited to a royal christening, curses the infant Princess Aurora to "prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die" before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday. The character is Disney's adaptation of the wicked fairy godmother from the original French fairy tale.
Maleficent is often viewed as the most powerful and sinister of the Disney Villains, frequently acting as their leader in many crossovers, and her scenes in the climax of the film are among the darkest and most intense produced by Disney. In Ultimate Disney's top 30 Disney Villains countdown, Maleficent ranked #1. She also plays a major role in the Kingdom Hearts series, as a recurring villain.
The character was animated by Marc Davis. The wicked fairy was aptly named "Maleficent" (an adjective which means "doing evil or harm"). It also has the appearance of being a portmanteau of malevolent and magnificent. In determining Maleficent's design, standard depictions of witches and hags were dismissed as Mattinson's opted for an elegant, sinister, green-skinned beauty centered around the appearance of flames, ultimately crowning the villain with a black two pointed headdress, often called an atora." According to Mattinson, Maleficent "was designed like a giant vampire bat to create a feeling of menace." In the end the individual character of the three good fairies and the elegant villain proved to be among the film's strongest points.
She was voiced by Eleanor Audley, who had previously performed Lady Tremaine, the wicked stepmother with gray hair in Cinderella. Audley also provided some live-action recording for both of these characters, to inspire the animators. Dancer Jane Fowler also 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's dragon form 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.
Sleeping Beauty 
Maleficent first appears in the film Sleeping Beauty in King Stefan's castle by means of supernatural teleportation during the christening of Stefan's daughter, Aurora. Her appearance is preceded by a gust of wind and accompanied by a streak of lightning and her signature green flames. She is outwardly courteous but implies she is offended that she did not receive an invitation to the ceremony like the other fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. When she asks the king and queen why she was not invited, Merryweather speaks up and tells Maleficent that she was "not wanted". Shocked (or more likely, pretending to be shocked), she turns to leave this "awkward situation", giving the king and queen one last chance to make up for not inviting her, but the queen asks her if she was offended by this, Maleficent denies it, and offers to give a "gift" to Aurora to prove she "bears no ill will". Maleficent then says that Aurora will grow in grace and beauty and be "beloved by all who know her" as well, but to punish the king and queen for their insolence, places a curse on Aurora, so that before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, Aurora will "prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die!" Merryweather, who still has a gift she can use, weakens the curse so that Aurora will fall into a deep sleep instead, with only a kiss from her true love to awaken her.
The three fairies hide Aurora until her sixteenth birthday passes while an angry Maleficent realizes her instructions to her goblin minions were wasted for most of the sixteen years as the goblins focused on searching for a baby the whole time. Maleficent then blasts lightning at them in her fury and then instructs her raven familiar Diablo to hunt down the now adolescent Aurora. Once he succeeds, Maleficent visits Aurora on the evening of her sixteenth birthday in a form of a will-o'-the-wisp, hypnotizing Aurora before luring her to a remote tower and transforming into a spinning wheel where she pricks her finger to fulfill the curse.
To ensure Aurora would not be immediately awakened, Maleficent and her goons trap Prince Phillip, Aurora's true love, and take him to Maleficent's castle in the Forbidden Mountains. She taunts Phillip before she retreats to her own tower, explaining that she intends to leave him in her dungeon for 100 years, and then free him (if he is still alive then) on his way to awaken his true love after he has aged and she has not. She leaves satisfied, saying, "For the first time in sixteen years, I shall sleep well." After Maleficent leaves, the fairies then free Prince Phillip of his chains and they escape the dungeon, fending off repeated attacks from Maleficent's minions which are thwarted by the fairies' magic. Merryweather turns Diablo into stone as well. Maleficent soon discovers that the Prince has escaped from her dungeon, and is even more furious to see Diablo's fate. She ascends to the top of her highest tower of the castle. She summons lightning bolts and spells at Phillip to hinder him, including a "forest of thorns", which Phillip is able to overcome, before personally dealing with him by transporting herself in front of King Stephan’s' castle, blocking his entry. She then tells him that he shall have to fight her, and "all the powers of Hell" and transforms into a huge dark dragon. Though she overwhelms him, and it looks like Phillip is about to meet his death, the three fairies transfer some of their power to Phillip's sword as he throws the weapon into her heart, fatally wounding her. As she falls forward, she attempts to devour him, but misses. Her heavy weight collapses a cliff beneath her, and she falls to her death. All that's left is her shredded robe, with the sword still embedded in it as it blackens.
Kingdom Hearts 
Maleficent (マレフィセント Marefisento ) appears as a major character and antagonist in the Kingdom Hearts video game series. She is voiced by Susan 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.
Kingdom Hearts 
The start of the original Kingdom Hearts, Maleficent has gained control of the Heartless, creatures born from hearts taken by the darkness, and used them to bring about the destruction of countless worlds, including her own world. Leading a group of other Disney villains and using the ruins of Hollow Bastion as a base of operations, Maleficent seeks out the seven Princesses of Heart to open the door to Kingdom Hearts, having already captured Princess Aurora.
Until the appearance of Xehanort's Heartless, "Ansem", she is built up to be the main antagonist, recruiting Riku to her side by offering him the means to save Kairi after she lost her heart while also manipulating him into believing that, since gaining the Keyblade, Sora stopped caring for him and Kairi and replaced them with Donald Duck and Goofy. After Maleficent is defeated by Sora, Donald, Goofy and the Beast, Riku, possessed by "Ansem", unlocks the darkness in Maleficent's heart with the Keyblade of People's Hearts. This gives her more power, and she turns into her dragon form. Despite her increase in power, however, Maleficent is defeated again and fades to darkness, leaving nothing but her robe, with "Ansem" commenting at how she ironically failed to notice the darkness eating away at her own heart.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories 
Despite her death, Maleficent reappears in the midquel Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a figment of the memories of Sora and Riku in Castle Oblivion, appearing before the two of them in their own storylines. In Sora's story, Maleficent kidnaps Belle and uses her as bait for the Beast, hoping their romance will let Belle's pure heart flourish so that she may use it for her own evil purposes, though her plans are foiled by Sora and she is destroyed. In Riku's story, she serves as a token of the darkness in his heart and goads him into succumbing to the darkness again, but Riku also destroys her in his attempt to rid himself of the darkness. The version Riku encounters DOES know that she's a fake, much like the Aerith from Sora's version of Traverse Town.
Kingdom Hearts II 
Maleficent is resurrected a year later in Kingdom Hearts II when her raven, Diablo, takes the remains of her robe to Yen Sid's Mysterious Tower to use the memories of Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. She is later reunited with her lackey, Pete, who was absent from the first game due to his traveling worlds in order to create a powerful Heartless army for her. Putting her plans to obtain Kingdom Hearts on hold, Maleficent seeks a new base of operations so she can resume her intent, along with getting her revenge on Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Her plans in the game include attempting to take over the Disney Castle of the past, bribing the YRP fairies into spying on Leon's group, and sending Pete to different worlds so he could recruit old and new allies. Eventually, she reluctantly joins forces with Sora so they can stop Organization XIII before they can get Kingdom Hearts' power instead of her, saving Sora from Saïx by teleporting him to the Gummi Ship. She is last seen in the Organization's castle together with Pete, holding the Heartless at bay for Sora so he may defeat the Organization's leader Xemnas, intending to take the Organization's castle as payment, although the castle is destroyed before they can claim it.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep 
In the series prequel, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, taking place years before the main series storyline, Maleficent encounters Terra, Aqua and Ventus when they come to her home world, Enchanted Dominion. Much like in the film, Maleficent cursed Aurora when she was infant and works to bring it to fruition.
Before any of the three protagonists arrive in the Enchanted Dominion, the game's main antagonist, Master Xehanort, tells Maleficent of the Seven Princesses of Heart, one of which happens to be Aurora. As a fail-safe in case his own plans fail, Master Xehanort tells her to gather the Seven Princesses, then departs. The first of the protagonists to encounter Maleficent is Terra, whom she hypnotizes into extracting Aurora's heart from her body with his Keyblade, an act that would haunt Terra for the rest of the game. Maleficent also sets up an ambush for Aurora's love, Prince Phillip, to ensure that Aurora never awakens. Guided by the three fairies, Ventus breaks into Maleficent's lair and releases the heart, sending it back to Aurora's body. Maleficent catches Ventus and the two fight, with Ventus only barely winning as Aqua arrives. Maleficent informs them that Terra was the one who stole the heart while offering them to join her cause, but they flatly refuse as Ventus immediately leaves to track Terra down while Aqua ends up in Maleficent's dungeon where she finds Phillip. Aqua and Phillip break out of the dungeon and rush back to Aurora's castle to awaken her. Maleficent gives chase and assumes her dragon form to battle the two until Phillip throws his sword straight into Maleficent's chest, severely weakening her and reverting her to her normal form. As Phillip awakens Aurora, Maleficent decides to leave her world to start her own scheme to find the Princesses of Heart. To that end, Maleficent makes a detour to Disney Town to free Pete and take him as the first of her followers.
Kingdom Hearts coded 
In Kingdom Hearts coded, Maleficent, following the destruction of the Castle that Never Was and the disappearance of the Heartless, is left without a base of operations or army. Still scheming, she sends Pete to Disney Castle to spy on King Mickey and hopefully help find her a way to take over, but Pete is sucked into the datascape along with Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Jiminy Cricket. Intrigued by the selection of worlds and presence of Heartless inside the datascape, Pete summons Maleficent, who is unaware that the datascape is actually an artificial realm created from the digitized contents of Jiminy Cricket's journal. Happy that Pete might have done something right for once, Maleficent searched through the Datascape, disconnecting the way out for Mickey's group. When Data-Jafar fails to plunge Agrabah into darkness, Maleficent appears before the journal's incarantion of Sora called "Data-Sora". Most likely because she doesn't understand technology, Maleficent mistakes Data-Sora for his genuine counterpart, despite Data-Sora appearing younger than the real Sora did in their last meeting.
Maleficent destroys Data-Sora's first Keyblade before siccing Heartless on him; however, Mickey and Riku stop her. After revealing how she got inside the Datascape, Maleficent captures Riku, (no doubt mistaking him for his counterpart as well) and has Pete infest him with bugs to control him, unaware doing so may destroy all the journal's data stored inside Data-Riku. After fixing Data-Riku, Data-Sora confronts her in the data Hollow Bastion in her dragon form and drives her away. She later battles the digitized incarnation of Sora's Heartless before she and Pete are seemingly erased as Data-Sora tries to save them, but following the battle, they are rescued through a "rift in the data" by Data-Riku and safely escorted back to the real world.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance 
Maleficent (as speculated by Yen Sid) sensed a change in the darkness, which was being caused by Master Xehanort's impending revival. Learning King Mickey, Donald and Goofy were away, Maleficent wasted no time in heading to Disney Castle and kidnapping Queen Minnie. She sent Diablo to the Mysterious Tower with a message and Minnie's crown. Maleficent confronted Mickey, saying she wanted his world for herself. However, Mickey quickly pointed out she was lying, making Maleficent reveal her past meeting with Master Xehanort and how he was the one who told her of other worlds and of the Princesses of Heart. Maleficent demanded the Datascape in return for Minnie; however, she remained silent about what she was planning to use it for. When Mickey refused, Maleficent tried killing him; however, Lea's arrival caused Maleficent to lose her hostage and thus her bargaining chip. Maleficent left, promising to return for the Datascape.
Maleficent is later mentioned by Master Xehanort and King Mickey; she had simply been used by Master Xehanort to gather the Princesses of Heart for his plans. This would explain why Ansem, Seeker of Darkness unlocked her heart in Kingdom Hearts; Maleficent was no longer of any use to Master Xehanort for his plans.
Other appearances 
Disney's House of Mouse 
Maleficent is a recurring character on the TV series House of Mouse. In "Max's Embarrassing Date" (Episode 21), Maleficent sits across from Jafar in human form, and it was stated by Mickey that the two villains were on a date, after which Maleficent zapped Jafar. In "Halloween with Hades" (Episode 54) Mickey had to help Hades win Maleficent's heart after she turns him down. She also appeared in the spin-off movie, Mickey's House of Villains where she was constantly shown hanging around with Chernabog in her dragon form, hinting another possible relationship. During the Villain's song, "Our House Now", Chernabog wrapped an arm around her dragon form and remarked clearly, "Love your work!"
In the night-time show Fantasmic!, performed at the Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios theme parks, Maleficent is one of the Disney Villains portrayed in the shows. In the shows, Maleficent is the true antagonist along with the Evil Queen and they decide it is time to finish off Mickey Mouse once and for all, and invokes Disney villains to help her. They strike Mickey through his dreams and imagination, and Maleficent is the final villain to attack Mickey - the battle between Maleficent's European dragon incarnation and Mickey serves as the climax to the show. It is to be noted that Maleficent cries out before becoming the dragon: "Now you will deal with me, and all the powers of my imagination!", whereas, in the original film, she proclaimed "Now shall you deal with me, O Prince, and all the powers of Hell!"
Kingdom Keepers 
In the book series by Ridley Pearson, Kingdom Keepers, Maleficent appears as one of the first Overtakers the protagonists encounter as she intends to leave the confines of Disney World to take over the world. She recruits Jez with a spell due to the girl's abilities as a fairlie (almost like a fairy) could reveal her plans. She breaks the seal to revive Chernabog as they escape in an ice truck to Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is said that the temperature goes down when she is around. Later, in the forth book, she and Chernabog are captured and put in a hidden prison in Animal Kingdom, and during a blackout, the Evil Queen and Cruella De Vil (in this book, Cruella is Maleficent's servant; however, she is shown later to be an evil villainess herself) make DHI's and rescue them.
Dream Along With Mickey 
In the Dream Along With Mickey stage show at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Maleficent is one of the villains who appear onstage to threaten Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. Maleficent states that since people no longer believe in dreams, it is the perfect time for her to return to power and make the Magic Kingdom "The Place Where Nightmares Come True" - a play on the Disney parks' slogan of "The Place Where Dreams Come True." But Mickey leads the crowd in a chant of "Dreams Come True!" and scares away Maleficent's minions, Captain Hook and Smee, as well as defeating Maleficent herself.
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 
Maleficent also makes appearances during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Walt Disney World Resort. She makes an appearance through her voice in HalloWishes, a Halloween-themed fireworks show along with Ursula, Jafar, and Oogie Boogie. Susan Blakeslee provides Maleficent's voice in those cases.
During the Disney Villains Mix and Mingle Halloween Dance Party at that same event, Maleficent hosts the party and summons up all the villains that attend, including her co-host Captain Hook and other villains, such as Cruella De Vil, The Queen of Hearts, Jafar, and the Evil Queen.
Walt Disney's World on Ice 
Maleficent appears in the new version of the show Disneyland Adventure (replacing The Incredibles villain Syndrome). When she terrorizes the resort, she puts the entire kingdom to sleep, and puts Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck into Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. She later took over It's a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean, but The Incredibles managed to defeat her, though she vowed for revenge.
Disney Divas 
Maleficent is part of the "Disney Divas" line-up, a sub-franchise of the main Disney Villains franchise. Maleficent is the last "diva" to appear in the event at Disneyland, just as the Evil Queen and Cruella de Vil are complaining on Madam Mim's behavior. Next, Maleficent sings "That Old Black Magic" alone and later "We're Divas" along with the whole cast of the show.
Mickey Mousecapade 
World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck 
Maleficent's theme (Pas de caractère – Le Chat botté et la Chatte blanche) is heard during the intro of World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. At the end of the intro, the villainous cloaked sorcerer is shown.
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion 
The evil witch Mizrabel takes the appearance of Maleficent in Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. When Mickey fights Mizrabel, she transforms into Maleficent's dragon form to fight him.
Once Upon a Time 
Maleficent plays a role in the storylines for the 2011 American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, in which she is a sinister rival of the series' primary nemesis, the Evil Queen from Snow White. Maleficent is played by Kristin Bauer van Straten.
She appears in a flashback in episode 2 of the first season, "The Thing You Love Most". She is visited by the Evil Queen, Regina, who seeks to retrieve the Dark Curse that she gave to Maleficent in exchange for the Sleeping Curse she inflicted on Snow White. In this continuity, Maleficent has moved on from the incident with Princess Aurora and spends her days in a remote castle with a small black unicorn pony rather than her trademark raven from the Disney film. She wears purple in varying tones and still carries her trademark staff. The two women battle but Regina wins, breaks the staff open, and takes the Dark Curse despite a warning from Maleficent that the curse will leave a hole in her soul. When Maleficent challenges Regina to kill her, Regina states she won't because Maleficent is her only friend.
Maleficent appears in her dragon-form in the Season 1 finale, "A Land Without Magic", imprisoned by Regina in a series of mining tunnels in Storybrooke. She is slain by Emma Swan in order to retrieve a vial of "true love" magic that was placed in Maleficent's dragon form in the magical world. This vial was placed into her dragon form by Prince Charming, Emma's father, in the fairytale world at the behest of Rumpelstiltskin before the Evil Queen cast the Dark Curse.
In the second season, Maleficent is once again absent, although she is mentioned in the season premiere, "Broken", which begins with Princess Aurora being rescued from her sleeping curse by Prince Phillip and his traveling companion Mulan. Maleficent is mentioned again in the eleventh episode of the season, "The Outsider", where Belle is revealed in flashbacks to have broken a curse Maleficent put on Phillip that transformed him into a Yaoguai, leading to him meeting Mulan. Finally, Maleficent makes her first on-screen appearance of the season in "Evil Queen", some point after being restored to a ghostly form by a spell cast on her by Regina, which ensured she would always guard the lairs underneath Storybrooke. In this way, Maleficent battled Captain Hook, but he somehow managed to escape her and confront Regina about how he was left for dead.
Live-action film 
On May 12, 2009, it was revealed that Brad Bird was developing a live-action motion picture based on Sleeping Beauty, retold from the point of view of Maleficent with Angelina Jolie starring as Maleficent. In January 2010, it was rumored that Tim Burton was to direct the film. Reports surfaced online in May 2011 stating that Burton had left the project to focus on his other upcoming projects; Disney began to look for a replacement director, with David Yates being cited as a potential candidate due to his experience with the fantasy genre, having directed the final four Harry Potter films. Linda Woolverton, who previously collaborated with Tim Burton on Alice in Wonderland, is writing the script for the movie.[not in citation given] Angelina Jolie has confirmed that she will play the role. On January 6, 2012, Disney announced that Robert Stromberg, the Academy-Award winning production designer for Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, will direct the film.
Sharlto Copley was recently named as the male lead for Stromberg's live action retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale. Heat Vision also reports that Imelda Staunton and Miranda Richardson have been cast for the film, along with Kenneth Cranham, Sam Riley, and Lesley Manville.
According to the Hollywood Reporter's blog article, Staunton and Manville will be playing the characters of Knotgrass and Flittle, respectively, "two of the three pixies that end up taking care of Aurora." Heat Vision's report confirms that Super 8 starlet Elle Fanning will play the role of the aforementioned Princess. In the role of Queen Ulla, Richardson will be acting as "a Fairy Queen who is Maleficent’s aunt with a dislike of her niece." Meanwhile Cranham will play the human king who plots to conquer the fairy kingdom, and Riley will portray Diaval, "a raven who changes into human form and is Maleficent’s right hand." The source also mentions Copley’s gig in the lead of Stefan, describing his role as "the half-human, half-fairy bastard son of the human king."
Guillermo del Toro has stated that along with Vermithrax in Dragonslayer, Maleficent is his favorite cinematic dragon. In Ultimate Disney's top 30 Disney Villains countdown, Maleficent ranked #1, with some of the reviewers describing her as "Disney's reigning villainess" or "a true Disney villain". Voice actress Eleanor Audley and supervising animator Marc Davis were also praised for their work on the character.
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- "Dictionary.com". 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
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- "Tim Burton Won’t Direct Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Starring Angelina Jolie, David Yates Could Replace"
- "Tim Burton Bails On The Angelina Jolie Maleficent Movie; Could David Yates Replace Him?"
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- Angelina Jolie on 'Maleficent,' crying her eyes out in Sarajevo, and her Oscar leg pop -- EXCLUSIVE Q&A
- Angelina Jolie Inspired By Directing Her First Film; Felt 'Disheartened' With Acting
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- An Unexpected Party Chat transcript now available! from Weta Holics
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- The movie Walt Disney World Resort - Dream-Along With Mickey