If after seeing both Aladdin and The Lion King at Cineworld this summer, there’s still space in your heart for another live-action Disney adventure, have no fear. Because the sequel to 2014’s Maleficent, titled Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, arrives later this year.
Even though we’re only five months away, the first teaser has only recently dropped so we’ve been lacking in sneak peeks for this highly anticipated fairy-tale sequel. So we’re here to get you up to speed with everything we know so far about the movie.
It’s not a live-action remake
At least, it's not a traditional ‘live-action Disney remake’. Whether you’re a fan of Disney’s new trend of remaking classic animated films into live-action or not, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil doesn’t quite qualify for this category.
While Maleficent itself was inspired by the 1959 Disney Princess classic Sleeping Beauty, telling the origin story of Princess Aurora's cackling nemesis, Mistress of Evil is not based on any previous Disney films. Therefore, we don’t know what to expect as it’s not retelling anything we’ve seen before.
The official synopsis from Disney is as follows: "A fantasy adventure that picks up several years after Maleficent, in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney’s most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora, Maleficent II continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen, as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within."
Although not much is given away, it is worth noting that this sequel is set long after the original events of Maleficent. So we can assume everything has been going well in the kingdom now that Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) and Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) are friends, as the Princess prepares to become the Queen.
This happily ever after is set to be cut short, however, as there’s tension implied in the teaser between Maleficent and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), which sadly looks to threaten the friendship between Aurora and her fairy godmother.
Directors and producers
The fantasy sequel is directed by Joachim Rønning who is no stranger to big Disney blockbusters, having co-directed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales with Espen Sandberg. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will also be produced by Maleficent herself, Angelina Jolie, and the film is written by Linda Woolverton, who scripted the first movie. (She also wrote fellow live-action blockbuster Alice in Wonderland for director Tim Burton.)
Familiar faces and voices
Sam Riley (Free Fire, On the Road) returns as Diaval, Maleficent’s trusty Raven who in the previous movie was also transformed into a fire-breathing dragon. Pixies Knotgrass, Flittle and Thistlewit, played by Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville and Juno Temple, return too, no doubt providing comic relief as they did before.
Princess Aurora’s love interest Prince Phillip is portrayed by a new actor because Brenton Thwaites, who originally played the prince, had a conflicting schedule. This means that Harris Dickinson (The Darkest Minds) is our new Prince Charming.
Other royals include the Oscar-nominated Michelle Pfeiffer (Stardust, Batman Returns, Ant-Man and The Wasp) as Queen Ingrith and Robert Lindsay (My Family) as King John. These two are not Princess Aurora’s parents but the heads of another royal family, which is set to bring tension now that Aurora is preparing to rule her kingdom soon.
Famous faces we didn’t see in the recent teaser trailer include Ed Skrein (Alita: Battle Angel, Deadpool), Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (who is having a good year with Disney as he will voice Scar in The Lion King remake) and Warwick Davis (Star Wars, Harry Potter), whose roles are yet to be disclosed.
Filming and release
Filming began last May and finished up in August at Pinewood Studios, England, the spiritual home of gargantuan movies such as James Bond and Star Wars. The original release date for Mistress of Evil was spring 2020, but it got pushed up to October this year – meaning we get to visit the magical kingdom sooner than expected.
Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.