Back in 2014, Disney began its current wildly-successful run of live-action remakes of its classic animated movies with Maleficent. The film focused on the iconic villain and flipped the narrative on its head, with Angelina Jolie's character becoming the protagonist. Maleficent made a tidy $758.5 million dollars at the box office, so a sequel was more a matter of when, not if. Now things are finally ramping up, with production set to start this year. While Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning's Aurora will be returning, there is one person from the first movie who is being swapped out for the sequel. Actor Harris Dickinson is replacing Brenton Thwaites in the role of Prince Phillip.
Harris Dickinson has fewer blockbuster films to his name than Brenton Thwaites, but he has been showcasing his talents recently on the FX limited series Trust, as J. Paul Getty III. This summer, he can also be seen in the young adult sci-fi adaptation The Darkest Minds. According to Variety, the reason for the recasting is simply scheduling conflicts. Brenton Thwaites, who starred in last summer's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, is set to star as Dick Grayson/Robin in the upcoming series Titans, premiering later this year on DC's new streaming service. Due to that commitment, he was unable to return as Prince Phillip, so Harris Dickinson stepped in to assume the princely duties.
Looking at Disney's classic fairy tales, Prince Phillip was always one of the cooler princes, as he actually did something as opposed to The Prince from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves or Prince Charming from Cinderella. In Sleeping Beauty, Prince Phillip battled Maleficent in dragon form and awakened Aurora with a kiss. However, in Maleficent, Prince Phillip had a less effective role, as the subverting of the story was really the Maleficent and Aurora show, with Phillip's kiss failing to awaken the princess. As Maleficent 2 moves beyond the Sleeping Beauty story and sees what happens following the first film's happily-ever-after ending, it will be interesting to see what role the romance between Aurora and Phillip plays and if the Prince will have a bigger part this time around. The title is still Maleficent though, and Angelina Jolie's anti-hero will almost certainly remain the focal point.
Harris Dickinson is just the latest name added to the lineup as this fairy tale sequel begins to take shape ahead of production. He joins Deadpool star and former Daario Naharis, Ed Skrein, who will be playing an unspecified villain in the film. Michelle Pfeiffer is also in negotiations to join Maleficent 2 as Prince Phillip's mother, the queen.
Maleficent 2 is directed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' Joachim Rønning and should start production later this year. Check out our guide to see all of Disney's upcoming live-action remakes, and for all the latest in movie news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.