Over the last few years, Walt Disney Studios has been digging deep into its catalog of pre-2000 animated movies and selecting the ones best suited for live action remakes/re-imaginings, and it was arguably Maleficent that kicked off this endeavor. Loosely inspired by the 1959 Sleeping Beauty movie, Maleficent saw this fairy tale mythology being revisited from the eponymous witch's perspective, and the end result was an impressive commercial success for the Mouse House, making over $758 million worldwide. Maleficent 2 was officially announced to be in development in 2015, and today the sequel finally kicked off production. To commemorate this occasion, Disney has released the first official Maleficent II (yes, they're going the Roman numerals route) plot synopsis, which reads 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.
For those who need a refresher on Maleficent's ending, the movie concluded with Elle Fanning's Aurora inherited the throne and Angelina Jolie's Maleficent, in keeping with this more sympathetic portrayal of the character compared to her villainous animated predecessor, was on relatively good terms with the girl. Now we know that rather than pick up with these characters decades later, Maleficent II will take place a few years later and chronicle their unusual relationship as they work together to protect their subjects. This Maleficent II synopsis doesn't provide any specifics, but it's a good start. As was expected, both Jolie and Fanning are reprising their roles for the sequel, and the latter posted a picture on Instagram of herself with the former, a.k.a. her "mom," for their first day together on set.
Along with Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, Maleficent II's main cast will include Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, Jenn Murray and David Gyasi. Harris Dickinson is also taking over as Prince Phillip, the role previously played by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales star Brenton Thwaites. Joachim Rønning is taking over directing duties from Robert Stromberg, and Jez Butterworth rewrote the script that was initially penned by Linda Woolverton.
Maleficent II doesn't have a set release date yet, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for that information and more updates as they come in. For now, you can plan your trips to the theater this year by looking through our 2018 release schedule, or you can learn what other live action remakes/re-imaginings Disney has in the works by browsing through our handy guide.