Maleficent 2 cast, plot, release date and everything you need to know

It’s no surprise that Disney has decided to greenlight Maleficent 2, the sequel to its Angelina Jolie-starring live-action retelling of Sleeping Beauty, as the first film took a hefty worldwide haul at the box office.

Amassing $758.5 million overall worldwide back in 2014 on a budget of $180 million, more than four times the figure invested, it’s clearly a no-brainer. But with the super studio so focused on Star Wars and Marvel right now, where exactly is it at?

Maleficent 2 cast – who is joining Angelina Jolie?

Given that Angelina Jolie initially pursued the role because of her childhood love of the title character, she was always a shoo-in to return. Maleficent wasn’t just the fourth-highest grossing film of 2014, it was also the highest-grossing live-action film ever to star Jolie, so she’ll feel like she’s in particularly safe territory.

Jolie actually hinted at the possibility of a sequel just a week after Maleficent‘s debut, back in June 2014, so she’s long been on board with the idea. It was officially confirmed she would reprise her role in 2016.

Elle Fanning is also set to return as Princess Aurora, the young royal who was cursed by Maleficent to prick her finger and fall into a magical slumber, only to be awoken by love’s true kiss. While the character of Prince Phillip, Aurora’s paramour from that film, does return, this time the role will be played by Harris Dickinson (replacing Brenton Thwaites from the first film).

Since then, a number of high-profile actors have signed on to the project. Michelle Pfeiffer (appearing next in Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp) joins Maleficent 2 as Queen Ingris. Little is currently known about her character, so we’ll have to wait to see if she’ll be royalty in the fairy or human world.

If she does represent fairy aristocracy, she’ll hope her role fares better than those of Miranda Richardson and Peter Capaldi in the first film. Originally playing Queen Ulla and King Kinloch respectively in the script that went into production, this fairy queen and king (and aunt and uncle of Maleficent) found themselves on the cutting-room floor as director Robert Stromberg chopped Maleficent‘s time below two hours.

Chiwetel Ejiofor also joins Maleficent 2 and is rumoured to be a potential love interest for Jolie. Given that the first film focused on her character’s romantic betrayal, which led to Maleficent’s belief that true love did not exist, it could be a very important role.

The chance that Maleficent might be luckier in love the second time around has also increased with the news that Ed Skrein is playing the film’s villain. That gives us hope that Ejiofor and Jolie’s Maleficent have a better shot at love in the sequel.

Jenn Murray (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Kae Alexander (Ready Player One) and former Hollyoaks star Fernanda Diniz are also confirmed for roles in the film and we’ll update you on their characters as soon as information is released.

The one name we’d really like to see added to that list is Sam Riley. His turn as the crow Diaval was a highlight of the first film, as he took the Disney talking animal sidekick to exciting new levels.

Maleficent 2 plot – will Disney continue to fight stereotypes?

Nothing official is known about the plot so far but if Maleficent 2‘s story follows the style of the first film it will house ideas of love and loss within its big magical moments. However, given how the first one ended, it’s actually unlikely much of the same ground will be trodden.

Last time we saw our horn-headed enchantress, she was allies with the girl she had originally hated and had changed her view of the world completely. It’s unclear if the bad blood will be reignited between them again this time but having seen Maleficent return the fairy moors back to their wondrous nature, we’d doubt that’s the direction Maleficent 2 will take.

What’s more likely, in our humble opinion, is that Maleficent 2 will continue to buck the traditional Disney stereotype of the prince coming to save the princess. In the first film, it wasn’t Prince’s Phillip’s kiss that awakened Aurora, it was Maleficent’s.

If that left Phillip out in the cold, it’s possible Pfeiffer’s Queen Ingris is his mother, hoping to secure a union for her son, and Maleficent is the one trying to shield her from those shenanigans. Where Skein’s character fits into this dynamic, having been named as the villain of the piece, has yet to be confirmed.

Maleficent 2 release date – when’s this beauty going to land?

Disney hasn’t announced an official release date yet for Maleficent 2 (AKA Malévola 2 if you’re in Brazil and Maléfique 2 if you’re in France), although the June 2014 date for the first film would suggest the House of Mouse favours an early summer release.

However, Maleficent took two years to go from the start of filming to its entry into cinemas. Maleficent 2 was slated to begin filming in April 2018, which was later amended to spring 2018. In theory, if it wants to make its slot in summer 2020 principal photography needs to start soon.

Maleficent 2 director – who has Disney got in the big chair?

Joachim Rønning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) was rumoured to be in talks to direct Maleficent 2 in October 2017 and his name has remained attached to the project since then. He’ll be shooting a script written by Maleficent scribe Linda Woolverton, which has been given a polish by Spectre co-writer Jez Butterworth.

Rønning will have great support when it comes to production design, as veteran Patrick Tatopoulos (Independence Day, I, Robot, Justice League) has also signed on to create the look for Maleficent 2.

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