The live-action adaptation of Maleficent, the Angelina Jolie-starring vehicle, was one of the first of many films to go from animation to live-action. And since its release, the studio has been working on getting a sequel off the ground.
Now that is happening. Production for Maleficent II has started, and there are a couple of new casting announcements. The first is that Michelle Pfeiffer will be joining Jolie and Elle Fanning, both of whom are reprising their respective roles. More on the story below.
Disney made the announcement in a press release (via Instagram). It also confirmed a couple of new additional casting announcements. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Robert Lindsay are also joining the cast. However, Brenton Thwaites, who played Prince Philip in the first Maleficent, will not be returning for the sequel. He will be replaced by Harris Dickinson.
Based on characters from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and La Belle au Bois Dormant by Charles Perrault, the sequel will be a continuation of the first. Linda Woolverton also returns to write the script with Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Joachim Rønning will be directing. He takes over for Robert Stromberg, who directed the first.
The first Maleficent was a retelling of the animated Sleeping Beauty. A reimagining of sorts, with the film telling the story from the title character’s point of view, essentially turning her into a sympathetic protagonist. In it, we learned how Maleficent turned into the evil sorceress and what drove her to hate Princess Aurora.
And this isn’t the first of the live-action remakes that Disney has announced a sequel for. The studio also confirmed that there will be a sequel to The Jungle Book after its success.
Here’s the official plot synopsis:
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.
Maleficent‘s $750 million success helped kickstart Disney’s trend of releasing live-action adaptations of their animated classics. The studio would follow-up with retellings like Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), and Beauty and the Beast (2017). They’ve also got retellings of Dumbo, Aladdin, Mulan, The Lion King, and more in the pipeline, and you can probably imagine that they will not be anything like their animated counterparts. Just look at Christopher Robin, which is a quasi-follow-up to Winnie the Pooh.
No word yet on when Maleficent II will be released, but we will keep you posted.
Here’s the official Instagram post announcing the start of production:
[Source: Walt Disney Studios Instagram]