Maleficent is the main antagonist of Sleeping Beauty.
She takes offense at not being invited to the christening of Princess Aurora and she tries to get revenge on King Stefan and the Queen by cursing Aurora. Like Chernabog, Maleficent is an incarnation of pure evil, responsible for all misfortune in King Stefan's kingdom; she appears to be particularly unfond of the three good fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, her polar opposites, who do all in their power to keep Maleficent's overwhelming evil magic at bay.
Maleficent is also famous for her role as one of the primary antagonists of the Kingdom Hearts series. With her gothic, elegant design, her attractive and seductive speaking voice and dramatic and flamboyant animation and unlimited arsenal of magic powers, Maleficent ranked #1 on UltimateDisney's Top 30 Villains Countdown.
Maleficent is portrayed as the ultimate personification of pure evil in Sleeping Beauty and is similar to Chernabog in that she wreaks chaos and destruction for the fun of it rather than with a specific goal in mind. She does have a fiery temper, however, and is extremely proud. She visits twenty years of pain and suffering on the country where the film takes place simply because she wasn't invited to a party. Her obsessive personality and violent mood swings are indicative of a borderline personality disorder. Like most Disney villains, she also has hypnotic powers as shown when she torments Prince Phillip with visions of a bleak future. Her most famous quote, "You poor, pitiful, insignificant fools, thinking you could defeat me, me, the Mistress of all Evil" indicates that she is somewhat narcissistic. It is said that she is very lonely but also highly intelligent as she received very good grades at school.
She appears to be modeled on Joan Crawford.
Placing a curse on Aurora
At the christening of the newly born Princess Aurora, the Three Good Fairies come to bestow three gifts on the child: Flora’s gift is Beauty, and Fauna’s is Song. Before Merryweather has a chance to give the child a gift, Maleficent enters with Diablo, her raven, perched on her staff. Angry at not receiving an invitation, she curses the child, decreeing that, before the sun sets on Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, the child shall die, by pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. She then leaves, cackling. Merryweather, unable to undo the entire curse herself, is able nevertheless to alter it such that Aurora will not die, but merely enter a deep sleep, to be broken with love’s first kiss.
As Aurora's sixteenth birthday draws near, Maleficent punishes her Goons, who have stupidly been searching for a baby for sixteen years. She then sends Diablo, her Raven, to find the princess. Diablo discovers that Aurora, as 'Briar Rose,' is living with the Three Good Fairies (who are posing as mortals) in a cottage in the woods. When the princess and the fairies return to the castle late that afternoon, Maleficent finds Aurora alone and, as a willo-the-wisp like apparition, lures her to a spinning wheel. She pricks her finger and falls to the floor. The fairies arrive in time for Maleficent to scoff at them; she then disappears. She and the Goons go to the cottage, where they wait for Prince Phillip, who had arranged to meet Aurora (whom he only knew to be 'Briar Rose,' a peasant girl). When he arrives, they capture him and take him to the Forbidden Mountain.
Flora, Fauna and Merryweather rescue Phillip and give him the Shield of Virtue and Sword of Truth; this is noticed by Diablo, who fetches the Goons. The prince and fairies are still able to escape, and Merryweather turns Diablo to stone. However, Maleficent emerges, sees Phillip escaping and attempts to strike him down with lightning. As he continues, she summons thorns to surround Stefan’s castle. When she sees that Phillip, with help from the Good Fairies, is able to hack through the thorns, she appears before him, and transforms into an enormous dragon. The two battle, but Phillip eventually kills her when Flora, Fauna and Merryweather enchant his sword.
She falls from a great height, and Phillip looks down to see that she has become her cape; the Sword of Truth, still embedded in the cape, turns black. Phillip then awakens Aurora with a kiss. All Good Things must end, All Evil things too!
Behind the Scenes
Maleficent was voiced by Eleanor Audley (english version)/Toshiko Sawada (japanese version) in Sleeping Beauty and animated by Marc Davis.
In Kingdom Hearts, she was voiced by Susanne Blakeslee (english version)/Toshiko Sawada (japanese version) and animated by Square Enix personnel.
DesignThe style for Sleeping Beauty was based on the art of Eyvind Earle, who claimed to have a 'Pre-Renaissance' style, with strong vertical lines and gothic elegance. Eearle was involved with the design of all the characters, and designed and painted most of the backgrounds in the film.
Though early sketches depict a hag-like witch, it was decided that Maleficent's final, elegant design suited Earle's backgrounds. Davis' decision to make Maleficent a powerful sorceress rather than an old crone may also have been influenced by Eleanor Audley's voice, which he recalled suggested a very powerful character.
The design for Maleficent's clothes occurred to Davis when he was looking through a book on medieval art; one of the manuscript images featured a religious figure with long robes, the ends of which resembled flames. Davis incorporated this into Maleficent's final design. He based the sides of her headdress on the wings of a bat, and the top of her headdress on the horns of the devil.
AnimationAfter Eleanor Audley's vocal and live-action performances for Lady Tremaine, Walt Disney personally suggested that she be considered for the voice and live-action reference for Maleficent. Davis praised Eleanor Audley's live-action performance for the character, claiming that she created many of Maleficent's expressions and mannerisms that were ultimately used in the animation. The animators were more limited with how their characters could move against the detailed backgrounds. The manner in which Maleficent moved, perhaps limited by her costume, later inspired Andreas Deja to take a similar route when animating Jafar for Aladdin.
Deviations from Source Material
In the Sleeping Beauty ballet the evil fairy was named Carabosse. In some versions of the fairy tale, she only appeared to curse the child at the beginning, and did not appear elsewhere in the story; in these versions, the spinning wheel the princess pricks her finger on is not magical but simply a normal spinning wheel. One version of the story shows the fairy who curses the princess as old and grumpy, but not necessarily evil; this version of the character lived (most of the time sleeping) in a tower at the top of the castle, and, after cursing the princess, goes back to sleep, not appearing afterwards.
Maleficent appeared as the main antagonist in the Disney Channel television movie Descendants. In the film, she is the mother of Mal, her teenage daughter, and was portrayed by Kristin Chenoweth.
According to some press release information, Maleficent is the only villain featured who hasn't given up hope on conquering the kingdom, and scolds her daughter for failing to reach her evil potential. Despite her drive, this incarnation of Maleficent has displayed a quirky and comical side, such as dolling out petty punishments upon her daughter, subjecting Mal to glaring contests, and forgetting where she stored her spellbook (which turned out to be inside the refrigerator that she has no knowledge on how to open without the Evil Queen's help). Also she wanted to put good and evil in her will but failed by being shrunk by Mal's magic (the spell of being shrunk as a lizard.) which is the same size of goodness in her heart.
Kingdom Hearts series
Maleficent is a major antagonist in the Kingdom Hearts series. She is the evil sorceress from Sleeping Beauty. She is very manipulative and was first seen in Kingdom Hearts in Hollow Bastion.
Maleficent was the mastermind behind the Council of Disney Villains seen in Kingdom Hearts such as Hades, Captain Hook, Oogie Boogie, Ursula, and Jafar. Pete, as her then-unseen henchman, had helped assembly this group and was off building an army of Heartless for her. Acting as a guide, Maleficent warned each of her followers that they should be wary of the darkness. She led this group in pursuit of ultimate power by controlling the Heartless and unlocking the Keyhole that leads to Kingdom Hearts, the heart of all worlds.
She used Hollow Bastion, the former home of Ansem the Wise, as a base of operations where she directed the affairs of the group. She used Ansem's report to help her control the Heartless and recruited Riku, Sora's best friend, to her side. Once she saw that Riku could wield a Keyblade, she used the darkness in Riku's heart to corrupt him and turn him against his friends.
Maleficent eventually told Riku her plans to find Kingdom Hearts, involving the Princesses of Heart. Maleficent persuaded Riku to go after Kairi, as she is also a Princess. Maleficent lied to Riku and told him that she'd help Kairi regain her heart once she had control of the Kingdom Hearts.
One by one, each of the Disney villains failed to resist the darkness in their hearts and each met their demise at the end of Sora's Keyblade, with the following exceptions: Pete, (whom Sora did not encounter at this time), the immortal Hades, and Captain Hook (who merely fled and was never seen or heard from again). Her knowledge and control of the powers of darkness had enabled her to control the Heartless, or so it seemed. Unbeknownst to Maleficent, the Heartless were simply using her to reveal the keyhole in Hollow Bastion, and in the meantime were eating away at her heart. Maleficent eventually confronted Sora and used all her Dark Magic in an attempt to defeat him, but she was overpowered and fled. When Riku unlocked her heart, the darkness seeped into it, somewhat healing her wounds obtained when Sora battled her in the keep of Hollow Bastion.
Maleficent turned into a dragon, but the darkness did not see her through. Although she proved a far more dangerous enemy as a dragon, Sora still defeated her for the second time, the darkness ate her heart and she faded away into darkness.
By defeating Maleficent, Sora obtains the fifth page of Ansem's Report, and Donald learns the Cheer ability. Defeating Dragon Maleficent rewards Sora with the Fireglow, which unlocks the ability to summon Mushu if taken to the Fairy Godmother.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
Maleficent appears to Riku as a memory-based illusion in Castle Oblivion. She is one of only two characters, along with Aerith in Sora's story, to realize that she is not real. She mocks her old student, and how he once clung to her and the darkness, before he stands up to her and destroys her. Also, in Sora's game, she is the boss of Hollow Bastion and is revealed to need to steal hearts in order to practice her magic and attempts to use the love found in Belle and Beast's hearts to make herself invincible. When Sora and company attempt to stop her, she turns herself into a dragon and attacks, shooting flames from her mouth, causing earthquakes by stomping, and trying to eat Sora. But she fails and is defeated.
Kingdom Hearts II
Maleficent reappears in Kingdom Hearts II, in which she poses as a secondary villain but she still plots against Sora and the others. Her raven, Diablo, brings her empty robe to Yen Sid's tower, and the memories of Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather accidentally bring her back to life. In Kingdom Hearts: Another Report, it is hinted that Organization XIII is responsible for her return.
Xemnas once sent Axel and Roxas to Hollow Bastion to wipe out heartless and release a raven from a cage suspended from the ceiling. It is heavily suggested that this raven is Diablo and was released to revive Maleficent. The Organization may have planned to use her to create more heartless for their plans. Like in Kingdom Hearts, she attempts to control the Heartless to locate Kingdom Hearts. However, she now competes with Organization XIII for supreme power and considers the group and Nobodies in general as vastly inferior to her and her Heartless, obviously deluding herself, never realizing that they were responsible for her resurrection in the first place to be nothing more than an unwitting pawn for them. Organization XIII always maintains the upperhand over her.
Maleficent, with the help of her only loyal follower remaining, Pete, goes from world to world reviving her other followers and building an army of Heartless. Although only Oogie Boogie is witnessed being revived, it may be guessed that she is also responsible for the return of Ursula and for Barbossa, Scar, and Hades using Heartless. Indeed, when she first meets up with Pete again, she asks about "the others", suggesting she was supposed to be holding a meeting with them like she did in the original game. Pete, however claims that they "must have had something better to do", perhaps meaning they were busy with their own endeavors. Maleficent reveals herself to Sora and his friends at Disney Castle when she tries to fill the Hall of the Cornerstone with Darkness in order to take over the Castle and make her new base of operations. Maleficent is defeated however by Sora when he and his friends go back in time and stop Pete from destroying the Cornerstone of Light. Maleficent appears in Halloween Town and tries to destroy Christmas town by resurrecting Oogie Boogie but his memory loss causes him to drive her away and Sora defeats Oogie Boogie. She then appears in Hollow Bastion during its invasion by Heartless. This is the turning point in the game, where she and the Disney Villians finally lose control of the Heartless to Organization XIII except for Jafar since he used Heartless in the game. At the climax of the battle she holds off the Nobodies so that Sora may escape and devise a way to defeat Organization XIII. Although she hated Sora, she realized that she couldn't defeat them herself, since they easily defeated her Heartless, and even took control of them from her.
She last appears in The World That Never Was, aiding Sora once more by fending off an immense wave of Heartless with the help of Pete while Sora defeats Xemnas, though she claims that she will take the castle for her own afterwards.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Maleficent will make an appearance in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, not much information is given about her role, she is shown to be conversing with Terra. Her fate is still unknown seeing as this is set in the past.
Kingdom Keepers series
The Kingdom Keepers
In The Kingdom Keepers, Maleficent is an Overtaker, an evil witch, in the Magic Kingdom. The 5 teens, the Kingdom Keepers, are being used by Disney to stop her. Maleficent at first tries to scare the kids out of the park at night, at one point even turning into a raven to attack Finn. She activates the rides while the kids are in them looking for clues, brings animatronics to life, and tries to kill the kids.
It is later revealed she is trying to get her hands on the Stonecutter's Quill, Walt Disney's first pen. Although she cannot touch it, she needs its power. In her attempt to get the pen, she turns Amanda's sister Jez into a witch via hypnotism. Once the Kingdom Keepers get ahold of the Stonecutter's Quill, she lures them down into a secret base of operations below the Pirates of the Caribbean ride building- an enormous jail, full of cells. It's revealed that she plans to take over the park and lock the Cast Members in the cells below the park once she obtains Walt's pen. In a battle with Maleficent, Finn defeats her using the pen to electrify her and escape. However, Maleficent gets her hands on the last piece that the Kingdom Keepers were trying to find- Walt Disney's original concept plans for the park.
The Kingdom Keepers and Wayne set up a plan to trick Maleficent into getting back the plans. Finn, Philby, and Maybeck find her hiding in the freezing Utilidors in the park, in the computer room, since she can only survive and use her powers in cold areas. Finn tricks her into opening the door, pretending to be giving her the pen, and Philby grabs the plans. The 3 run off with the Stonecutters Quill and the plans, while an angry, tricked Maleficent is kicked backwards into the computers. Getting a super electric charge, she blasts through the Utilidors to capture the kids. While the rest of the Kingdom Keepers escape the park, Finn stays back and manages to use his DHI state to free Jez from Maleficent's spell. Finn then escapes down a garbage chute with the pen and plans while Maleficent gives chase. Finn escapes while Disney Imagineers trap Maleficent in a net.
The Kingdom Keepers save the day, and Maleficent is locked in her own cell below Pirates of the Caribbean, where it's so hot, she won't be able to use her powers.
The Kingdom Keepers II
Maleficent, who has been moved from prison to prison across Disney by Imagineers, is locked up in Cinderella's Castle. She manages to use a weather balloon to attract a lightning storm to destroy the bars holding her, and she escapes, heading to Disney's Animal Kingdom, kidnapping Amanda's sister Jess in the process. The Kingdom Keepers are contacted by Wayne again, who lets them know Maleficent has managed to get her hands on a DHI machine.
The Kingdom Keepers get into the Animal Kingdom at dawn, but Maleficent has animal spies all over the park trying to get the kids. At one point, she lures Maybeck into a hiding place in the bat entrapment. As the Kingdom Keepers spend the day around the park, trying to find Jez and the DHI machine, Maleficent has animal DHIs and other Overtakers attempt to stop them. Luckily, the Kingdom Keepers manage to escape or stop them all. At one point, Maleficent kidnaps 2 of the Kingdom Keepers, who have fallen asleep and gone into Sleeping Beauty Syndrome, leaving them in DHI comas. She hides them in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but Finn and Maybeck manage to save them.
Maleficent confronts Finn and Amanda in the Conservation Station later on, where she attempts to kill Amanda, but Finn goes so mad with rage that he nearly kills her. Meanwhile, Maleficent has her Overtakers and evil DHIs still around the park, attacking the others. Eventually, Finn finds and saves Jez in the tiger cage, and Maybeck and Willa destroy the evil DHI machine, saving Animal Kingdom from Maleficent.
Finn and Amanda realize there's still one thing left to do before they leave the park, and they head to a closed Expedition Everest, due to a drawing in Jez's diary (which is what they've been following all along.) The Kingdom Keepers, Amanda, and Jez come face to face again with Maleficent in the attraction's climax, where Maleficent uses her cold powers to release evil Disney villain Chernabog from the giant Yeti animatronic. Maleficent tries to use her powers to kill Finn, but Amanda uses her own witch powers and defeats Maleficent. Maleficent tells Finn that Wayne, who hasn't been seen throughout the novel, is being held captive, and the only way to get Wayne back is to give her the Stonecutter's Quill, Walt's pen, and the plans. The Kingdom Keepers escape Maleficent and Chernabog, and the two villains escape the park in an ice truck, headed for Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Maleficent was nominated for a place in 'AFI’s 50 Greatest Villains list', along with the Evil Queen, Stromboli, Man, Lady Tremaine, Cruella De Vil and Ursula. The Disney Villains to make the final list were the Queen (10), Man (20), and Cruella De Vil (39).
- Maleficent is one of the ten villains featured in the tongue-in-cheek Disney Villains: The Top Secret Files. Maleficent's section of the book includes the catalog she chose her costume from, and an invitation to Aurora's christening arriving 17 years late (with a small 'oops!' scrawled in the corner). Maleficent is ranked as the second greatest Disney Villain at the end of the book.
- Even though her face appears to be green it's actually supposed to be white according to a coloring feature on the DVD re-release.
- Since the death of Eleanor Audley, Maleficent's original voice actress, Susan Blakelee has taken on that role in House of Mouse, the Kingdom Hearts video game franchise and the " Happy Hallowishes " fireworks show held at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party among others.
- The character is featured in the ABC television series Once Upon a Time.
- In House of Mouse, she is Hades's love interest.
- Maleficent's blood-curdling death scream is actually The Witch's scream in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Maleficent is the first Disney villain to ever have a starring role after the release of the 2014 film Maleficent.
- She appears a playable character in Disney INFINITY 2.0 Edition