As we reported back in October, Disney is moving forward with a sequel to Maleficent, the 2014 live-action reimagining of Sleeping Beauty. That film fell short of the incredible box office of the studio’s Alice in Wonderland adaptation a few years before but still managed to rake in a healthy $758 million. Disney might want to keep expectations for Maleficent 2 somewhat low though because just two years ago the Alice in Wonderland sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass grossed far, far less than its predecessor.
Angelina Jolie (Maleficent), Elle Fanning (Princess Aurora), Sam Riley (Diaval), Imelda Staunton (Knotgrass), Juno Temple (Thistlewit), and Lesley Manville (Thistlewit) will all be reprising their roles from the first film. The role of Prince Phillip, played in Maleficent by Brenton Thwaites, has been recast with a relatively unknown actor named Harris Dickinson. Michelle Pfeiffer joins the cast in a major role as a character named Queen Ingrith along with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Robert Lindsay in unknown roles.
The first film was plagued with rewrites, reshoots, and other problems during production, which is likely the reason that Robert Stromberg, director of the first film, either declined to direct the sequel or was not asked to return. Instead, Joachim Rønning, director of the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean film, is at the helm, directing from a screenplay by Linda Woolverton, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, and Noah Harpster. Woolverton is credited as the sole screenwriter on Alice Through the Looking Glass, which I personally thought was almost unwatchable and a huge step down from the quality of the first film, so I’m hoping she’s turned in better work here and that the two other writers have done a nice job as well.
Details about the plot of the film are scarce, but we do know that the film will “continue 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.” That sounds pretty boring to me, but I’m hoping for the best and really am rooting for Maleficent 2 to be good and to succeed.
Head over to Elle Fanning’s Instagram to see some fun photos from the first day of shooting.