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This article is about the Disney character. For the film, see Maleficent (film).
Maleficent as she appears in Disney's Sleeping Beauty
First appearance Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Created by Marc Davis
Charles Perrault
The Brothers Grimm
Portrayed by Angelina Jolie (Maleficent)
Kristin Chenoweth (Descendants)
Kristin Bauer (Once Upon a Time)
Voiced by Eleanor Audley (original film)
Susanne Blakeslee
Aliases Mistress of All Evil (self-proclaimed)
Species Fairy[1]
Dragon (second form)
Gender Female
Occupation Sorceress/witch
Fairy godmother
Protector of the Moors (in Maleficent only)
Queen of the Moors (abdicated; in Maleficent only)
Children Princess Aurora (goddaughter)
Mal (daughter; in Descendants only)
Lilith "Lily" Page (daughter; in Once Upon A Time only)

Maleficent is the antagonist of Walt Disney's 1959 film Sleeping Beauty. She is characterized as the "Mistress of All Evil" who, after not being invited to a christening, curses the infant Princess Aurora to "prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die" before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday. She was voiced by Eleanor Audley.

A more sympathetic version of the character appeared as the main protagonist in the 2014 live-action film Maleficent, portrayed by Angelina Jolie. She also serves as a recurring antagonist in the Kingdom Hearts video game series, voiced by Susanne Blakeslee, as well as the TV series Once Upon a Time, portrayed by Kristin Bauer van Straten.


The character was animated by Marc Davis. The wicked sorceress was aptly named "Maleficent" (an adjective which means "doing evil or harm"[2]). In determining Maleficent's design, standard depictions of witches and hags were dismissed as Mattinson's opted for an elegant, sinister, green-skinned beauty centered around the appearance of flames, ultimately crowning the villain with a black two pointed headdress, often called an "atora." According to Mattinson, Maleficent "was designed like a giant vampire bat to create a feeling of menace."[3]

She was voiced by Eleanor Audley, who had previously performed Lady Tremaine, Cinderella's evil stepmother, in Cinderella. Audley also provided some live-action recording for both of these characters, to inspire the animators. In addition, dancer Jane Fowler performed some live-action reference for Maleficent.[4] Animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, in their book The Disney Villain, describe animating Audley's voice as "a difficult assignment but a thrilling one, working to that voice track with so much innuendo mixed in with the fierce power."[5]

Maleficent has a dragon form, which was animated by Eric Cleworth, who said that the dragon was modeled on a rattlesnake, with "powerful muscles moving a bulky body over the rocky terrain."[3] Sound effects man Jim Macdonald searched for the sound of a dragon's fiery breath by asking the U.S. Army to send him some training films on flame throwing. These films provided just the right sound for him.[4]


Sleeping Beauty[edit]

Maleficent arrives at King Stefan and Queen Leah's castle during the christening of Stefan's daughter, Aurora. Seeing that all the kingdom was invited except her, she stresses about not receiving an invitation, to which the good fairy Merryweather replies that she was "not wanted". After saying that she hoped that it was just due to some oversight, she prepares to leave this "awkward situation". When the queen asks her if she was not offended, Maleficent says "Why, no, your majesty," and offers to bestow a "gift" on Aurora to prove she "bears no ill will". Maleficent confirms that Aurora will grow in grace and beauty and will be "beloved by all who know her" as well, but places a curse on her so that before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will "prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die!" Laughing, she leaves. Merryweather, who still has a gift she can use, weakens the curse so that Aurora will fall into a deep sleep instead, with only a kiss from her true love needed to awaken her.

Later, at a castle in the Forbidden Mountains, a frustrated Maleficent questions her dim-witted monster minions why they have been unable to find Aurora (who has been hidden by the three good fairies), and learns that her minions have focused on searching for a baby although years went by. Maleficent blasts lightning at them in her fury, and then tells her pet raven Diablo to find Aurora. The bird manages to succeed due to a magical quarrel between two of the three good fairies, which exposed their location.

On the evening of Aurora's sixteenth birthday,after the three fairies had momentarily left the depressed princess alone, Maleficent visits Aurora as a hypnotic sphere of light, luring the princess to a room and transforming herself into a spinning wheel. Aurora pricks her finger on the spindle, fulfilling the curse.

Maleficent's dragon form at the film's climax.

Later on, Maleficent and her servants capture Prince Phillip, Aurora's true love, and imprison him. Maleficent then rests well, thinking she has triumphed.

Maleficent later wakes up and discovers that the fairies had freed Philip from her dungeon, and is equally furious to see Diablo's fate (he had been turned to stone by Merryweather). She climbs to the top of one of her castle's towers and proceeds to hurl lightning bolts at Phillip to hinder him; the bolts are unsuccessful due to the good fairies' counter-spells. She eventually summons a forest of thorns (which Phillip is able to overcome), before personally dealing with him by transporting herself in front of King Stefan's castle, blocking his entry. She proclaims "Now shall you deal with me, O Prince, and all the powers of Hell!" and transforms into a huge dark dragon. She overwhelms Philip and is eventually able to blast his magical shield away, but the three fairies cast an enhancing enchantment on Phillip's Sword of Truth as he throws the weapon into Maleficent's heart, fatally wounding her. As she falls forward, she attempts to devour him, but misses and falls off the crumbling cliff as the Sword of Truth destroys her body. All that is left of her is her shredded robe, with the sword still embedded in it as it blackens.


Angelina Jolie as Maleficent in the 2014 live action film

The film presents Maleficent as a good fairy who protects the Moors, a realm of supernatural beings, from the neighboring human kingdom. Having befriended Stefan when they were children, Maleficent is betrayed when Stefan used her weakness to iron to burn off her wings so that he could ascend the throne of the human kingdom, as per a bounty declared by the dying king with grudge against Maleficent. Using a staff as a walking stick and a raven (here named Diaval) as a servant, a now hate-filled Maleficent names herself ruler of the Moors. When she learns that Stefan is now King and has had a daughter named Aurora with Queen Leila, his wife, acting on the notion that true love is nonexistent, Maleficent places her curse on the newborn Aurora to sleep forever unless she receives the kiss of true love, as revenge on Stefan. However, because the fairies that were assigned by king Stefan to look after Aurora proved to be neglectful and incompetent, Maleficent cared for and saved the child from afar in order to ensure that her curse was completed, only to eventually develop a maternal affection for her. That love proves essential for a repentant Maleficent to undo her own curse when she kissed Aurora on the forehead. After waking from her sleep, Aurora helps restore Maleficent's wings to her when Stefan attempts to kill Maleficent, allowing her to defeat the treacherous king. Soon after Stefan's death and Aurora's accession, Maleficent crowns Aurora as the ruler of the Moors to unite their kingdoms forever.

Other appearances[edit]

Kingdom Hearts[edit]

Maleficent appears as a major character in the Kingdom Hearts video game series. She is voiced by Susan Blakeslee in the English versions and Toshiko Sawada in the Japanese versions. She has appeared in every game in the series except for Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days.

Disney's House of Mouse[edit]

Maleficent is a recurring character in the TV series House of Mouse. She also appeared as a villain in th film Mickey's House of Villains


In the night-time show Fantasmic!, performed at the Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios theme parks, Maleficent is one of the Disney Villains portrayed in the shows. In the shows, Maleficent is the true villain along with the Evil Queen and they decide it is time to finish off Mickey Mouse once and for all, and invokes Disney villains to help her. They strike Mickey through his dreams and imagination, and Maleficent is the final villain to attack Mickey - the battle between Maleficent's European dragon incarnation and Mickey serves as the climax to the show. It is to be noted that Maleficent cries out before becoming the dragon: "Now you will deal with me, and all the powers of my imagination!", whereas, in the original film, she proclaimed "Now shall you deal with me, O Prince, and all the powers of Hell!"

Kingdom Keepers[edit]

In the book series by Ridley Pearson, Kingdom Keepers, Maleficent appears as one of the first Overtakers encountered as she intends to leave the confines of Disney World to take over the world. She recruits Jez with a spell due to the girl's abilities as a fairlie (almost like a fairy, but fairly human) could reveal her plans, but fails. She breaks the seal to revive Chernabog as they escape in an ice truck to Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is said that the temperature goes down when she is around; later it's revealed she does this because warm temperatures weaken her magic. Later, in the fourth book, she and Chernabog are imprisoned in a hidden prison in Animal Kingdom, and during a blackout, the Evil Queen and Cruella De Vil make DHIs and rescue them. In the fifth book, Maleficent and the rest of the Overtakers ride the Dream on its first cruise, using Tia Dalma to revive Chernabog at full power. She meets her end in the sixth book when the Keepers' leader, Finn, rips a hole in her with his DHI powers. However, at the end of the seventh book, Tia Dalma enacts a ritual to resurrect Maleficent.

Dream Along With Mickey[edit]

In the Dream Along With Mickey stage show at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Maleficent is one of the villains who appear onstage to threaten Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. Maleficent states that since people no longer believe in dreams, it is the perfect time for her to return to power and make the Magic Kingdom "The Place Where Nightmares Come True". But Mickey leads the crowd in a chant of "Dreams Come True!" and scares away Maleficent's minions, Captain Hook and Smee, as well as defeating Maleficent herself.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party[edit]

Maleficent also makes appearances during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Walt Disney World Resort. She makes an appearance through her voice in HalloWishes, a Halloween-themed fireworks show along with Ursula, Jafar, and Oogie Boogie. Susan Blakeslee provides Maleficent's voice in those cases. Maleficent also appears during the Disney Villains Mix and Mingle stage show at that same event, appearing alongside fellow Disney Villains, including Captain Hook, Cruella De Vil, The Queen of Hearts, Jafar, and the Evil Queen.

Walt Disney's World on Ice[edit]

Maleficent appears in the new version of the show Disneyland Adventure (replacing The Incredibles villain Syndrome). When she terrorizes the resort, she puts the entire kingdom to sleep, and puts Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck into Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. She later took over It's a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean, but The Incredible Family managed to defeat her, though she vowed for revenge.

Diva Villains[edit]

Maleficent is part of the "Diva Villains" line-up, a sub-franchise of the main Disney Villains franchise. Maleficent is the last "diva" to appear in the event at Disneyland, just as the Evil Queen and Cruella de Vil are complaining on Madam Mim's behavior. Next, Maleficent sings "That Old Black Magic" alone and later "We're Divas" along with the whole cast of the show.[6]

Mickey Mousecapade[edit]

Maleficent is the final boss in the North American version of the video game Mickey Mousecapade created in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Once Upon a Time[edit]

A version of Maleficent plays a role in the storylines for the 2011 American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, played by Kristin Bauer van Straten as a witch who is able to take the form of a fire-breathing dragon. Maleficent is first introduced as the "only friend" of the series' primary nemesis, the Evil Queen from Snow White. She is also somewhat responsible in her use of magic: she kept Rumplestiltskin's Dark Curse hidden to ensure it would never be used, and, upon learning she had been robbed by Robin Hood, allowed him to keep the gold on the condition that Will Scarlet return a dangerous mirror (actually a portal to Wonderland) he had stolen. She does have a bit of a temper, having gone after two generations of Sleeping Beauties: Briar Rose and her daughter Aurora. Maleficent has a daughter named Lilith[7] and worked with Cruella de Vil and Ursula to ensure that villains and not heroes would be the ones with happy endings.

Disney's Descendants[edit]

Kristin Chenoweth has signed on to play Maleficent in Disney’s upcoming original Disney Channel movie Descendants, which follows the teenage children of Disney’s iconic heroes and villains.[8]

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes[edit]

Maleficent is a playable character in Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, sporting her modified appearance from the live-action Angelina Jolie film.[9] As with the other playable characters in the game, a tie-in figure for Maleficent was also released.


The original version of Maleficent has been called as "one of the most sinister Disney Villains".[10] Guillermo del Toro has stated that along with Vermithrax in Dragonslayer, Maleficent is his favorite cinematic dragon.[11] Voice actress Eleanor Audley and supervising animator Marc Davis were also praised for their work on the character.


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