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Maleficent is a fictional character and the main antagonist in Walt Disney's 1959 adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent is the self-proclaimed "Mistress of All Evil" who 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 after not being invited to the baby's christening. She is viewed as the most powerful and sinister of the Disney Villains, frequently acting as their leader in many crossovers, and her scenes in the climax of the film are among the darkest and most intense produced by Disney.[1] Maleficent is the Disney's adaptation of the Wicked fairy godmother from the original fairy tale.

DevelopmentEdit

Maleficent was animated by Marc Davis. She was voiced by Eleanor Audley, who had previously performed Lady Tremaine, the wicked stepmother in Cinderella. Audley also provided some live-action recording for both of these characters, to inspire the animators. Dancer Jane Fowler also performed some live-action reference for Maleficent.[2]

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".[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.[2]

CharacterizationEdit

Maleficent appears in the form of a tall, thin, pale green skinned woman with yellow eyes and a horned headdress, which is symbolic of her dark magic. She is clad in a black and purple robe with bat wing-like edges, and wears a gold ring with a large mysterious circular black stone in it. Maleficent is an evil fairy, unlike the other three fairy godmothers in the movie, and her evil enables her able to perform many magical and powerful abilities. She carries a staff with a glowing green orb at the tip through which she casts her spells, which include an ability to teleport herself, or send bolts of lightning at enemies. She is also capable of shape shifting at will into numerous forms, including a floating light resembling a will-o'-the-wisp and a massive, monstrous black and purple dragon. Maleficent is egotistical with power and has a fearfully caustic persona. Her minions are a legion of goblins and troll-like creatures.[2] She is also frequently accompanied by her pet raven called Diablo (mentioned by name in the movie only once).

Role in Sleeping BeautyEdit

Main article: Sleeping Beauty (1959 film)

Maleficent first appears in the film Sleeping Beauty in King Stefan's castle by means of supernatural teleportation during the christening of Stefan's daughter, Aurora. Her appearance is preceded by a gust of wind and accompanied by her signature green flames. She is outwardly courteous but implies she is offended that she didn't receive an invitation to the ceremony like the other fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. When she asks the king and queen why she was not invited, Merryweather speaks up and tells Maleficent that she is "not wanted." Shocked (or more likely, pretending to be shocked), she turns to leave this "awkward situation", giving the king and queen one last chance to make up for not inviting her, but the queen asks her if she was offended by this. Maleficent denies it, and offers to give a gift to Aurora to prove she bears no ill will. Maleficent then casts a spell that enhances the first two gifts and grants Aurora to be "beloved by all who know her" as well, but to punish the king and queen for their insolence, places a curse on Aurora, so that before the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Aurora will prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die. 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 to awaken her. The three fairies then hide Aurora until her sixteenth birthday passes while an angry Maleficent realizes her instructions to her goblin minions were wasted for the entire sixteen years as the goblins focused on searching for "a baby" the whole time. A furious Maleficent instructs her raven familiar Diablo to hunt down the teenaged Aurora. Once he succeeds, Maleficent visits Aurora on the evening of her sixteenth birthday in a form of a will-o-the-wisp, hypnotizing Aurora before luring her to a spinning wheel where she pricks her finger to fulfil the curse.

To ensure Aurora would not be immediately awakened, Maleficent and her goons trap Prince Phillip, Aurora's true love, and take him to Maleficent's castle in the Forbidden Mountains. She taunts Phillip before she retreats to her own tower, saying, "For the first time in sixteen years, I shall sleep well." Her intentions, as she explains to Phillip, are to leave him in her dungeon until he is an old man, and then to release him to awaken his true love after he has aged and she has not, since her sleep is explicitly stated to halt aging. When the fairies help Phillip break out of Maleficent's dungeon - with Merryweather turning Diablo into stone as well - Maleficent throws spells at Phillip to hinder him before deciding to personally deal with him herself, calling upon "all the powers of Hell" to transform into a dragon. Though she overwhelms him, the three fairies transfer some of their power to Phillip's sword as he throws the weapon into her heart, mortally wounding her. As she falls forward, she attempts to devour him, but misses, and her heavy weight causes a cliff to collapse on top of her to her death. All that is left of her is her robe, with the sword still in it as it blackens.

Other appearancesEdit

File:Maleficent cast member.jpg

Maleficent is a recurring character on the TV series House of Mouse. In "Max's Embarrassing Date" (Episode 21), Maleficent sits across from Jafar in human form, and it was stated by Mickey that the two villains were on a date, after which Maleficent zapped Jafar. In "Halloween with Hades" (Episode 54) Mickey had to help Hades win Maleficent's heart after she turns him down. She also appeared in the spin-off movie, Mickey's House of Villains where she was constantly shown hanging around with Chernabog in her dragon form, hinting another possible relationship. During the Villain's song, "Our House Now", Chernabog wrapped an arm around her dragon form and remarked clearly, "Love your work!"

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

Maleficent's theme (Pas de caractère – Le Chat botté et la Chatte blanche) is heard during the intro of World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. At the end of the intro, the villainous cloaked sorcerer is shown.

Kingdom HeartsEdit

Main article: Kingdom Hearts

Maleficent appears as a major antagonist in the Kingdom Hearts series. She is voiced by Susan Blakeslee in the English version and Toshiko Sawada in the Japanese version. Originally of the world Enchanted Dominion, Maleficent leads the group of Disney Villains who seek to harness the power of darkness within Kingdom Hearts. Recruiting Hades, Captain Hook, Oogie Boogie, Ursula, and Jafar, Maleficent uses the ruins of Hollow Bastion as her base of operations while sending her forces across the worlds to find the Princesses of Heart. In the first Kingdom Hearts, until the appearance of Xehanort, she is built up to be the main antagonist, recruiting Riku to her side by offering him the means to save Kairi after she lost her heart while also manipulating him into believing that, since gaining the Keyblade, Sora stopped caring for him and Kairi and replaced them with Donald Duck and Goofy. However once defeated by Sora, Donald, Goofy and the Beast, Maleficent is unable to defend herself as she is attacked by Riku under the control of Xehanort's Heartless, who then unlocks her heart which transforms her into the darkness within it, her dragon form. Despite her transformation, she is still defeated by Sora, Donald, Goofy and the Beast, and all that is left of her is her robe. Xehanort's Heartless then reappears, telling them that Maleficent was unknowingly just another puppet of the Heartless after all, failing to see the darkness eating away at her own heart. He promptly steps on Maleficent's robe, which fades into thin air.

In the midquel, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories/Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, while Maleficent is still deceased, a memory-based version of herself appears in both Sora's and Riku's storylines. In Sora's story, she again kidnaps Belle and attempts to goad the Beast into succumbing to the darkness, but is foiled by Sora and the others. In Riku's story (Reverse/Rebirth), she again tries to take Riku under her wing and have him succumb to darkness again, but Riku defies and kills her. Still deceased, she is absent in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.

Maleficent is resurrected a year later in Kingdom Hearts II when her raven, Diablo, takes the remains of her robe to Yen Sid's tower in Twilight Town. She is later reunited with her lackey, Pete, who was absent from the first game due to his traveling worlds in order to create a powerful Heartless army for her. Putting her plans to obtain Kingdom Hearts on hold, Maleficent seeks a new base of operations so she can resume her intent, along with getting her revenge on Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Her plans in the game include attempting to take over the Disney Castle of the past, bribing the Kingdom Hearts versions of Yuna, Rikku, and Paine into spying on Leon's group (though the trio ultimately switch sides after being abandoned by Maleficent and told of Sora's cause), sending Pete to different worlds so he would recruit old and new allies such as Hades, Jafar, Hector Barbossa, Scar, and Oogie Boogie. Eventually, she becomes a reluctant ally of Sora, as he can stop Organization XIII before they can get Kingdom Hearts' power instead of her. Last seen, Maleficent and Pete hold the Heartless at bay so Sora can make his way to Xemnas, with Maleficent intending to take the Organization's castle as payment. What happened to her and Pete after Sora defeated Xemnas is unknown.

She is slated to appear in the upcoming prequel to the first game, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, along with her home world, Enchanted Dominion. In the trailer, Maleficent tells Terra about the Princesses of Heart who Master Xehanort is searching for. She also provokes Aqua into fighting her when she tells the girl that Terra is succumbing to darkness in order to gain more power.[4] It is currently unknown if she or a digitized version of herself will appear in the sequel, Kingdom Hearts coded.

Fantasmic!Edit

File:Fantasmic! 2009 Disneyland dragon.jpg
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, the Evil Queen decides 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 KeepersEdit

In the book series by Ridley Pearson, Kingdom Keepers, Maleficent appears as one of the first Overtakers the protagonists encounter 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 fairie could reveal her plans. Despite her power and reputation, Maleficent is one of more powerful Overtakers when she breaks the seal to revive Chernabog as they escape in an ice truck to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Dream Along With MickeyEdit

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's the perfect time for her to return to power and make the Magic Kingdom "the Place Where Nightmares Come True" - a play on the Disney parks' slogan of "the Place Where Dreams 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 PartyEdit

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.

During the Disney Villains Mix and Mingle Halloween Dance Party at that same event, Maleficent hosts the party and summons up all the villains that attend, including her co-host Captain Hook and other villains, such as Cruella De Vil, Judge Claude Frollo, The Queen of Hearts, Jafar, Gaston, and Queen.

Disney on IceEdit

Maleficent appears in the Japanese version of the play Disneyland Adventure (replacing The Incredibles villain Syndrome). When she terrorizes the resort, she puts Minnie and Donald into an eternal sleep, but the Incredible Family manages to defeat her and save Minnie, Donald, and the resort despite multiple setbacks.

Maleficent also appears in "Celebrations" as one of the Villains who shows up at the Halloween party.

ReceptionEdit

Guillermo del Toro has stated that along with Vermithrax in Dragonslayer, Maleficent is his favourite cinematic dragon.[5]

In popular cultureEdit

Maleficent is mentioned in the Nightwish song "FantasMic" from their 2000 album Wishmaster, in the lyrics Maleficent's fury / The spindle so luring.

Elyzia Grimes from the Whateley Academy series attends a Halloween dance dressed as Maleficent, in the story "Insanity Prerequisite - Reincarnation".[6]

In The Worst Witch episode "The Uninvited" Maleficent appears as the villain conjured up to try and save Mildred Hubble from expulsion. Her being conjured from the Mythiocopia was an accident, since they meant to summon a unicorn but there was a missing page. She claims she "was not invited" to the christening of a princess called Beauty as well as mistaking Miss Hardbroom for one of the good fairies. She also mistakes Mildred for the princess and telling her to prick her finger as well as a prince's kiss waking the victims up from her sleep. The episode gave The Uninvited a wodden, gun-like wand that she used to spray victims with cobwebs and put them into an eternal sleep.

References Edit

  1. UltimateDisney.com's Top 30 Disney Villains Countdown
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Maleficent Character History". Disney Archives. http://disney.go.com/vault/archives/villains/maleficent/maleficent.html. 
  3. "Lady Tremaine and Stepsisters Character History". Disney Archives. http://disney.go.com/vault/archives/villains/tremaine/tremaine.html. 
  4. Haynes, Jeff (2008-08-02). "Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Hands-on". IGN. http://psp.ign.com/articles/896/896063p1.html. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  5. An Unexpected Party Chat transcript now available! from Weta Holics
  6. Insanity Prerequsite Part 4 – Reincarnation

External links Edit

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