Editor’s Note: Babble is a part of The Walt Disney Company.
Four years ago this month, Angelina Jolie brought one of the most treacherous villains of all time to life in Disney’s live-action film, Maleficent. The film was filled with dazzling special effects and emotional plot lines — and much to our surprise, we found ourselves shedding real tears for the evil, horned sorceress after her painful past was revealed to us.
Well good news, Maleficent fans: Disney just announced that filming has already begun on its long-awaited sequel, Maleficent II (yay!), and by the looks of the cast, we’re all in for a serious treat.
According to a press release from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the sequel will once again star Jolie and Elle Fanning (who you might also know from The Beguiled, and for being Dakota’s little sister). We’ll also see several other familiar faces from the last film, like Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville, who play the three pixies.
Maleficent II will also bring onboard a slew of new cast members, including Michelle Pfeiffer (who needs no introduction), Chiwetel Ejofor (Doctor Strange), Ed Skrein (Deadpool), and Harris Dickinson (The Darkest Minds) as Prince Phillip. (No, not that Prince Phillip — the one who manages to rescue Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent’s evil spell.)
If you saw the first film, you probably remember most how it hit you right in the feels, in all sorts of unexpected ways. And if you saw the film after becoming a mother, you probably were unable to shake many of the strong parenting themes that ran throughout.
Maleficent picked up before there ever was a Princess Aurora, by introducing us to its main character when she was just a young, impressionable girl herself — one not seemingly capable of ever doing something as cruel as casting a lifelong curse upon a baby.
In doing so, it tells the untold story of one of Disney’s most iconic villains, by revealing the many painful moments from her childhood that “hardened” Maleficent’s heart in the first place. Moments that left her wounded and vulnerable and emotionally scarred. Moments that — instead of making her kind or empathetic — left her bitter and vengeful.
In so many ways, the beautiful tragedy of Maleficent is wrapped up in the message that so much of who we become is tied to who we once were and what was done or said to us; and yet, we still have the power to choose love over hate.
According to Disney, Maleficent II picks up several years after the first film leaves off, and continues to explore the “complex relationship” between its title character and the soon-to-be Queen, as they each “form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within.”
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what this next chapter brings. If Maleficent II is even half as visually stunning and emotionally heart-tugging as its predecessor, I doubt I’ll be leaving the theater with dry eyes.