Back in February, a report surfaced that Angelina Jolie is planning a return to acting, with Disney’s Maleficent sequel said to be at the top of the list. The actress hasn’t appeared on the big screen since the 2015 movie By the Sea, which she also directed, although she did return to voice Tigress in the animated sequel Kung Fu Panda 3 last year. While promoting her new directorial effort First They Killed My Father, which debuted at the Telluride Film Festival over the weekend, Angelina Jolie confirmed that Maleficent 2 is still happening. Here’s what she had to say below.
“We have been working on the script and this is going to be a really strong sequel.”
These comments from Angelina Jolie’s Deadline interview come roughly a year and a half after Disney confirmed Maleficent 2 is actually happening. The news didn’t come as too much of a surprise, since Maleficent was one of Disney’s hits that ushered in a new era of live-action fairy tale reboots. Maleficent earned $241.2 million domestic and $758.5 million worldwide, from a $180 million budget during its theatrical release in the summer of 2014. A sequel was certainly inevitable, but it remains to be seen who else will be involved.
Last week, we got the first update on this project in quite some time, with the news that writer Jez Butterworth (Spectre) will write the screenplay for Maleficent 2. This project comes after the writer worked on the script for another Disney live-action reboot, Cruella, a spin-off of 101 Dalmatians that features Emma Stone as the title character. Joe Roth has been tapped to produce the sequel, although it still has yet to be confirmed as the director. Robert Stromberg, a longtime production designer, made his directorial debut with the original Maleficent, although there has been no word yet on whether or not he will be back at the helm for this sequel.
It’s possible that Angelina Jolie may actually direct the sequel herself, since she is now an accomplished filmmaker in her own right, but there has been no clear-cut indication that she would be willing to both star and direct. The filmmaker typically doesn’t star in the movies she directs, since she didn’t appear in In the Land of Blood and Honey, Unbroken and First They Killed My Father, although she did star in her third directorial effort, By the Sea, alongside her then-husband Brad Pitt. While she typically directs movies that have smaller budgets, Unbroken did have a quite larger budget, so it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see her make the transition back to the director’s chair for this Disney sequel.
The original Maleficent movie followed the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic Sleeping Beauty and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever. As for Maleficent 2, no details have been given for the story thus far, but perhaps we’ll find out more when the project starts production, although it remains to be seen when that will actually happen.