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Maleficent 3 - Will It Ever Happen?

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In 2014, Angelina Jolie and her pointy prosthetic cheekbones turned one of the best Disney animated villains of all-time into a surprisingly intriguing character in "Maleficent," the live-action dark fantasy take on Walt Disney's legendary "Sleeping Beauty." With a star-studded cast and a curious twist that transformed the namesake evil fairy into a sympathetic antihero — while making Princess Aurora's (Elle Fanning) father, King Stefan (Sharlto Copley), the true villain — "Maleficent" made a cool $758 million against a $180 million budget. As such, it's not exactly a surprise that Disney decided to give the viewers more Jolie-ficent adventures. 

The sequel, "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil," dropped in 2019, and it set Maleficent and Aurora against their greatest challenge yet: Queen Ingrith of Ulstead (Michelle Pfeiffer), an antagonist out to destroy all fairies. With the two movies establishing a pretty neat fantasy universe around the "Sleeping Beauty" characters, it's only natural to expect that Disney intends to keep the ball rolling with future installments of the franchise. However, will we actually be returning to this enchanted world with a "Maleficent 3," or is the series now in a deep, deep sleep?

Is Maleficent 3 happening?

There's no official word on "Maleficent 3" yet, though that may very well have to do with the fact that "Mistress of Evil" was released on October 18, 2019, and soon after it finished its theater rounds, the COVID-19 pandemic sent the movie industry in disarray. Rotten Tomatoes reviews weren't all that kind to "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" either, but judging by the movie's box office success, a third installment may still be in the cards. "Mistress of Evil" didn't earn quite as much as its predecessor, but with a worldwide gross of nearly $492 million against a budget of $185 million, it wouldn't exactly be a shock if Disney still decided to go for a threequel.

Of course, Angelina Jolie would need to clear some room on her calendar. She's been pretty busy in recent years, starring in projects such as "Eternals," "Those Who Wish Me Dead," and "Kung Fu Panda 4." She's also been busy behind the camera, directing the war-time drama "Without Blood." On top of all that, there's been no indication from Disney that a third "Maleficent" movie is in the works, so we can't even begin to predict when the film might hit theater screens. Instead, the House of Mouse is focused on other live-action projects such as "Bambi," "The Aristocats," and "Tron: Ares."

Who could star in Maleficent 3?

Considering that the series is called "Maleficent," it's almost a given that for a third movie to get made, Angelina Jolie would have to return as the titular character. Elle Fanning's Aurora and Harris Dickinson's Prince Phillip are also virtually guaranteed to return, seeing as they are still very much alive at the end of "Mistress of Evil" and more married than ever. 

Maleficent's loyal raven-human companion Diaval (Sam Riley) is also still around, and since Maleficent becomes more and more involved with her Dark Fey background over the course of the sequel, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the remaining Dark Fey leader Borra (Ed Skrein) either. Oh, and for those looking forward to the fairy trio of Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), Thistlewit (Juno Temple), and Flittle (Lesley Manville) again, that's unlikely to happen. After all, they're now a fairy duo after Flittle sacrifices herself in "Mistress of Evil."

One particularly interesting potential cast member is Michelle Pfeiffer ... but not in the way you remember her from "Mistress of Evil." Unlike King Stefan in the first movie, Pfeiffer's Queen Ingrith actually survives her stint as an antagonist, though Maleficent does turn her into a goat until further notice. While it's unlikely that "Maleficent 3" would feature the same antagonist as the previous movie, she is still Aurora's mother-in-law and could potentially still be around in some way or shape. Of course, at this point, it's all pure speculation on our part.

What could Maleficent 3 explore?

"Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" does a lot of world-building, which effectively gives "Maleficent 3" the opportunity to go any way it pleases. Maleficent's heritage as a Dark Fey and the various magical people in the franchise open the door for going all in with wild fantasy and moving past the previous movies' "Maleficent against a creepy member of royalty" narrative. As such, if one had to hazard a guess, the movie might feature Maleficent facing a magical creature of equal or greater power or some other force that can genuinely challenge her magic. 

That being said, there is one thing you can expect to see in "Maleficent 3," and that's Maleficent's return to Aurora and Phillip. "Mistress of Evil" ends with a promise that the powerful Fey will make her grand return to the Moors when Aurora and Phillip have a child, so it's likely that the third movie makes good on that tease with a newborn. You never know — maybe this time, some other angry, superpowered fairy in design clothing will storm into the christening to curse the kid, and Maleficent will have to deal with the mess. 

Where to watch the previous Maleficent movies

While we're waiting for the third installment in the "Maleficent" franchise to hopefully one day get a greenlight, it might be a good idea to check out the previous Disney tales. The dark magic gets started with 2014's "Maleficent," which puts a sympathetic spin on the traditionally evil fairy queen and shines new light on the classic Disney story. You can rent the original flick on Amazon Video, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.

In the sequel, "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil," the titular mistress finds herself up against a truly dastardly queen who has some murderous plans for the local fairy folk. While the film wasn't as well-received as the first one, it does feature Angelina Jolie up against Michelle Pfeiffer, so that's a lot of A-list talent right there. You can stream the sequel on Disney+ or rent it on Amazon Video, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.