The long-developing Maleficent 2 looks like it’s finally, actually going to happen. The 2014 movie was one of Disney’s first major attempts to re-tell one of their animated stories in live-action form, and it was a pretty hefty success scoring $758.5 million at the box office. The studio put a sequel into development immediately, but a combination of Angelina Jolie’s busy schedule and the ramping up of other live-action adaptations like Cinderella and The Jungle Book put Maleficent 2 on the backburner for a bit.
But now the sequel is happening, as Deadline reports that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales co-director Joachim Rønning is in talks to take the helm. Rønning took over the Pirates franchise with his Kon-Tiki co-director Espen Sandberg, and while the sequel grossed only $172 million domestic and received lukewarm reviews, it soared internationally to a worldwide total of $794.6 million. Clearly in the eyes of Disney, that movie was a success, and they were happy enough with Rønning’s work to offer him Maleficent 2.
The first Maleficent marked the directorial debut of Oscar-winning production designer and visual effects artist Robert Stromberg, with John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks) coming in to help with reshoots. It didn’t ever really feel like Stromberg would be returning for a sequel, but the offer has been on the table for Jolie to return when and if she desired for some time now. With Rønning’s hiring (no doubt with the blessing of Jolie), it appears this thing is a go.
Linda Woolverton returned to write the script for Maleficent 2 alongside Jez Butterworth (Spectre, Black Mass), and filming is now expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018, making this Jolie’s first onscreen role since 2015’s By the Sea, which she also directed.
No release date is set yet, but I imagine Maleficent 2 will be in theaters in 2020 or 2021.