Maleficent 2 filming is now underway, as Disney has announced that production has begun in the U.K. on the fantasy sequel. The follow-up finds Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales co-director Joachim Rønning stepping into the director’s chair after Robert Stromberg helmed the 2014 film. Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning reprise their roles as Maleficent and Aurora, respectively, and the story picks up several years after the events of the initial movie as it chronicles the relationship between the horned fairy and the soon-to-be Queen as they struggle to protect the moors.
The official synopsis for Maleficent 2 is as follows:
A fantasy adventure that picks up several years after “Maleficent,” in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney’s most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora, “Maleficent II” continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen, as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within.
Officially titled Maleficent II, the cast also includes Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith and Harris Dickinson as Prince Philip, with Chitwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Robert Lindsay filling out the new additions. Reprising their roles from the first Maleficent are Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton returned to pen the screenplay for Maleficent 2, but the script is also credited to Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (Transparent) who apparently did further work on the screenplay.
Maleficent came on the heels of Disney’s 2010 mega-hit Alice in Wonderland as the studio dipped its toe into the waters of revisiting their animated classics catalogue. This film in particular aimed to put a twist on Sleeping Beauty by telling an origin story from the antagonist’s point of view, and it was a success at the box office to the tune of $758 million worldwide.
While Disney found even greater success with subsequent adaptations like The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, the studio had a standing offer for Jolie to return and continue the Maleficent franchise. It appears she bit, and now we’ll see how this story progresses.
Maleficent II doesn’t yet have a release date.