The production of the live-action Disney sequel Maleficent 2 is reportedly moving forward again, with news of the appointment of a new scriptwriter. Jez Butterworth is the writer of several significant movies and Disney has hired him to revise the screenplay to the follow-up of one of their biggest box-office hits.

The original Maleficent was released in 2014, and starred Angelina Jolie as the live-action incarnation of the witch from the classic animated film Sleeping Beauty. This version of the story however explored her background and cast her in a more sympathetic light within the tale, making her the reluctant anti-hero with the ill-intentioned king being the real villain of the piece. The film went on to be a substantial money-earner for Disney, making a worldwide gross of $758m and becoming the fourth-highest-grossing movie of that year, topping box-office charts around the globe. Therefore the announcement in 2015 that a sequel was in development with the original screenwriter — Linda Woolverton — penning the screenplay, was no great surprise. Despite the film remaining on Disney’s schedules, there have been no real updates on the pre-production of the film since then.

Related: Angelina Jolie Reportedly Considering Maleficent 2

However, it has now been reported by The Tracking Board that Disney has tapped Butterworth to rewrite the existing script for Maleficent 2. He will apparently be revising the initial screenplay from Woolverton and producing an updated version for filming. Original producer Joe Roth is still attached the project, as is Jolie who recently indicated that she would be interested in reprising the role, depending on her commitments. Butterworth has an existing relationship with the company, having just worked on the screenplay for Cruella, the new live-action version of the 101 Dalmatians villain.

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Butterworth also has form with a number of other well-regarded projects over the past few years, having written studio movies like Spectre and Edge of Tomorrow. He’s also respected as a playwright and recently co-created the new historical Amazon series Brittania, which stars David Morrissey, Kelly Reilly, and Mackenzie Crook. So despite the change of writer, Disney shows confidence in his output and he has the ability to produce quality screenplays.

It’s interesting to see that Jolie still remains onboard with project as well, depending on how her current schedule and humanitarian work fits in with the shooting. The original film certainly left itself open to continuation, particularly as the character had gone through a form of redemption to some extent. Despite mixed reviews and opinions it also remains her highest grossing film, with only Kung Fu Panda coming close to the same figures. There are no further details on release dates or other cast members yet. But with all the various other live-action Disney films in production — with the next one expected to be Dumbo — it will be interesting to see how Maleficent 2 now pans out as pre-production is finally moving forward.

Next: ‘Maleficent’ Sequel in Development With Linda Woolverton Writing Script

Source: The Tracking Board

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