Angelina Jolie is back as the horned fairy in the trailer for Disney's Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Released in 2014, the original Maleficent was a live-action movie that reimagined Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of its villain, and revealed the dark truth behind why she cursed Princess Aurora in the first place. And while the film drew mixed reviews overall, it was also praised for its revisionist fairy tale approach and earned $759 million at the global box office. As a result, the Mouse House ultimately decided to move ahead with a sequel, with Jolie and Elle Fanning reprising their respective roles as the fully-grown Maleficent and teenaged Aurora.
Directed by Joachim Rønning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) and co-written by Maleficent writer Linda Woolverton, Mistress of Evil picks up some years after its predecessor, as Aurora prepares to become queen of her kingdom. The film was originally slated to reach theaters in May 2020, but was moved forward several months to October 2019 back in March, ahead of Disney finalizing its purchase of Fox's movie and TV assets. There hasn't really been any marketing for the sequel since then, but that's changing this week.
The Maleficent: Mistress of Evil teaser trailer is now online, ahead of its premiere in theaters with (presumably) Disney's live-action Aladdin. You can check it out in the space below.
Set (appropriately) to the tune of "Season of the Witch", the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil teaser features plenty of CGI eye candy and striking shots of Jolie getting her witch on, but not a whole lot in the way of plot details. That said, the trailer suggests Maleficent will (for as-yet unspecified reasons) find herself at odds with Michelle Pfeiffer's Queen Ingrith during the sequel, and ultimately have to resort to using some of her dark magic, much to Aurora's chagrin. This also helps to explain the movie's subtitle, Mistress of Evil, which initially seemed to conflict with Maleficent's character arc in the first film and its portrayal of her as a victim of assault who ultimately becomes "evil" to protect herself. Judging by the teaser, however, the horned fairy will have to embrace her dark side once again when new dangers present themselves and threaten not only her, but Aurora as well.
All in all, it seems Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is making a real effort to build upon its predecessor's story and themes in a meaningful way, as opposed to merely rehashing them. Disney and Woolverton had (at best) mixed success when they tried to do something similar with the Alice in Wonderland sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, a few years back, but there's a fair chance things will work out better this time. No doubt, Mistress of Evil will benefit from having a strong cast that, in addition to Pfeiffer, Jolie, and Fanning, includes franchise newcomers like Ed Skrein (Deadpool), David Gyasi (Annihilation), and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Jolie's Salt costar) as, reportedly, Maleficent's romantic foil. However things work out here, it's nice to have a new live-action Disney movie that isn't simply trying to retell or re-imagine a story everyone's already heard before.
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) release date: Oct 18, 2019