The trailer for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil gives fans their first look at the upcoming Disney sequel, but what song plays over the footage? Over the past several years, the Mouse House has been in the business of making live-action re-imaginings of some of their most enduring animated classics. One of the most successful examples of this strategy is the original Maleficent, which is inspired by Sleeping Beauty. In a twist, it tells the story from the perspective of, well, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) to provide a fresh spin on the source material.
Maleficent was one of the biggest box office hits in 2014, earning $758 million globally against a production budget that was anywhere between $180-263 million. A sequel first entered development back in 2015, and it's now just a handful of months from entering theaters. In March, Disney officially announced the Mistress of Evil subtitle and confirmed an October 2019 release date. A couple of months after that development, the studio finally kicked off the marketing campaign with a teaser trailer, and it sports a rather appropriate soundtrack to boot.
The Mistress of Evil trailer is set to "Season of the Witch," which was originally released by Donovan in 1966. It appeared on his album Sunshine Superman. Since then, the song has been covered several times and been used in a plethora of movies, TV shows, and commercials. For the Maleficent trailer, Disney used a version by Audiomachine (ft. MOLLY).
It goes without saying there are a number of sonic and stylistic differences between Donovan's rendition and the one that appears in the trailer. Donovan's version of "Season of the Witch" is considered one of the first examples of psychedelic rock, while the Maleficent preview incorporates a more modern, moody recording. The trope of playing slowed down, haunting covers of classic pop songs in movie trailers has been going on for quite some time, with too many recent examples to list in this space. From the looks of it, the trend still has some life and isn't close to being over.
Lyrically, there may not be much correlation between "Season of the Witch" and Mistress of Evil, but one can understand why this particular song was chosen for the trailer. The title itself could be interpreted as an allusion to Maleficent, who is an evil fairy and uses her magical powers of malicious intent. It's worth noting that the first Maleficent film looked to add more nuance and complexities to its main character, fleshing out her story so she wasn't just a one-note antagonist. Hopefully the sequel follows suit in that regard, but either way it seems like this October will be the Season of the Witch.
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) release date: Oct 18, 2019