Maleficent is the antagonist of Disney’s 1959 Sleeping Beauty.   She is a wicked faery who has the magical ability to transform into a dragon.   In 2014 the story of Sleeping Beauty was re-imagined in Disney’s Maleficent.   She was portrayed by Angelina Jolie, and Elle Fanning brought life to Aurora!   In 2019 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil continued the tale of the faerie.   In the television series Once Upon a Time, Kristin Bauer van Straten portrayed Maleficent beginning in season one episode two.   In season four of the show Maleficent becomes a main villain!

In the original animated version made the role of this evil faerie iconic.   The animated Maleficent had green skin and wore all black with her famous horns.   During the battle with Prince Phillip Maleficent used her magic to transform into a dragon.

Once Upon a Time brought Maleficent into live action for the first time (it premiered in 2011).   Kristin Bauer van Straten was pitch perfect in the role, and I loved the idea of Pam from True Blood playing my favorite Disney villain!   The role was then taken on by Angelina Jolie, who played a misunderstood anti-heroine.   

Maleficent became the first Disney villain to get a re-write making her a misunderstood figure.   I love that she is shown to be a lovable faerie who is a protector of the Moors.   In the second film we get to see Maleficent interact with other faeries of her same type!   This made for an interesting story arch.

In both the first and second film we see Maleficent as a maternal figure to Aurora.   She cared for her throughout her childhood, and became a true fairy godmother to her when she was a teenager.   Flipping tradition on its ear, they chose to have true love’s kiss happen between Maleficent and Aurora.   So Maleficent literally become the hero to a break a curse she had placed in the beginning of the film!

I hope that this post has made you interested in the beauty of the villain Maleficent.    She is not just a villain, but also an anti-heroine, and even a true hero in her own right.   In the modern day we see that this supposedly evil faerie character is much more nuanced and complex than we could have ever thought!

Note on Image: The image at the top of the page is a picture of Kristin Bauer van Straten as Maleficent and the original animated character.   I found the image on      

Further Watching

  • Maleficent (2014)
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • Once Upon a Time (2011-2018)