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Sharp as a thorn, I'm Maleficent
―Teenage Maleficent during Descendants: The Rise of Red in "Life Is Sweeter"

Maleficent is the main antagonist of the Disney 1959 animated feature film Sleeping Beauty and Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants. She is the leader of the Villains. She is also Mal's mother, and Hades' ex-wife. Maleficent is considered the most dangerous and feared villainess, such that invoking her name strikes fear and terror in people's hearts. In her teen years, she was also a member of Uliana's Villain Kids Clique and a student at Merlin Academy.

While older Maleficent is portrayed by Kristin Chenoweth in Descendants, the teenage version of her is portrayed by Mars in Descendants: The Rise of Red.

Background Information


Maleficent, on top of her deviousness, is very misleading in her personality. But, underneath the mask of stoicism, Maleficent unleashes the full brunt of her wrath with a smile. A sign she relishes in the pain of others. This is displayed during her first appearance during Aurora's birthday ceremony. When Merryweather states bluntly, "You weren't wanted," Maleficent pretends to be shocked and hurt, remarking, "In that event I'd best be on my way." But then she turned around and cast a curse upon Aurora, cackling in the sweet revenge she attained. She is not at all comical or goofy like some of the other Disney villains, although she does at times display something of a dark sense of humor. Her minions are a legion of goblins and troll-like creatures. She is also frequently accompanied by her pet raven called Diablo, and seems to see him as a valuable asset.

Maleficent has no real motivation for her evil, making her arguably little more than a vicious animal (which is later shown when she turns into a dragon). Although she is soft spoken, proper and elegant, underneath she is simply a monster who enjoys being evil. When Maleficent and Mal have a disagreement they stare into each other’s eyes until one of them gives up. Maleficent notably sees love as a weakness and brutality and sadism as a strength.

She's sadistic and merciless, which is proven when she mercilessly places a sleeping spell on Stefan's baby daughter, Aurora, that before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a sleep like death, leaving Stefan's castle with a sadistically laugh at the sweet revenge she just attained. She also forces and enjoys watching Stefan plead for his young daughter's life. She even enjoys taunting her daughter frequently, and although she seems to care for Mal and to a lesser extent Hades, she often troubles and manipulates them, which is what led Hades to divorce her.

Physical Appearance

Maleficent appears in the form of a tall, slender, beautiful, pale green-skinned (although some appearances of her depict her with gray skin) woman with a narrow face and a prominent chin. She also has yellow eyes and black horns (it is unknown if those are her horns, or a headdress, or simply a hair style), which is symbolic of her dark magic. She is clad in a black-and-purple robe with bat wing-like edges, and wears a gold ring with a large mysterious circular black stone in it. Both the horned headdress and bat wing-like robe represent and foreshadow her dragon form.

In Descendants: The Rise of Red, the younger version of Maleficent is a light-skinned girl with long black hair that's not only in a ponytail but also covers up her horns that was decorated with black rhinestones. She has blue eyes covered with purple shadow and wears red lipstick. She mostly wears purple and black, multiple chains and rings. Her primary outfit is a long-sleeve purple high-necked sweater, a dark purple drape hanging from one shoulder, a black corset turned skirt, a studded belt, black fishnet leggings with solid black stripes, and black combat boots with purple painted flames resembling her daughter’s boots in Descendants 3. She accessorizes with layers of metallic necklaces that changes from purple to green, multiple rings around her neck and one purple fingerless glove.


Maleficent is an evil Fairy, unlike the other three fairy godmothers in the movie and her evil enables her to perform many magical and powerful spells. She carries a staff with a glowing green orb at the tip through which she casts her spells, which include an ability to teleport herself, or send bolts of lightning at enemies. She is also capable of shape shifting at will into numerous forms, including a floating hypnotic light resembling a will-o'-the-wisp and a massive, monstrous black-and-purple dragon. It appears that she posses some level of enhanced strength as she was Jay aside. She seems to have a minor quirk in regards to holding light objects, as she seems to extend her pinkie when holding a torch in the forward direction, as evidenced during her capture of Prince Phillip.


Before the formation of Auradon

      Further information: Sleeping Beauty

Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty

Maleficent as she appears originally in Sleeping Beauty.

After showing up uninvited to Princess Aurora's baptism, Maleficent cursed the princess that on her sixteenth birthday she would prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die instantly. Years later, after Aurora was hidden by the Three Good Fairies to protect her from the curse, Maleficent asked her faithful raven, Diablo, to go find the place where she is.

After Diablo found the fairies in a cabin in the forest and heard from Aurora that she hoped to meet a boy that night, Maleficent put her plan into action, causing Aurora to fall into a deep sleep, and went to the cabin in the forest. to ambush the boy who would break the curse, being surprised that the boy was Prince Philip, whom he locked up in his castle on Forbidden Mountain.

When she discovered that Philip managed to escape thanks to the Three Fairies, Maleficent tried to stop them, and summoned brambles around the castle where Aurora was located so that they could not get there. Seeing that Philip managed to break through, Maleficent turned into a dragon to confront him and the fairies. However, thanks to the prince's sword and the magic of the fairies, Maleficent ended up being defeated.

Isle of the Lost

In the prelude novella, it is stated that Maleficent became the official ruler of the Isle of the Lost. Since the Evil Queen also wanted to rule the Isle, they became rivals. In some point before the events of the book, Maleficent had a "moment of weakness" with an unknown human male (who is later revealed to actually be the god Hades, not a human at all) became pregnant with a girl. Maleficent named her baby girl her own name, but nicknamed her "Mal" since she didn't believe her daughter can be truly evil. Six years later, after finding out that the Evil Queen didn't invite Mal to her daughter Evie's birthday party, she banished both females from the main city and for eternity; however, after ten years, Evie and her mother returned to the lone isle, but Maleficent wasn't aware of that at first, as she doesn't really care. When Carlos, the son of Cruella De Vil, breaks the magical barrier for a second, Maleficent's pet Diablo is freed of his stone curse and senses that The Eye of the Dragon (Maleficent's Scepter) awakes too. He travels to the city in the Isle of the Lost and finds Maleficent, who orders her daughter Mal to recover the Eye of the Dragon (which is located in Maleficent's Castle). Mal departs to find the Eye with Carlos, Evie and Jay (the son of Jafar), but since Maleficent doesn't trust Mal, she secretly orders Diablo to follow Mal and retrieve the Eye. Although her suspicious became true when Diablo comes back with the Eye and Mal with empty hands, she was shocked when she realized Mal was able to find the Eye of the Dragon in her old throne hall, but quickly becomes disappointed when Mal admits that she touched the Eye instead of tricking someone else to touch it first, since Maleficent cursed the Eye to make anyone else fall in a 1000 years sleep (which was Mal's original plan; Mal wanted revenge on Evie, so she was supposed to force Evie to touch the Eye's crystal).



When Maleficent finds out about Prince Ben's proclamation to take her daughter along with Evie, Carlos De Vil, and Jay to take them to Auradon and to join society again, Maleficent "joins" forces with The Evil Queen, Jafar, and Cruella De Vil and orders Mal and her friends to steal Fairy Godmother's Magic Wand in order to use it to bend both good and evil at her will. Much for her disbelief, Mal doesn't want to go with the plan. Maleficent forces Mal into a magical "staring contest" in order to establish her power over Mal's, who loses and finally accepts to go on with the plan with the other three. Maleficent gives Mal her own magical spell book in order to make the task easier and warns Mal not to blow it.

When Mal and her friends show up in The Museum of Cultural History to steal the magic wand, they found wax figures of their parents. Mal asks her mother to tell her what to do and Maleficent's statue comes to life and encourage Mal to keep her evil ways, promising that they will rule together as mother and daughter and eventually she will take her place.

A few weeks later she and the other three villains got a video chat call with the kids; Maleficent makes jokes about the Fairy Godmother about the magic she performed for Cinderella (which Fairy Godmother didn't take very well) and asks Mal (hiding her real intentions as motherly love) when she will have the wand; she gets a little annoyed when Mal informs her mother that they need to wait until Ben's coronation, but when Cruella interrupts her to scream to her son so she can no longer interrogate Mal about the plan.

Days later, at Prince Ben's coronation, she is shocked when she sees Mal looking like a princess and by Ben's side (reported by Snow White), but prays to her daughter to not “blow it". In the coronation, Fairy Godmother's daughter Jane steals her mother's wand in order to give herself a magical makeover like Cinderella's, but by mistake destroys the magical barrier of the Isle of the Lost. After recovering her old magic, Maleficent shows up in the coronation and orders Mal (who took the magic wand out of Jane's hand) to give her the wand, unknowing that her daughter and her friends vow to be good moments earlier. Mal gives the magic wand to Fairy Godmother, but Maleficent casts a frozen spell on everybody (except herself, her daughter and her friends) and takes the wand out of Fairy Godmother's hand. Mal and her mother have an argument about Mal's choices and, even for Maleficent's astonishment, successfully cast a spell to take the wand out of Maleficent's hand. Maleficent becomes furious and demands Mal to give the wand back to her. But Carlos says "Maybe good really is more powerful than evil." Maleficent laughs at this and then Dude comes up to her. She shoves him off and Jay comes and grabs hold of her staff, causing it to glow green. She feels Jay's arms, commenting on how jealous Gaston would be and thumps him on the forehead, laughs again, and transforms herself into her dragon form. After Evie blinds her with light from her magic mirror, she and Mal have another staring contest, but Mal cast a spell three times ("The strength of evil is good as none, when stands before four hearts as one!") and fights back. Maleficent's dragon form can't stand all the goodness and love and transforms into a little lizard, which is the same size as the love in her heart. Later propaganda states that Maleficent was put in a "tiny cell", but the Auradon residents don't know where she's been kept.

Return to the Isle of the Lost

As Maleficent is now a harmless gecko, she is put in a small cage safe-guarded constantly. Maleficent only sleeps in the cage, ignoring even Mal. When inhabitants of Camelot Heights report spotting a dragon, they suspect it to be Maleficent's doing. Ben goes on to investigate, going as far as Neverland to look through the fairies' records on magical beings. Ultimately, they learn that Madam Mim was causing all the disturbances.

Rise of the Isle of the Lost

Mal kept Maleficent's lizard form as a pet during the events of this story, and Maleficent doesn’t really do too much.

Descendants 2

In Descendants 2, Maleficent only appears in lizard form. Her scales are green in the film. She's seen in a small box in Mal's dorm room with a sign next to the box that says "Don't Feed My Mom". However, she is taken with Mal back to the Isle, where she is implied to have escaped from her as Mal does not bring her back from it.

Descendants 3

Although Maleficent does not make an appearance in the third film, her voice is heard in one scene and it is revealed that the unknown male with whom she conceived Mal with was actually not a "weak human" at all, but rather, Hades, Greek god of the Underworld, who was banished to the Isle and was also Maleficent's ex-husband. At some point, the two powerful villains married (most likely common-law) and gave birth to Mal, with Hades walking out on Maleficent soon after. He later stated that his reasons for leaving included the fact that the evil fairy was not "the easiest person to get along with." It is unknown why Maleficent chose to lie to Mal about her father's status and say he was a "weak human." Speculations include that it could have been out of shame and embarrassment, as Hades as a god would potentially be more powerful than herself. Thus, she could have lied to protect her own pride. Or, on the isle, without his Godly Powers, Hades was a "weak human".

Descendants: The Royal Wedding

Maleficent appears at her daughter's wedding, still in the form of a lizard, despite the fact that being in the Isle should have reversed the curse (it’s also possible she chose to remain as a lizard for unknown reasons). She gets chased into the chapel by Dude, causing a ruckus that nearly sets the chapel on fire. She later carries a wedding ring for her daughter at the impromptu ceremony where she is placed on Hades's shoulder. When it is time to exchange rings, she hands it over to Evie.

In this movie, Maleficent appears to be bigger than the previous installments and is quite friendly towards Mal, Hades and everyone else, possibly suggesting that the love in her heart is growing. She even seems to share a moment with Hades, despite still being willing to cause trouble.

Descendants: The Rise of Red

Red and Chloe meet young Maleficent in the past as a student at Merlin Academy and a member of Uliana's group, she being Hades' girlfriend at that time. She and the rest of Uliana's Gang appear while Bridget is handing out cupcakes to the students, until Uliana snatches them and eats the decorative flamingo feathers, whereupon Maleficent and the rest of her gang mock Bridget. But the feathers make Uliana's face transform into that of a flamingo, and after chasing Bridget for it without success, she and her gang retreat.

Afterwards, Maleficent and the rest of the gang go to Uliana's lair in the Black Lagoon, where they plan to get revenge on Bridget, intending to steal the Sorcerer's Cookbook for it.

At Merlin Academy, after leaving Morgie watching, Maleficent goes with Uliana, Hades and Hook to Principal Merlin's office to look for the book. After finding it on the floor, they open it, but the book causes the four to become petrified. Because of this, Red and Chloe, who were already there, appear before them and snatch the book from them. After that, Principal Merlin arrives, finding the four young villains petrified, and telling them that as punishment they will be like this for a long time.




Descendants: The Rise of Red

Group songs



  • Her name means "to do evil or harm; harmfully malicious". It can also be seen as a portmanteau of the words "malevolent" and "magnificent" and "magnify" and "magnification".
  • She later shrank to the size of the love in her heart which was a lizard that Mal kept in her room at Auradon prep
  • In The Isle of the Lost, it's revealed that Maleficent suffered a pain in the chest, due to Prince Phillip stabbing her in the chest while she was in her Dragon Form fighting him, but other than that once back to the Isle she is fine.
  • Unlike most Disney Villains who speak to their respective heroines, Maleficent does have any physical contact with Aurora.
  • In The Isle of the Lost, Maleficent states that after she was killed by Prince Phillip, she woke up on an abandoned island (later to be revealed to be the Isle of the Lost).
  • Maleficent's crimes were:
  • She was voiced by Eleanor Audley in Sleeping Beauty, who also voiced Lady Tremaine in Cinderella. She was specifically chosen to voice Maleficent because of her having earlier brought Lady Tremaine to chilling vocal life, as they needed a powerful voice for someone as evil as Maleficent.
  • She is the first Disney Villain to turn into an animal. The second is Madam Mim, the third was Jafar, the fourth and fifth were Pain and Panic and the sixth was Yzma.
  • The scream that Maleficent lets out when Prince Phillip hurls the Sword of Truth into her heart is recycled from the Evil Queen's scream when she was killed.
  • In the original French story, the wicked fairy had not been invited, because for more than fifty years she had never left a certain tower and was thought to be dead or enchanted.
  • Curiously, the episode "Halloween with Hades" of the television series House of Mouse that is set outside the Descendants timeline, focused on a plot in which Hades fell in love with Maleficent. It is likely that this episode served as inspiration for the relationship between the two in Descendants.
  • She is one of the few Disney characters to say the word "hell". Another Disney Villain to use the word "hell" would be Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, during his song "Hellfire".
  • Maleficent and the other good fairies appear to hold noble titles or a high form of status in the kingdom, as they are addressed at Aurora's christening with the term "excellency". It is used by the herald when he announces the arrival of Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather by calling each of them "Mistress", as well as when Queen Leah asks Maleficent if she was upset about not being invited, "...and you're not offended, Your Excellency?"
  • She was a core member of Uliana's Gang when she was younger.


v - e - d
The Isle of the Lost Logo
Descendants in the later film: MalJayEvieCarlos De VilBenAudrey
Other Descendants: Claudine FrolloGaston Jr.Gaston the ThirdSammy SmeeBig MurphLeFou DeuxYzlaHarry BadunJace BadunDiego De VilHarriet HookAnthony TremaineClay ClaytonRick RatcliffeBeelzebubOthelloLagan and Derelict
Isle of the Lost Inhabitants: MaleficentDiabloEvil QueenJafarDr. FacilierLady TremaineMother GothelYen SidCruella De VilCaptain HookClaude FrolloRatigan
Auradon Inhabitants: BeastBelleThe Council of Sidekicks (Grumpy - Genie - Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather - Flounder - Ariel's Sisters - Pongo - Perdita - Jaq - Gus - Mary) • Magic MirrorKing StefanQueen Leah
Isle of the LostHell HallAuradon
Descendants (follow-up film)
v - e - d
Descendants Logo 2
Descendants: MalJayEvieCarlos De VilBenAudreyLonnieJaneChad CharmingDoug
Disney Characters: BelleBeastFairy GodmotherSnow WhiteQueen LeahMaleficentJafarEvil QueenCruella De Vil
Original Characters: Coach JenkinsMr. DeleyDude the DogMuseum Guard
Deleted Characters: Aziz
Songs: Rotten to the CoreEvil Like MeDid I MentionIf OnlyBe Our GuestIf Only (Reprise)Set It OffBelieve
AuradonIsle of the LostAuradon Prep
Maleficent's ScepterMal's Spell BookMagic MirrorMagic Wand
v - e - d
Descendants 2 Logo (1)
Descendants: MalJayEvieCarlos De VilBenLonnieJaneChad CharmingDougUmaHarry HookGilDizzy Tremaine
Disney Characters: BelleBeastFairy GodmotherLumiereMaleficentLady TremaineUrsula
Original Characters: Dude the DogLost Revenge's Crew (Gonzo - Jonas - Bonny - Desiree)
Songs: Ways To Be WickedWhat's My NameChillin' Like a VillainSpace BetweenIt's Goin' DownYou and MeKiss the GirlPoor Unfortunate Souls
AuradonAuradon PrepIsle of the LostUrsula's Fish and ChipsCurl Up & Dye
Mal's Spell BookUrsula's NecklaceLost Revenge
v - e - d
Descendants 4 Logo
Descendants: RedChloeUmaMaddox Hatter
Disney Characters: Fairy Godmother / FayQueen of Hearts / BridgetMaleficentHadesHookCinderella / EllaKing Charming / Prince CharmingAladdinJasmineMerlinLady Tremaine
Original Characters: UlianaMorgieJack of DiamondsCrimson ArmyMeadow
Songs: RedSo This Is LoveLove Ain't ItWhat's My Name (Red Version)Fight of Our LivesLife Is SweeterPerfect RevengeShuffle of LoveGet Your Hands DirtyLife Is Sweeter (Reprise)Life Is Sweeter (Remix)Bad Reputation
AuradonAuradon PrepWonderlandMerlin Academy
The Pocket WatchThe Looking GlassGlass SlippersMagic WandSorcerer's Cookbook