Disney began its current run of live-action adaptations of the studio's animated classics with Maleficent and talks of the sequel have been ongoing since 2015. Now, Maleficent 2 is getting off of the ground and Michelle Pfeiffer is reportedly in talks to play the Queen, joining Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. Production is expected to begin this year, so it makes sense that the casting process would be taking place currently.
While Michelle Pfeiffer is in talks to join the Maleficent 2 cast, Deadpool star Ed Skrein has officially signed on and will be playing the villain in the sequel. Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning will both be reprising their roles from the first movie, while Pfeiffer will play the Queen, if she ends up signing on to the project. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales director Joachim Ronning will direct Maleficent 2 from a script by Jez Butterworth and Linda Woolverton. As previously noted, it is not clear what the story for the sequel will be at this time.
While reviews for Maleficent were mixed, the movie took in over $750 million worldwide, so the idea of the sequel were planted very early on. Angelina Jolie and her performance was heavily praised at the time of release of the first movie, and her name being attached is a big deal for Maleficent 2. The addition of Michelle Pfeiffer is also exciting and makes sense, since she just wrapped production on another Disney role for Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is all set to come out later this summer.
Maleficent is a dark retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, loosely based on the 1959 Disney movie. The movie took on the perspective of Angelina Jolie's Maleficent villain instead of the protagonists that Disney fans are used to seeing. The idea behind the movie is intriguing and Jolie's name is what got people going to see the movie in the first place, but many are hoping that the story will be better executed for Maleficent 2. The first movie was heavily criticized for the overuse of CGI and other 3D digital effects, so it seems logical that Maleficent 2 will either use better effects this time around or just use less of them.
Disney is on a huge upswing with the live-action remakes of its animated classics. Brief footage from Tim Burton's reimagining of Dumbo was a huge hit at CinemaCon earlier this week, but it was a picture of the titular baby elephant that clearly dominated the convention. Along with Maleficent 2 and Dumbo, Disney also has live-action remakes of The Lion King and Aladdin coming out within the next few years. These re-makes are often criticized for existing at all, but they end up making a killing at the box office every time. You can read more about Michelle Pfeiffer joining the cast of Maleficent 2 at The Hollywood Reporter.