Filming on Maleficent 2 is officially underway. Disney has announced that production has commenced on the sequel to their live-action take on Sleeping Beauty, which sees Angelina Jolie (Wanted) and Elle Fanning (Super 8) return to reprise their roles from the first movie. Filming is taking place at Pinewood Studios in the U.K. The studio has also confirmed the full cast and has released an official synopsis, which reads as follows.
"A fantasy adventure that picks up several years after Maleficent, in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney's most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora, Maleficent II continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen, as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within."
Also joining the cast of Maleficent 2 is Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder on the Orient Express) as Queen Ingrith, alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange), Ed Skrein (Deadpool) and Robert Lindsay (Wimbledon). Additionally, Harris Dickinson (The Darkest Minds) joins Maleficent II as Prince Phillip, Sam Riley (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Diaval, Imelda Staunton (Pride) as the pixie Knotgrass, Juno Temple (Atonement) as the pixie Thistlewit and recent Academy Award nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) as the pixie Flittle. That makes for a stacked cast, which is a good place to start when it comes to a sequel that is getting off the ground more than four years after its predecessor arrived in theaters. The movie is directed by Joachim Ronning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) with a screenplay from Linda Woolverton (Alice in Wonderland).
Maleficent was released in 2014 in the wake of the success of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and helped cement Disney's current strategy of rebooting their animated classics in live-action fashion as a very successful financial endeavor. The movie made $758 million worldwide, despite the fact that critics weren't overly impressed with it. In the years since, the Mouse House has had a ton of success with other similar live-action movies like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and The Jungle Book. They also have quite a few more in the pipeline, such as The Lion King, Mulan and Aladdin, just to name a few.
Angelina Jolie has turned her efforts toward directing in recent years, working on projects like Unbroken and First They Killed My Father. As an actress, she was last seen in 2015's By The Sea, but it was Maleficent that was her last big-time role. She was supposed to play the lead in the Bride of Frankenstein remake, but in the wake of The Mummy's failure, those plans were scrapped and she decided to make her return to the big screen in Maleficent 2 instead. The sequel doesn't currently have a release date, but Disney is likely to lock something down soon now that production is underway. Walt Disney Pictures has also released the first official set photo, which you can check out for yourself below.