Don't worry, Disney fanatics. Maleficent 2 is definitely still happening. It's just taken a while to get off the ground, what with Angelina Jolie pursuing her own career as a director and having gone through a very public split from longtime partner Brad Pitt. It sounds like Jolie is getting ready to put the horns back on. Disney has finally hired a new writer to get the script into fighting shape. And things should pick up quickly.

From the sounds of it, Maleficent 2 should, by all accounts, go before the camera sometime next year. There is no confirmed release date, but Disney has many open slots staked out for a variety of untitled Fairy Tale projects. The guy tasked with breathing new life into this long-awaited sequel is Jez Butterworth. And he has his own special set of skills that he will bestow upon Jolie's anti-heroine.

Butterworth has recent worked on the live-action movie script for Cruella, a spin-off of 101 Dalmatians that features Emma Stone as the popular Disney villain, who will get humanized in ways we can't quite fathom yet. Anyone who turns puppies into fur coats can't be all good, though, right? Hopefully he's bringing some edge to that character that will play to Stone's strengths as a comedic actress who can improvise with the best of the Apatow players.

RELATED: Maleficent 2 Storms D23 with Spooky Mistress of Evil Footage

There is already a script for Maleficent 2 in play. Butterworth is being tasked with rewriting it. Tracking Board brings us this latest info. Joe Roth will produce the movie. And it has long been confirmed that Angelina Jolie is dying to reprise her iconic Sleeping Beauty villain. Linda Woolverton, who penned the original Maleficent, worked on the initial screenplay for the sequel. It isn't revealed just how much of her outline will stay in place now that Jez is taking over.

The plot hasn't been revealed, and will be kept under tight lock and key until it's all sorted out and situated by Butterworth. As far as a production start date, it all depends on Jolie's schedule at this point. Rumors have her eyeing any number of Marvel projects, potentially as a director. But those rumors haven't ever bore any fruit. She is also eyeing the lead role in Universal's Dark Universe thriller /bride-of-frankenstein-remake-cast-angelina-jolie/Bride of Frankenstein

As far as Jez Butterworth's credentials are concerned, he is responsible for penning some of the previous James Bond movie Spectre. He also worked on the Tom Cruise sci-fi favorite Edge of Tomorrow. And he filled Johnny Depp's mouth with some most delicious dialogue in Black Mass. He also lent a helping hand to the James Brown biopic Get On Up. Butterworth is an acclaimed playwright as well as a script doctor and screenplay writer. He co-created the Amazon series Brittania, which will debut soon. It stars David Morrissey, Kelly Reilly and Mackenzie Crook. Only time will tell how he fares while squaring off against Maleficent on the page. Hopefully it turns out to be a worthy sequel and not another retread.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange