|“||True love does not exist.||„|
|~ King Stefan describing his first love turned hatred for Maleficent.|
|“||How does it feel? Hm? To be a fairy creature without wings... IN A WORLD WHERE YOU DON'T BELONG?!||„|
|~ Stefan, mocking Maleficent for being wingless, and his most famous quote.|
King Stefan (also simply known as Stefan) is the main antagonist in the 2014 live-action Disney film Maleficent and a posthumous antagonist in the 2019 sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which are both based on the 1959 Disney animated classic film Sleeping Beauty.
Unlike his animated version of the character (who is portrayed as a kind, gentle and just ruler of his kingdom), this version of Stefan is cruel, tyrannical, manipulative, and very evil. His cruelty is heavily implied to be what caused Maleficent to become evil in the first place.
One day, the Moors was disturbed by the presence of a young peasant boy named Stefan, who had escaped there after stealing a precious gem from the human kingdom. As the Tree Warriors cornered him, Maleficent showed up and told him to hand over the stolen gem, which he reluctantly does after realizing it was from a pool filled with jewels within the Moors. After tossing it into the water, she escorted Stefan to the borders of the Moors. They admit to each other that they are both orphans whose parents are dead, and meeting each other is forbidden to both their worlds.
However, the two of them eventually become the best of friends, and on Maleficent's 16th birthday, Stefan showed her true love's kiss. But it was never meant to be.
Over the next couple of years, Stefan stopped visiting the Moors for some reason, and due to the threatening attacks on the Moors by the ruthless King Henry, Maleficent becomes her homeland's sworn protector. With the forest army by her side, she engaged the King's army in battle, defeating them and wounding the King. On his deathbed, the King demanded to be avenged and promises whoever kills Maleficent shall become the new king and marry his daughter Lelia. It is revealed that Stefan has become one of the king’s servants and wanting to claim the throne, he journeys to the Moors to find Maleficent.
The two are reunited and spend the night together like they used to. Stefan tricks her into taking a drink that puts her to sleep and after she falls into her slumber, Stefan makes the attempt to kill her. However, he hesitates and just cannot bring himself to do it. So instead, he cuts off her wings using iron and presents them to the dying king, leaving Maleficent in agony over what has happened to her wings.
One day she comes across a farmer who has captured a raven she met earlier at the abandoned castle. Taking pity over the small bird, she turns the raven into a man to help him rise and come free from the net on him. After the farmer runs away in fear, Maleficent approaches the human bird who introduces himself as Diaval. Since she saved him he offers to be her humble servant and Maleficent gives him his first task to find Stefan.
Diaval flies to the castle and witnesses Stefan being crowned king. When he informs Maleficent of what he has learned, she becomes enraged. She returns to the Moors as dark clouds loom across the forest, then after roots form a throne, Maleficent sits there claiming herself as the Evil Queen of the Moors.
One day Queen Lelia gives birth to a daughter and she is named Aurora. A royal christening is taken place at the castle and the three pixies Knotgrass, Flittle, and Thistlewit gift the infant princess with 3 magical gifts.
Then just before Thistlewit could present her gift, Maleficent shows up. Still disgusted by what Stefan did to her and a little distressed of not receiving an invitation, she curses the princess to fall into a "sleep like death" by the prick of a finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on her sixteenth birthday. However, when Stefan begs her to spare his daughter, Maleficent also includes that the curse can be lifted by true love’s kiss and no power on earth can change it.
Stefan had every spinning wheel in the kingdom burned and locked away in the deepest dungeon in the castle. He also had the three pixies take Aurora into hiding where they take her to an old cottage and pose as her three aunts. His paranoia and obsession with Maleficent are so strong that he doesn't care that his queen dies in the night from a sickness.
On the day before Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, Aurora has decided to stay in the Moors with Maleficent (whom she thinks is her fairy godmother). As Aurora returns home, she meets Prince Phillip and it instantly becomes love at first site. Diaval sees him as the key to lift the curse but Maleficent disagrees as there is no such thing as true love (the latter describing her first love turned hatred by Stefan when he cut off her wings). However, after the pixies reveal the truth to Aurora, she sadly returns to her father after Maleficent admits the truth of her identity. Feeling ashamed, she decides to take the chance that true love will be her only chance to live and goes looking for Phillip.
After sixteen years, Stefan meets his daughter. He coldly looks at her and is furious by the pixies' failure as they were supposed to bring her back the day after her 16th birthday. He has her locked up in her room and prepares for Maleficent to arrive.
As night draws, Maleficent and Diaval sneak inside the castle with Phillip and bring him to the sleeping Aurora. Hiding in the shadows, she watches as Phillip approaches her and leans over to kiss her. Unfortunately, nothing happens, Aurora remains asleep. After the Pixies drag Phillip out to find someone else to kiss her, Maleficent comes out of hiding and looks sadly upon what she has done. She was so blinded by hatred and revenge she forgot to love and happiness until she met Aurora who helped her find her happiness again. Then in tears, she kisses Aurora on the forehead and bids her goodbye but before she can even leave, a miracle happens, Aurora wakes up and is delighted to see her Fairy Godmother. Maleficent and Aurora’s strong friendship was the truest love that can ever be.
As the three of them attempt to sneak out of the castle and back to the Moors, Maleficent is captured by Stefan’s men, Aurora tries to save her but the castle guards overpower her and Diaval. Maleficent turns him into a dragon and he manages to fight off the guards and free Maleficent. Aurora flees as Maleficent and Diaval fight the guards, but they quickly become pinned down as Stefan enters the scene. Stefan takes his time killing Maleficent by brutally torturing her. Then, after pulling out his sword, he prepares to finish her off but just before he can impale her, Maleficent’s wings return to her after Aurora frees them.
With her wings back, she is able to fly and free Diaval. Maleficent and Diaval easily take down Stefan’s guards, leaving only the treacherous king standing. She easily overpowers Stefan and carries him onto a tower. Maleficent beats him up and is on the verge of killing him, but she spares him claiming, “It’s over.” Blinded by his overwhelming pride and seething rage, Stefan refuses to accept his defeat and attacks Maleficent again once her back is turned. The two fall from the tower, but Maleficent manages to become airborne while Stefan falls to his death, ending his tyranny forever.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Due to his ultimate death, King Stefan does not appear in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, but is briefly mentioned by Queen Ingrith, when she tells how Aurora become the current Queen. It's revealed that in the five years following his death, Stefan's castle has been inhabitated by the town, whom Aurora allowed to reside there as it was never her home and that she is the Queen of the Moors.
Despite the fact it was Stefan who turned Maleficent evil through his betrayal, the fallen king was perceived as martyr and victim as much as Ingrith's late brother whom killed during an expedition at Moors long ago, possibly by powerful defenses placed by Maleficent herself. Maleficent was initially reluctant to bless Aurora and Prince Phillip's marriage out of fear that tragedy between her and Stefan in the past repeated in both of them. When the war between Dark Fey, the fairies of Moors, and human kingdoms ensued, the love and compassion between Maleficent and Aurora managed to stop the conflict altogether and Ingrith is spared from the same fate of Stefan by being cursed into a goat where it can only broken once she learns from her errors.
At the end of the film, Stefan posthumously gains a son-in-law with Phillip when he marries Aurora.
This version of Stefan is very paranoid, treacherous, manipulative, and obsessed with hunting and killing Maleficent, to the point where he did not care of seeing his dying queen.
At a young age, Stefan had always been honest, ambitious, and enthusiastic. He formed a close friendship with Maleficent, falling in love with her, but his ambitions eventually led him to stop seeing her and start working for the king that was her enemy. When the king announced that whoever killed Maleficent would be his successor, Stefan finally had a chance to fulfill his ambition. He hesitated at killing Maleficent at first because of their past friendship, but his desire for the throne led him to betray her anyway. The consequence of this betrayal was severe; he painfully cut off and stole Maleficent's wings, which ultimately turned her to evil, as she vengefully retaliates by cursing Aurora as the baby out of rage once she learned this.
His hatred was spawned from his guilt for stealing her wings, in fear that she would take her revenge upon him. As seen when Maleficent curses Aurora while he helplessly watches this, Stefan indeed shows his remorse over his past betrayal and begs Maleficent not to kill Aurora, in which Maleficent responded by cursing Aurora to death-like sleep instead of actual death.
Unfortunately, due to his paranoia and guilt for his crime against his old friend, combined with Maleficent's act of revenge by cursing Aurora, Stefan's sheer hatred for Maleficent proved too great, even greater than Maleficent's own hatred against him. He becomes intensely violent and extremely cruel, shown at the climax, where he sadistically taunts and tortures Maleficent as soon as she enters his castle and undoes Aurora's curse (though he may never learn this). Therefore, whatever friendship and love that he had with Maleficent ultimately dies as he tries to stab her from behind, leading to his own death.
- Unnamed Mother †
- Unnamed Father †
- Queen Leila † - Wife
- King Henry † - Former King, Predecessor and Father-in-law
- Aurora - Daughter, Indirect Killer and Successor
- Prince Phillip - Son-In-Law
- Maleficent - Former Best Friend/Love Interest turned Enemy, Attempted Victim and Killer
- Diaval - Attempted Victim
- Flittle †, Knotgrass and Thistletwit - Former Allies
As a Child
|“||No. They mean to kill me. And besides, they're hideous to look at.||„|
|~ Stefan insulting the Tree Warriors.|
|“||I'm called Stefan. Who are you?||„|
|~ Stefan introducing himself to Maleficent.|
|“||Someday, you know, I'll live there. In the castle. (Maleficent: Where do you live now?) In a barn. (Maleficent: So your parents are farmers, then?) My parents are dead. (Maleficent: Mine, too.)||„|
|~ Stefan telling Maleficent that one day he will live in the castle because he now lives in a barn.|
|“||We'll see each other again.||„|
|~ Stefan assuring Maleficent that they will meet again.|
|“||I like your wings.||„|
|~ Stefan complimenting Maleficent's wings.|
|“||I thought it worth the risk. So, what do you do for fun?||„|
|~ Stefan asking what does she do to enjoy herself.|
As an Adult
- He is the first iconic Disney supporting character to be depicted as a villain in a live action remake, followed by the Grand Duke and King Louie.
- King Stefan was not happy to see Aurora when she returned on her sixteenth birthday. He only said that she looks like her mother Queen Leila, before ordering his guards to lock her in her room.
- In the novelization of the film, it was told that when Stefan brought Maleficent's wing to King Henry in person, rather than accepting Stefan as his successor, Henry instead mocks Stefan as he still thinks that he's unfit to rule. This is what provoked an angry Stefan to smother King Henry on his deathbed before forging a royal proclamation declaring himself as the new king.
- This was possibly based on an early version of the film's script, however, as King Henry was clearly depicted on the film fulfilling his word and naming Stefan his successor.
- Stefan would have redeemed himself if only he had known that Maleficent was the one who resurrected Aurora from her curse and that he would have met King John for the first time to plan the future marriage of their kids and to unite their kingdoms like the original animated film. However, due to his desperation and unmerciful obsession to destroy Maleficent, Stefan wasn't able to be informed about this and never redeemed.
- Stefan is the second villain in the Maleficent franchise to die in their first appearance, followed by Gerda and preceded by King Henry. Additionally, he is the first (and so far only) main villain to die in their first appearance.
- Stefan is also the first main villain to be a monarch, followed by Queen Ingrith.