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|“||True love does not exist.||„|
|~ King Stefan (describing his first love turn 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 being weak.|
King Stefan is the main antagonist in the 2014 Disney live-action film, Maleficent, which is based on the 1959 Disney animated film, Sleeping Beauty. In contrast to the animated version of the character (who is portrayed as a kind and gentle ruler of his kingdom), this version of Stefan is villainous and ruthless, and 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 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 and he and journeys to the Moors to find Maleficent. The two are reunited and spend the night together like they use too. 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. However he hesitates and just cannot bring himself to do it. So instead he cuts off her wings and presents them to the dying king leaving Maleficent in agony over what has happened to her wings.
After creating a staff to help her walk, she journeys to an abandoned castle where she hides in the shadows sad and alone.
One day she comes across a farmer who has captured a raven she met earlier at the abandoned castle. 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, Thistlewit and Flittle gift the infant princess with magical gift. Then just before Flittle could present her gift, Maleficent shows up. Still disgust by what Stefan did to her and a little distress 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.
He becomes extremely paranoid and obsessed in hunting Maleficent down, so obsessed he cares less Queen Leila, who later dies from sickness.
By the time Aurora turns 15; Maleficent saves her from Stefan’s soldiers and takes her to the moors. After bringing her out of her trance, Aurora is delighted to meet Maleficent who believes she is her fairy godmother. Over the next few days, Aurora visits Maleficent and Diaval in the Moors spending time with them and the other fairies. Maleficent begins to warm up to the young princess and comes to see her as no longer an enemy but as a friend. After returning her home and putting her to bed, Maleficent tries to remove the curse from her but she is unable to since no power on earth can lift it but the kiss of true love which leaves her worried.
On the day before Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, Aurora has decided to stay in the Moors with Maleficent which she happily accepts. 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. 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.
Even though he is happy to see his daughter after to sixteen years, Stefan is still furious by the pixies failure as they were supposed to bring her back after her 16th birthday. He has her locked up 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 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 even Diaval. Maleficent turns him into a dragon and manages to fight off the guards and frees Maleficent. Aurora flees as Maleficent and Diaval fight the guards but they quickly become pinned down as Stefan enters the scene. He takes his time killing her 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 which only the treacherous king left standing. She easily overpowers him and just as she is on the verge of killing him, she spares him claiming “It’s all over.” However, Stefan refuses to accept defeat and jumps on her. The two fall from a tower but Maleficent manages to gain airborne but leaves Stefan to fall to his death.
This version of Stefan is very paranoid, obsessed with hunting and killing Maleficent, he did not care of seeing his dying queen.
At a young age, Stephan has always been ambitious. He hesitated at killing Maleficent at first because of their past friendship. But his desire for the throne has led him to betray her anyway.
His hatred was spawned from his guilt for stealing her wings, in fear that she would take her revenge upon him.
- He has similarities to Prince Hans, both "loved" the protagonist (Anna and Maleficent), both wanted to achieve their goals to become king, after lying that the protagonists are dead.
- King Stefan also shares some similarities with Gaston:
- Both initially appear interested in the lead female before their true selfish nature is exposed.
- Both are villains with a good public image.
- Both antagonize a misunderstood non-human character (Maleficent and The Beast respectively) but are ultimately defeated by them in a castle.
- Following the above, both are then spared by their enemies, only to try and kill them again and in the process fall to their deaths.
- King Stefan is also similar to the Wizard of Oz as portrayed in Wicked. They are both vilified depictions of those who were actually good guys in their origins, yet, once again, they still have good publicity like they originally did.