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Villain Overview

The future rests on your shoulders. Don't blow it.
~ Maleficent to her daughter Mal.
Enough! You all will regret this!
~ Maleficent to the villain kids before she transforms into a dragon.

Maleficent is the overarching antagonist of the Descendants franchise.

She appears as the main antagonist of Descendants, its prequel novel Isle of The Lost and Descendants: The Royal Wedding, a mentioned character in Descendants: Wicked World, a cameo character in Descendants 2 and the unseen overarching antagonist of Descendants 3.

She is the wife of Hades and the mother of Mal who plots to use her child, as well as the other children, to steal the Fairy Godmother's wand to bend good and evil to her will, alongside the other villains.

She is considered to be the worst villain in the land, and Auradon's #1 enemy. 

She was portrayed by Kristin Chenoweth, who also played Lily St. Regis in the 1999 remake of Annie, and previously voiced Gabi in Rio 2.

Role in the Film

After her defeat in Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent was banished to the Isle of the Lost for several years, where she took over the island as ruler; she was once married to Hades, having a daughter named Mal with him. However, her insanity drove him off during Mal's childhood.

Maleficent sends her daughter and three other villain kids to Auradon Prep to claim the wand for her to free herself. She tells her daughter not to blow the operation, and Mal silently agrees, wanting her mother to be proud of her. In actuality, Maleficent doesn't love her own daughter very much, seeing as she is a terrible force of evil who doesn't understand love very well.

When Mal and the others try to steal the wand, she finds a life-sized statue figure of her mother back in her prime and starts singing to it, when suddenly her mother comes to life and sings "Evil Like Me", where she tells Mal about how good it is to be bad and how she and her mother will rule the universe together, Mal happily joining in the song.

While the villain kids are at Auradon, Maleficent and the other villain adults contact them via an old electronic screen to check up on the mission, Maleficent taking her time to gleefully insult the Fairy Godmother.

The villains tune in to the coronation ceremony, and as Ben is crowned king with Mal at his side, the Fairy Godmother loses her wand, not to Mal, but to Jane, who accidentally blasts and destroys the dome. Maleficent celebrates, victorious at last, her powers finally regained after so many years.

Summoning her scepter, she screeches with laughter and dissipates in a cloud of darkness, traveling towards Auradon. She arrives in a dramatic entrance similar to how she crashed Princess Aurora's ceremony. She orders Mal to wand her, but Mal, who wants to be redeemed, tosses the wand to the Fairy Godmother. Maleficent effortlessly renders everyone in the room save the villain kids immobile with her dark magic, snatching the wand back cheerily, removing Ben's ring from Mal's finger, and placing it on the wand. Mal argues with her mom, saying that she's changed, and summons the wand to her.

Maleficent loses patience, retorting that Mal (being a villain kid) has no room for love in her life. When Mal and the others resist, she warns them that they'll all regret defying her and transforms into her signature dragon form. The now-redeemed kids formulate a plan, and the dragon is distracted by Evie's mirror, at which she lands in front of the kids, her own daughter right in front. She has a dramatic staredown with Mal, intent on winning and showing her that the evil side is the correct path, but Mal thrice chants a spell while remaining unblinking that evil has no strength when four hearts stand as one united heart. Maleficent blinks in confusion, losing the staredown, and is magically transformed into a tiny lizard, restoring and saving everyone in Auradon.

The Fairy Godmother explains that Maleficent shrunk to the size of the love in her heart - not very much. However, the fact that there is love at all gives hope for her, meaning that, despite being the worst villain of all, she can learn to love and be redeemed like her own daughter. Mal tells them to be careful with her mother as they place a glass container over the tiny lizard to keep her safe.

She appears briefly in the sequel, still as a lizard, and is presumably still being taught how to love, although she doesn't appear to have changed physically yet.

Powers and abilities

  • Magic: Maleficent has the ability to manipulate supernatural forces in order to achieve any effect she desires. She is extraordinarily skilled in untamed magic.
    • Spell Casting: Maleficent has the ability to cast spells, including teleportation, to transforming people into hags, starting fires, summoning electricity, and causing despair.
    • Potion Making: Maleficent has the ability to brew potions, elixirs, and tonics in a cauldron. Some can turn out to be curses.
    • Flight: Maleficent has the ability to use a broom to fly anywhere in the world. But she prefers to teleport instead.
    • Conjuration: Maleficent has the ability to materialize imaginary objects, such as a long potion spoon, and her familiar.


  • Unlike her original counterpart, this Maleficent acts more like a teenager with super mental/many issues, as well as an annoyed mother with daughter problems. Regardless, she still acquires all the powers she had in her original movie.
  • It's implied her insanity drove off Hades, as his lyrics "try being married to [Maleficent]" imply he tried to be their for Mal; but Maleficent was just too much for him to bear with.
  • She is much shorter in this movie (played by 4'11" Kristin Chenoweth), Mal believing it was because she'd lost her magic for a while.
  • It is unknown why Mal had the vision of the Maleficent figure coming to life unless it really happened and Maleficent had found some way to speak to her through it.
  • She plays a similar role to Fiona the Black Fairy from ABC's Once Upon a Time.
    • Both are the ultimate villains in their respective series.
    • Both are dark fairy characters.
    • Both desire a wand of power to bend the universe to their will.
    • Both enlist a descendant of theirs to help free them from another realm (Maleficent uses her daughter Mal and Fiona uses her grandson Gideon).
    • Both place a new curse on the heroic inhabitants once freed.
    • Both are beaten by their children (Maleficent is turned into a tiny lizard by Mal using the Fairy Godmother's wand and Fiona is disintegrated by her son Rumplestiltskin using her own wand).
  • So far, Maleficent is the only main antagonist of the Descendants film series who was never redeemed, as both Uma and Audrey, the respective main antagonists of Descendants 2 and Descendants 3, were redeemed by the end of the third film.
    • Besides, this makes Maleficent to be the only main antagonist of the film series whose fate is unknown, as while the Fairy Godmother mentioned that her redemption was possible, the last we saw her in the second film shows that she hasn't apparently made any progress at all and she never appears in the third film.


           DesecendantsTitle.png Villains

Mal | Evie | Carlos De Vil | Jay | Freddie Facilier | King Beast | Hades

Maleficent | CJ Hook | Madam Mim | Zevon | Uma | Audrey

Dr. Facilier | Chad Charming | Evil Queen | Cruella De Vil | Jafar | Captain James Hook | Yzma | Harry Hook | Gil | Ursula | Gaston LeGume

Puppet Army | Uma's Pirate Crew