King Stefan is the main antagonist in the divisive 2014 live action film Maleficent. Based on the minor character of the same name, this version of Stefan is sadly flanderized as a one-dimensional, evil, and treacherous tyrant of his kingdom in Scotland.
He was portrayed by South African actor Sharlto Copley.
Why He's NOT a Loving Father We Know Here
- Similar to Knotgrass, Flittle, and Thistlewit, he became an unfortunate victim of flanderization beyond recognition to the point of acting nothing like his original animated counterpart in the slightest, as he drastically went from being a soft spoken and debonair ruler into a ruthless, corrupt, evil, cowardly, whinny, aggressive, and treacherous tyrant, just so that the movie could have a villain for the audience to root against in favor of Maleficent herself. Which is clearly a rancid idea from the get-go.
- While his anger may have been justified in the original animated film, his bad tempered and aggressive behavior is much worse in Maleficent.
- His flanderization as a ruthless tyrant is one of the main reasons why many fans and admirers of the original Sleeping Beauty hated Maleficent and why it rightfully got mixed reviews.
- He never had a backstory of why he's motivated into doing evil things, since his villainy seems to have came out completely out of nowhere without any clear explanation.
- As a tyrant, he rarely shows any emotions and barely smiles because he's very prone to throwing temper tantrums and is always angry.
- The scene where he cuts off Maleficent's wings is really scary and too dark for a family film.
- Him being the reason why Maleficent became evil was poorly executed.
- He lacks any comedic and soft traits, aside from him begging Maleficent to spare the life of his daughter, Aurora.
- When Maleficent arrived at the celebration, he told her that she’s not welcomed and refused to forgive what he did to her.
- He did not care about the death of his wife, Queen Leila. This proves that he is a terrible husband.
- Instead of caring for Aurora and Leila, he decided to exact his vengeance on Maleficent, proving that he’s a neglectful father and husband.
- He assaulted one of his guards that claimed the wall was indestructible and going too far in not allowing them to rest, proving that he is a bad boss.
- He berated the pixies for failing their duties of protecting Aurora and going way too far in hitting one of them and falsely proclaimed that “true love does not exist”.
- Unlike the original film, he acted very cruel and abusive to Aurora and ordered his guards to lock her up, even if it was for her safety from the curse. This proves that this version of Stefan is a terrible father, unlike his animated counterpart who had a decent chemistry with Aurora, despite having limited screen time.
- He brutally tortures and taunts Maleficent after capturing her.
- He never redeems himself for his past crimes, nor did he forgive Aurora and Maleficent.
- Sharlto Copley did a very mediocre job as Stefan by giving him a weird Scottish accent.
- Sadly, Disney didn't learn their lesson from miscasting King Stefan as the villain in Maleficent (2014). Because of this, they continued this trend of "villainous miscastings" with two side characters in two subsequent live-action remakes that these characters in question were originally side characters horrendously flanderized beyond recognition to become villainous, such as The Grand Duke in Cinderella (2015) and King Louie in The Jungle Book (2016), or flanderize formerly-likable good guys/anti-heroes in rather unpleasant lights in subsequent live-action remakes after Knotgrass, Thistlewit, and Flittle, such as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast (2017) (to an extent) and Peter Pan in Peter Pan and Wendy (2023).
The Only Mixed Quality
- While his defeat may not have been well executed, he still gets his comeuppance near the end when Maleficent spares him, only for him to tackle her and throw them both off the tower, forcing her to open her wings to save herself and let him finally fall to his death.
- He was a more likable and decent character in the original Sleeping Beauty, even though Hans Conried could have easily been much better as Stefan by giving him more depth in terms of personality and character development, and he thankfully redeems himself in Chibi Tiny Tales.
- He tried to beg Maleficent to spare Aurora, whom he tries to protect her, despite still being a cruel father.