Keep in mind: In this movie, EVERY NAMED CHARACTER (save for Maleficent, Aurora, and Diaval) are jerkasses, childish, and/or utterly incompetent. Maleficent, instead of cursing Aurora to a horrible demise, curses her only to a sting, sleep, and even gives her a Curse Escape Clause.
It looks too much a Mary Sue story. It's like My Immortal but only with some good writing. And it's because THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS: The entire story (called "Maleficent" instead of "Sleeping Beauty") is about her, how cruel the world has been to her, how she's not the one to blame, but everybody else is.
Even in her last echoes, she even thinks about stealing the story's climax: The central spot of her tale is not prince Phillip's kiss, but Maleficent's.
Heroine, victim, pariah, messiah, and the only one allowed to experience true love, to be clever, and stealing the spotlight from the original characters meant do to that. That's a Mary Sue Work... and that's what Maleficent does.
- Come to think it, Maleficent has all the traits of a Possession Sue. complete derrailing of her personality (And the rest of characters, by the way) plot hijacking, and even a beauty upgrade.
- Jossed: Stefan and Aurora have no fairy blood in the movie. Although, since Aurora becomes the queen of the human kingdom and the Moors, it is likely that she or one of her descendants would marry a fairy.
- Jossed: Stefan and Aurora have no fairy blood in the movie. Although he does duel Maleficent and puts up a damn good fight using his iron armor and weapons.
- Seem possible since the trailer suggests she and Aurora have a far friendlier relationship than in the animated film. It maybe be that Aurora and Maleficent collude to do so with the end result of Aurora gaining her kingdom from her father and declares Maleficent's domain 'off limits' while Maleficent can then live in peace. The alternative might be that Stefan is the one to kill her and Aurora's belief in Maleficent's goodness/grief at her death allows her to be reborn anew.
- Jossed. The only attempt at Faking the Dead is when Stefan lets King Henry believe he killed Maleficent.
- Jossed. Maleficent lives at the end.
- Jossed: Aurora's mother is the old king's daughter.
- Jossed: The original plan was for Maleficent's aunt to be the abusive one, cursing her with horns to mark her as troublesome (due to her large wings). Also, the novelization mentions Maleficent's parents as being loving and kind before they're killed by a human attack.
- Jossed: Her parents are killed by humans and loved her dearly.
- Maybe. Her mother is mentioned as having the same wings as Maleficent (in the novelization), so there could possibly be more out there.
Ellie and Angie (I'm nicknaming them after their respective actresses) were once two trickster fairies who lived within the Moors. Both of them were relatively sweet young things, but Ellie was often considered the clever one, coming up with all the funny pranks they played on people, while Angie would be the one to question whether Ellie's plans would work. Then one day, they found Stefan, and Angie ended up befriending him and started spending more time around him. Ellie felt ignored by her sister, so she took time to learn some other forms of magic. In the interim, she became fascinated with the Dark Arts. Angie, upon learning this, tried to warn her against it, but Ellie told her to mind her own business.
When they grew up, wars were waged on the Moors, and the sisters took arms against the humans by warding them off in magical but non-harmful ways. However, Ellie eventually made a deal with the devil/some other evil exchange to get more power and finally decided to kill humans to show them the supremacy of fairies. Angie tried warning Stefan (who was maybe fighting there too) about her sister's plot, but he ended up betraying her much like in the movie. Horrified at the darkness of humanity but refusing to give in to what consumed her sister, Angie ran away. Eventually, Ellie proclaimed herself the Mistress of All Evil, banishing her sister and any of the other mythical folk who opposed her rule from the Moors.
Long story short, it was Ellie who ended up cursing Aurora, and Angie was so angry at Stefan that she didn't really care what Ellie did to him. However, Angie ended up finding Aurora and over time regretted that she didn't stop her sister, so she vowed to protect Aurora even though she couldn't change the curse. Ellie ultimately wanted to keep the sleeping death permanent to keep Aurora from possibly overthrowing her as Queen of the Moors, but Angie ended up teaming up (if only reluctantly) with the three fairies to stop her.
And why do we mistake them for the same person? Perhaps the people of the past never knew/forgot the fairies' true names, and over time stories evolved so that it was thought that there was only one "wicked" fairy in the Sleeping Beauty mythos, whom people ended up giving the single name of "Maleficent."
- Didn't he marry the king's daughter? Um... ew.
- Jossed: Stefan is not the king's son, he's just a courtier/nobleman who took the king up on his offer ("Whoever kills Maleficent becomes king after me."). In fact he explicitly says to Maleficent that his parents are dead. In the novelization King Henry outright laughs at Stefan and calls him a worthless delusional servant for thinking he could become king. Stefan promptly suffocates him.
Maybe this was one reason she hadn't slept well in sixteen years.
Keeping that in mind, and kind of expanding on the above theory, this could be Maleficent making an attempt to imagine what it would be like and what it would take to make her happy (aside from the complete annihilation of the princess and watching her parents languish and suffer). And it could be some things in the film are true, but truth mixes with fantasy, dreams, nightmares, and extreme emotions.
For example, maybe she did have wings before, but someone or something else stole them and destroyed them, so she can never get them back — and she grew her powers and let her bitterness turn her evil to compensate, since if she was going to be wingless, she wasn't going to be worthless. Stefan is only demonized in her mind because she doesn't know who really did it, and right now, she's still angry at him for disrespecting and humiliating her (at the time, not being invited when you were of rank could be considered an insult). She was just putting a face to the monster, essentially, to give herself some closure, and in irrational anger, didn't care who was thrown into that slot.
The fairies are obviously foolish and incompetent because that's how SHE sees them (and they had a small rivalry going on in the original film; Maleficent refers to them as "rabble," it came up that she likes to destroy Flora's flowers, and it's hinted in the same scene that they have had similar power struggles before, which lead to the fairies giving up their magic so she couldn't trace it). She probably suspects they found a way to hide the princess, but she can't imagine them being good at it, and the idea of them trying to care for a human baby amuses her as much as it infuriates her that they managed to evade her detection. So she has all these mental thoughts of petty fights and trying to feed vegetables to infants, because to her, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather are morons, and in her mind, that's probably what they are doing. So naturally, she will put herself in a position that's superior to their incompetence.
Regarding Aurora... the reason she's so bland is because Maleficent doesn't know her, and has only heard the few gifts the others gave her, meaning she has to fill in the blanks, and it's hard for her to come up with things like hobbies, coping with incompetent fairy guardians, and seeing her at her worst, since the little princess's gifts don't leave much room for anger, sorrow, or jealousy. So she imagines this perfect little being that she despises the thought of at first (because she's so good and sweet and perfect), and then later decides it might not be so bad... but only because this is the sort of person who would be easy to manipulate if she didn't know any better. Which leads to the fairy godmother thing.
If the princess was on HER side, how much crueler would that be to Stefan and Leah? Their daughter isn't dead; she adores their worst enemy. Far worse than simply killing her and being done; she could have dragged the punishment out longer. And that would DEFINITELY make Maleficent happy.
It could also be a small bit of fantasy. Her reactions at the banquet, while handled with grace and eloquence, could be a mask to hide her hurt and jealousy. These fools were invited and honored, and later trusted as the princess's guardians. Why wasn't she? Obvious reasons aside. So some part of her is playing "what if?" with the notion that she could have been honored enough to have not only been invited, but become an important figure for the young princess.
Other parts of the film are power fantasies. Maybe in the original film, if she lost her wings, she could never get them back. So in her own fantasies, she does get them back, AND takes out the (perceived) culprit at the same time. She doesn't care that Stefan might not have been the true thief; all that matters is she has a face for the monster, and the means to take him down. Aurora being on her side is just salt in the wound — and possibly the only reason she's holding back is because finding the princess and taking her out is more important to her than some little power trip that if she really wanted, she could have, but even as evil as she is, Maleficent seems to have some sense of honor. If Stefan ever gives her reason to believe that her fantasies are real, out he goes, but for now, he works well enough as her stand-in so she has something to drive her anger and vengeance, more than a lack of invitation can do for her.
Even the parts with Diaval make a bit of sense in this light: Diablo was the only companion she had that she truly treated with respect and kindness, and was genuinely sad when he was turned to stone. So it might make sense to imagine he was on more equal footing with her, human, and able to talk to her. Which begs the question of why she never changed him in the original film. Simple: she knows he wouldn't like that. It's respect, for the only creature she has respect for.
And why does none of this ever come up in the original film? One, think about the kind of company she keeps. Her henchmen are idiots, and beneath her. A lot of these thoughts and emotions would be very personal, and she seems to keep to herself most of the time. Two, she has a reputation to consider. If anyone ever found out the Mistress of All Evil — even once — wondered what it was like to care for someone else...all that work, shot in a moment. Three, these are private thoughts, for someone who doesn't understand love, knows something's missing, tries to fill it in herself, and just isn't satisfied with the answers she came up with.
Some other elements, like being Stefan's lover, freeing Aurora from her curse, Diaval turning into a dragon, being caught in an iron net, etc. are dreams and/or nightmares that mingle with these thoughts. She's unable to sleep well, seeing how her mind twists some of her thoughts and fantasies to make her weak, or completely good, or do things to her closest companion that she'd never consider, or let her do things she doesn't completely understand like freeing Aurora out of love. Some of these things are truly terrifying/bothersome to her.
And even if she has those thoughts/dreams/nightmares/fantasies, they fleet away as fast as they come, because Maleficent has more important things to focus on. Like finding Aurora and making the curse complete before the time limit runs out.
So while the occasional thought or fantasy comes up (I'm sure she has her slow days and times where she ponders how things could be different, like anyone else), they always take a backseat to her primary goal. And in the end, she STILL doesn't truly understand love or selfless acts, so she contents herself with evil, because that does make sense to her. And she's convinced she's happy enough with it because the alternative is confusing, creates strange dreams, and in some ways, is kind of ridiculous.
- Who's to say she didn't give her the wish right after Maleficent left? Just like the third fairy from the original ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' film? That, combined with Maleficent's wish that only true love could awaken the princess may very well have set the curse up to fail. Of course, if we KNEW that the third fairy's wish was for Aurora to find true love, then the movie would be somewhat spoiled
- This is all but outright stated in the novelization, which says that the queen died of a broken heart. Given that she's the only one actually trying to placate Maleficent when she shows up at the christening ("that's a lovely gift!"), she's clearly fighting harder for Aurora than Stefan is, making the loss of her child even worse.