|“||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 being weak - his most famous quote.|
King Stefan (simply known as Stefan) is the main antagonist in the 2014 live action Disney film, Maleficent, which is based on the 1959 animated Disney film, Sleeping Beauty. In contrast to the animated version of the character (who is portrayed as a kind, gentle, and empathetic ruler of his kingdom), this version of Stefan is villainous, destructive, uncompromising, treacherous, and ruthless, and his cruelty is heavily implied to be what caused Maleficent to become evil in the first place.
He was portrayed by Sharlto Copley, who also portrayed Wikus van de Merwe from the 2009 film, District 9, Adrian Pryce in director Spike Lee's 2013 adaptation of Oldboy, Agent Kruger in the 2013 science fiction film, Elysium, and Chappie from the 2015 film, Chappie.
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, Thistlewit, and Flittle gift the infant princess with 3 magical gifts.Then just before Flittle 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 is 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.
Even though he is happy to see his daughter after sixteen years, Stefan is still 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 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 which only the treacherous king left standing. She easily overpowers him and carries him onto a tower. She is just as she is on the verge of killing him, but she spares him claiming, “It’s over.” However, Stefan refuses to accept defeat and jumps on her. The two fall from the tower, but Maleficent manages to gain airborne while Stefan falls to his death, ending his tyranny forever.
This version of Stefan is very paranoid, traitorous, 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 has always been honest, ambitious, and enthusiastic. 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 cut off and stole Maleficent's wings, which ultimately turned her to evil, as she 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.
- The scene where King Stefan cuts off Maleficent's wings is heavily implied to be a metaphor to rape.
- He is the first iconic Disney hero to be depicted as a villain, followed by the Grand Duke and King Louie.