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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.

History

Young Stefan and Maleficent

Young Stefan with young Maleficent.

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.

Stefan and Maleficent Kissing

Stefan and Maleficent Kissing on Maleficent's 16th birthday.

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.

StefanBecomes King

Stefan becomes the New King.

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.

Stefan as King

Stefan, during the ceremony of Aurora's christening.

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.

King Stefan Begging

King Stefan begs for Maleficent not to place a curse on his daughter.

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.

King Stefan obsessing

King Stefan grows more and more paranoid and obsessed with the death of Maleficent, not even caring that his wife is dying.

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.

Iron Knight Stefan

King Stefan in his Ironclad armor.

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.

King Stefan's Death

King Stefan falling to his death.

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.

Personality

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.

Quotes

As a Child

No. They mean to kill me. And besides, they're hideous to look at.
~ Stefan insulting the Tree Warriors
I'm called Stefan. Who are you?
~ Stefan introducing himself to Maleficent
Someday, you know, I'll live there. In the castle. (Maleficent: Where do you live now?) In a barn. (Maleficent: So your parents are farmers, then?) My parents are dead. (Maleficent: Mine, too.)
~ Stefan telling Maleficent that one day he will live in the castle because he now lives in a barn
We'll see each other again.
~ Stefan assuring Maleficent that they will meet again
I like your wings.
~ Stefan complimenting Maleficent's wings
I thought it worth the risk. So, what do you do for fun?
~ Stefan asking what does she do to enjoy herself

As an Adult

Your Majesty.
~ Stefan to King Henry when he helps him to get comfortable
Maleficent. Maleficent!
~ Stefan calling out for Maleficent.
Maleficent, I've come to warn you. They mean to kill you. King Henry will stop at nothing. Please, you have to trust me.
~ Stefan tricking Maleficent
You thirsty?
~ Stefan giving Maleficent a drink to put her to sleep
I have avenged you, sire.
~ Stefan telling King Henry that he "killed" Maleficent
I shall do my best to be a worthy successor, Your Majesty.
~ Stefan assuring King Henry that he will be a worthy successor to the trone and take care of his daughter
You're not welcome here.
~ Stefan telling Maleficent that she's not welcome in the castle
No! We don't want your gift!
~ Stefan when he realizes that Maleficent intends to inflict harm on Aurora
Maleficent, please don't do this, I'm begging you.
~ Stefan begging Maleficent not to put a curse on Aurora.
You failed me. (Captain: The wall cannot be burned. It is indestructible.) Nothing is indestructible! Not the wall! Not Maleficent! Not even her curse! (remains silent for a moment and looks at his dagger) Bring me the iron workers.
~ Stefan angrily scolding his guards for failing to kill Maleficent by telling them that neither she nor her curse are indestructible before ordering them to bring the iron workers
You mock me. I know what you're doing. I know exactly what you're doing. (Servant: Sire? Your presence has been requested by the Queen.) Leave me. (Servant: Sire, she is not well. The nurses are fearful that she won't make it through the night.) Can you not see we're having a conversation? When the curse fails, Maleficent will come for me. And on that day, I will be ready.
~ Stefan talking to Maleficent's wings and plotting to haver her murdered after her curse fails not even caring that his wife is dying from an illness due to his paranoia and obsession for hunting Maleficent down
She's coming. She's coming. Where are your workers? (Servant: In their beds, Majesty.) Get them back to work without delay. (Servant: They're exhausted, sire. But I'll have them back to work at first light.) I need them back to work now. (Servant: It's the wee hours.) Aye. Aye. It is the wee hours. So wake them up. (Servant: Sire?) So wake them up, and get them back to work now! We're running out of time! Go, now!
~ Stefan angrily ordering a servant to wake up the iron workers and get them to work now despite the latter's objections
I need every available man on the east wing now. There should be no guards at the gate. I want her to walk right in.
~ Stefan talking to his guards about planning to have Maleficent killed
(Guard: Sorry to disturb, Your Majesty. We found this urchin at the gate. She claims to be the princess) (Aurora: Father. It's me, Aurora.) You look just like your mother. They brought you back a day too soon. I told those three idiots! Lock her up in her room. Go. Prepare the men. Maleficent's coming.
~ Stefan being happy for seeing his daughter but is furious at the pixies (because they were supposed to bring her the day after her birthday) before ordering to lock her up in her room and to be prepared for the battle
Look at her. Look at what you've done. (Knotgrass: She's only sleeping.) She's only sleeping, you say? She's only sleeping. She's only sleeping forever!
~ Stefan blaming the Pixies for what happened to Aurora
True love does not exist.
~ Stefan believing there is no such thing as true love (the latter 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 during the final battle before attempting to kill her - his most famous quote
Kill her!
~ Stefan ordering his guards to kill Maleficent after her wings return to her
Shoot her!
~ Stefan's final words moments before he plummets off the tower to his demise after he refuses to accept defeat when Maleficent spares him

Trivia

  • 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.


Disney Villains

Animated Features
Queen Grimhilde | Magic Mirror | Honest John & Gideon | Stromboli | Coachman | Coachman's Minions | Monstro | T-Rex | Chernabog | Ringmaster | Pink Elephants | Man | Ronno | Tetti-Tatti | Lumpjaw | Willie | Mr. Winkie | Brom Bones | Rustlers | Headless Horseman | Lady Tremaine | Ugly Stepsisters (Drizella & Anastasia) | Lucifer | Queen of Hearts | Card Soldiers | The Walrus & the Carpenter | Captain Hook | Mr. Smee | Neverland Pirates | Si & Am | Maleficent | Diablo the Raven | Maleficent's Goons | Cruella De Vil | Jasper & Horace | Madam Mim | Shere Khan | Kaa | King Louie | Bandar Log | Edgar Balthazar | Prince John | Sheriff of Nottingham | Sir Hiss | Captain Crocodile | Rhino Guards | Wolf Arrowmen | Trigger & Nutsy | Heffalumps & Woozles | Madame Medusa | Mr. Snoops | Brutus & Nero | Amos Slade | Chief | Horned King | Arawn | Creeper | Cauldron Born | Horned King's Army | Gwythaints | Orddu, Orwen & Orgoch | Padraic Ratigan | Fidget | Felicia | Thugs | Bartholomew | Bill Sykes | Roscoe & DeSoto | Ursula | Flotsam & Jetsam | Glut | Percival C. McLeach | Joanna | Gaston Legume | LeFou | Monsieur D'Arque | Gaston's Buddies | Jafar | Iago | Razoul | Gazeem | Oogie Boogie | Lock, Shock & Barrel | Scar | Shenzi, Banzai & Ed | Hyena Clan | John Ratcliffe | Claude Frollo | Brutish & Oafish Guards | Frollo's Soldiers | Hades | Pain & Panic | Cerberus | Hydra | Titans (Lythos, Hydros, Pyros, Stratos & Cyclops) | Nessus | Nemean Lion | Minotaur | Shan Yu | Hayabusa | Elite Hun Soldiers | Cecil Clayton | Sabor | Clayton's Pirates | Jack-in-the-Box | Snooty Flamingos | Firebird | Kron | Bruton | Yzma | Kronk | Lyle Tiberius Rourke | Helga Katrina Sinclair | Rourke's Soldiers | Leviathan | Gantu | John Silver | Scroop | Onus | Hands | Turnbuckle | Longbourne | Fayvoon | Grewnge | Krailoni | Hedley | Torrance | Mertock | Verne | Crex | Nathaniel Flint | Flint's Pirates | Alameda Slim | Rico | The Willies | Mr. Wesley | DOR-15 | Mike Yagoobian | Dr. Calico | Dr. Facilier | Lawrence | Facilier's Shadow | Friends on the Other Side | Mother Gothel | Stabbington Brothers | King Candy | Cy-Bugs | Sour Bill | Wynnchel & Duncan | Prince Hans | Duke of Weselton | Duke of Weselton's Bodyguards | Yokai | Mr. Yama | Dawn Bellwether | Doug Ramses | Woolter & Jesse | Ram Thug | Duke Weaselton | Te Kā | Tamatoa | Kakamora

Live-Action Movies
Long John Silver | Captain Nemo | Giant Squid | Pony Sugrue | Prince John (1952) | Barnaby | Peter Thorndyke | The Bookman | King Leonidas | Colonel Heller | Dr. Terminus | The Gogans | Charles Olympus | Bluto | Vermithrax Pejorative | Master Control Program | Sark | Ed Dillinger Sr. | Mr. Dark | Nome King | Princess Mombi | Judge Doom | Toon Patrol (Smarty, Greasy, Psycho, Wheezy & Stupid) | Abdullah | Mr. Patel | Nigel | Neville Sinclair | Lothar | Coach Jack Reilly | Warden Nigel Snyder | Josepg Pulitzer | Delancey Brothers | Dr. Charles Hendrickson | Winifred Sanderson | Mary Sanderson | Sarah Sanderson | John Ricketts | The King and the Duke | Pap Finn | William Boone | Buldeo | John Wilkins | Tabaqui | Sergeant Harley | Juice (Blank Check) | Ranch Wilder | Injun Joe | Tony Perkis | Agent Woods | Jack & Ralph | Ashcan & Pete | Aunt Sponge & Aunt Spiker | Rhino | Skeleton Pirates | Shark | Cruella De Vil (1996) | Jasper & Horace (1996) | Alonzo | Mr. Skinner | Jean-Pierre Le Pelt | Norman Snively | Ricky King | Charlotte (Jungle 2 Jungle) | Lyle Van de Groot | Max & Thor | Beatrice Stanhope | Wilson Croft | Luanne LeSeur | Meredith Blake | Eddie Taffet | Andrei Strasser | Dr. Elliot Coleye | Dr. Claw | Kramer | RoboGadget | Lana Thomas | Principal Elliot T. Jindraike | Toy Santa | Warden Walker | Mr. Sir | Charles “Trout” Walker | Kissin' Kate Barlow | Ramsley | Stacey Hinkhouse | Carla Santini | Lord Kelvin | General Fang | Inspector Fix | Black Scorpions | Viscount Mabrey | Ian Howe | Royal Pain | Stitches | Jadis the White Witch | Maugrim | Ginarrbrik | General Otmin | Vardan | Dr. Kozak | Jack Frost | Janice Avery | Gary Fulcher | Queen Narissa | Mitch Wilkinson | Simon Bar Sinister | El Diablo | Kendall Duncan | Tess Tyler | Speckles | Miraz | Sospespian | Glozelle | Nikabrik | Hag & Werewolf | Lucinda | Oswald Granger | The Red Queen | The Knave of Hearts | Hamish Ascot | The Jabberwock | Jubjub Bird | Nizam | Morgana le Fay | Maxim Horvath | Abigail Williams | Sun Lok | Drake Stone | Ms. Stout | CLU 2 | Rinzler | Sab Than | Matai Shang | Tal Hajus | Jenny | Latham Cole | Butch Cavendish | Jay Fuller | Evanora | Theodora | Maleficent (2014) | Diaval | King Stefan (2014) | King Henry | Taylor Dean | The Giantess | The Witch | The Wolf | Lady Tremaine (2015) | Grand Duke (2015) | Ugly Stepsisters (2015) | Lucifer (2015) | David Nix | Shere Khan (2016) | King Louie (2016) | Kaa (2016) | Bandar Log (2016) | Fleshlumpeater | Bloodbottler | Giants | Gaston Legume (2017) | LeFou (2017) | Monsieur D'Arque (2017) | Gaston's Buddies (2017) | The King (2017)

Other Animated Movies
Br'er Fox & Br'er Bear | Elmo St. Peters | Giant Magnet | Evil Clown | Merlock | Guy Graham | Phillium Benedict | Fenwick | Kojak | Ivan Krank | Von Talon | Cufflingk & Underlingk | Kazar | Vidia | The Supervisor | Mr. Whiskers | Were-Rat | Shelley | Colossus | Nassor | Toshiaki | Mr. Burgermeister | Ripslinger | Cad Spinner | Zarina | Bog King | Roland

Sequels
Abis Mal | Sa'Luk | Forty Thieves | Forte | Jesters | Zira | Nuka | Vitani | Outsiders | Morgana | Undertow | Cloak & Dagger | Bradley Uppercrust III | Tank | The Gammas | Buster | Reggie | Sarousch | Pom-Pom | Jacques von Hämsterviel | Reuben | Leroy | Erik Hellstrom | Lil' Lightning | Lord Qin | Bandits | Atka | Dixie | Mama Gunda | Uto & Kago | Marina Del Rey

Shorts and Comics
Peg Leg Pete | Kat Nipp | Phantom Blot | Mad Doctor | H. U. Hennessy | Big Bad Wolf | Captain Katt | Mortimer Mouse | Ajax the Gorilla | Beagle Boys | Flintheart Glomgold | Magica De Spell | Grace Goodwin