“Now you shall deal with me, o prince, and all the powers of HELL!”
―Maleficent before transforming into Dragon Maleficent
Dragon Maleficent is the dragon form of Maleficent that first appeared in the climax of Disney's 1959 film, Sleeping Beauty. It has also made numerous appearances outside the original film.
Dragon Maleficent, as the name implies, is a gigantic winged dragon. It possesses black scales, spines, and claws, with a purple belly. It also has webbed ears, and its nostrils are colored yellow. It also possesses whiskers below the snout, and its tail has three tips, lined in a vertical fashion. Its eyes are glowing and pupil-less, having green linings and yellow centers.
The dragon is able to breathe emerald-green fire. It also had venomous fangs, which ironically killed her the second time around.
At the film's climax, when Prince Phillip gets through the forest of thorns, Maleficent swirls down and stands in his way. Then after telling him he will now have to deal with her, she shoots up into the clouds becoming and enormous black, terrifying, fire breathing dragon in order to battle and destroy him. He takes a charge at her and she, now in dragon form, blasts him with fire, knocking him off Samson. He takes the blast and she fires at him twice forcing him into the forest. He hits her on the snout with his sword, She tries to snap at him but can't reach. Then raising her head up, she sets the entire forest of thorns on fire, forcing him to retreat to a rocky cliff.
As he climbs up, Maleficent snaps at him as Phillip tries to fight her off, forcing him near the edge of a drop. Then with one blast of fire, he loses his shield. She is close to being victorious but with help from Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, they cast a spell on his sword. Then before she can get a chance to kill him, he throws it at her which stabs right into her chest and she falls down the cliff to her death.
The dragon appears in the film, but as an alternate form of Diaval, defending Maleficent from King Stefan's men instead of fighting Prince Phillip. During the climax of the film, Diaval, at Maleficent's command, turns into a dragon and ferociously attacks them inside the castle with a breath of fire. During the fight, he is pinned down by them but after Maleficent regains her wings, she sets him free.
The dragon is set to appear in the television movie, Descendants. Maleficent takes this form after all the villains kids side with good over handing her the Fairy Godmother's wand to restore her powers to full strength. Her daughter, Mal uses a spell that turns the dragon into a small lizard, which is equal to the size of the love in her heart.
For many years, Maleficent hones her skill in magic until she obtains great power, and with her ability to turn into a dragon, she burns a portion of land into a scorched ruin.
At some point, years later, King Stefan awakens Briar Rose from the sleeping curse, causing Maleficent to fall into a state of depression as she lives in isolation and loses her ability to transform into a dragon. Regina, having read tales of Maleficent's frightening and powerful past deeds, brings her to a tree which still burns half a decade later from when she scorched an entire portion of land, hoping to provide motivation for who she used to be. Maleficent engulfs the burning tree's flames, and while she is unsure if it worked, King Stefan and his men soon arrive to attack her. She counters with an attempt to transform, but it fails, leaving both herself and Regina to be sentenced to death. Regina, unwilling to give up, burns through her binds and hurls a fireball at the guards. When Regina's magic dries up, Maleficent succeeds in transforming into a dragon and forcing King Stefan and his men to retreat.
A long time after Regina has become the Evil Queen and put Snow White under a sleeping curse which she got from Maleficent, Prince Charming arrives, tasked to help Rumplestiltskin hide an egg inside a beast. He holds her at sword-point. When he demands to know where the beast is, she magically flicks him away onto the ground before admitting she is the one he seeks. Transforming into a colossal dragon, she furiously chases him while spitting flames at him. He hops onto her neck and he tosses the potion into her ear flap. In agitation, Maleficent shakes him off, although he quickly avoids her fire breath by jumping out a window and into the sea. Angrily, she spouts another stream of fire upon sighting the prince surface above water, but her flames don't reach him.
A short time afterwards, Maleficent casts a sleeping curse on the guards of Snow White and Prince Charming's castle, so she, Ursula, and Cruella De Vil can meet with them to discuss stopping the Evil Queen's plan to enact the Dark Curse. Hoping to defeat her, the couple begrudgingly team up with them. When they reach the bridge over the ravine, all are denied passage by the guards protecting it because Maleficent and her two companions are deemed untrustworthy. Impatient, she transforms into a dragon, killing them with fire breath, leaving the bridge accessible.
Staking her claim on a region of western territory, Maleficent scares off the inhabitants with her fire-breath before making a nest in a cave, where she gives birth by laying an egg. At some point during this, she collects various items, including a baby rattle, and places them into the cave. As an extra precaution, Maleficent has Cruella and Ursula stand guard outside while she herself remains in dragon form in the den and protectively curls the egg around her tail. However, Snow White and Prince Charming get past them and venture into the cave. Intending to allow an apprentice to infuse a vessel with darkness so their own child won't become evil, they steal the egg, to which an angry Maleficent retaliates before reverting to human form and begging them for mercy. Snow White promises to return the egg once things are settled, and then she and Prince Charming escape, as a devastated Maleficent makes a failed attempt to block them. After the egg is implanted with darkness, Snow White and Prince Charming find out too late that it'll be sent to another world, despite their promise to Maleficent. In horror, they watch as the egg hatches into a child, and attempt to save the baby from being sucked into a portal, but it is too late.
Once the curse takes effect, Maleficent becomes trapped in her dragon form and is imprisoned in a cave under the clock tower in the town of Storybrooke.
After Henry falls into a coma from ingesting a poisoned apple turnover, Emma resorts to finding the true love potion in dragon Maleficent's body. and defeats the best.
After Cruella and Ursula enter town, Cruella sacrifices blood from both Snow White and Prince Charming to Maleficent's ashes to complete the spell that proceeds to morphs her ashes into her undead form, then her dragon form before restoring her to human.
Maleficent confronts Cruella as to why she lied to her about her daughter Lily and tell her that she was dead. Cruella simply tells her that she's a terrible person and left her in the woods to die, claiming she isn't "mother material". She tells her that Ursula and herself took her dragon egg to absorb the magic and keep themselves youthful. Furious at her, Maleficent tells Cruella her death will last for days and turns into a dragon. However, Cruella uses her powers to put Maleficent under her control as she can control animals
After unexpectedly coming back to life on Aurora and Phillip's first wedding anniversary, Maleficent, as revenge for her last defeat, kidnaps Aurora and takes her to Forbidden Mountain, but Phillip, with the help to the three good fairies, follow her to get her back, which results in another battle against Maleficent's dragon form, after she catches them inside her lair. Since Phillip no longer has the Sword of Truth with him, he manages to defeat the dragon again by tricking her in to biting her own tail with her venomous fangs, and killing her once more.
The dragon's most famous role outside the film is the nighttime spectacular Fantasmic!. The Queen summons Maleficent in order to destroy Mickey Mouse. She turns into a fire breathing lizard. He appears and finishes her off with the sword in the stone. She is then destroyed along with the other villains.
There have been two dragons used in the Disneyland version. The original version was a mechanical puppet on a JLG cherry picker. The new dragon debuted on September 1, 2009 after a rough period. The new dragon is the largest Audio-Animatronic ever built, standing at over 45 feet tall.
Each dragon has/had a codename:
The old Disneyland dragon is conflictingly named either "Bucky" or "Dymo"; it is unknown which name was the actual one
The current Audio-Animatronic Dragon is officially codenamed "Snaps McGee", but among many Disneyland alumni, it is known as "Murphy", named after Murphy's law following multiple delays over the Summer of 2009
The Disney World dragon is the only old-style dragon still used, and is codenamed "Vivian"
There is currently no data on the codename of the Tokyo dragon, though it is known it is a copy of "Snaps McGee/Murphy"
Maleficent transforms into her dragon form several times throughout the Kingdom Hearts series, usually for a boss fight. In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, she is defeated similarly to the original film as Prince Phillip fights her with a Sword of Truth, though Aqua helps him too.
Throughout the entire duration of her transformation and fight, Maleficent only spoke once, where she proceeded to laugh at Prince Phillip due to confidence that her victory was at hand shortly before her demise.
Sleeping Beauty's sound effects designer Jim Macdonald used castanets for the sound of Maleficent's jaws snapping as the dragon. He got the sound of her fiery breath by asking the U.S. Army to send him some training films on using flame throwers. The biting sound of the dragon was also heard when she bangs the ground with her staff to silence the goons as well used for the biting sound of Tick-Tock the Crocodile.
The Sea Dragon in the Little Mermaid episode "Heroes" was based in design on Maleficent's dragon form. This also technically makes that appearance the only one where her dragon form acted as a protagonist instead of an antagonist in an animated form.
The dragon makes a cameo appearance in a Timon and Pumbaa episode.
When Madam Mim turns into a dragon during her Wizard's Duel with Merlin in The Sword in the Stone (a rule she apparantly made and broke), the music heard during Maleficent's dragon transformation starts playing in the background.
In the VHS version of the film due to it using pan-and-scan instead of widescreen, the dragon's body isn't completely shown. Her tail is never seen until the point in which she falls over the cliff, and is ironically the last visible part of her before she is destroyed.
Despite sporting a pair of wings, it's unknown if she is capable of flight. She does fall over a cliff, though her inability to fly here could be attributed to having suffered a mortal injury from Prince Phillip. However, she is seen flying in the Sleeping Beauty projector screen from Epic Mickey and during the boss fight in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
There is a robot with the shape of the dragon in the "Phineas and Ferb" episode "A Hard Knight's Night".
The dragon's defeat was the most gory of the Disney Villains' defeats during Walt Disney's lifetime; when stabbed in the heart by Prince Phillip, blood was clearly visible.
Gloomtail in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has a similar coloring scheme to this one.