King Stefan is a supporting character in the 1959 Disney animated film Sleeping Beauty and the main antagonist in the 2014 live-action film Maleficent. He is the father of Princess Aurora. He was voiced by Taylor Holmes in the first film; as of 2011, he is now voiced by Corey Burton, as heard in Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams. In Maleficent, he was played by Sharlto Copley.
Stefan is very hateful, tyrannical, power-hungry, paranoid, obsessed with hunting and killing Maleficent, to the point where he did not care of seeing his dying queen.
At a young age, Stephan has always been ambitious. He hesitated at killing Maleficent at first because of their past friendship. But his desire for the throne, has 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 learn 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 watch this, Stefan indeed shows his remorse over his past betrayal and begs Maleficent not to kill Aurora, in which Maleficent responded by having Aurora having 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. This was shown at the climax where he sadistically taunts and torture Maleficent as soon as she enter his castle and undo 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.
King Stefan and Queen Leah are the monarchs of a Kingdom. He is overjoyed when his wife gives birth to a baby girl whom they named Aurora. The whole kingdom was invited by Stefan to celebrate her birth. But his and his queen's happiness is short lived, as the evil fairy Maleficent, the only person not invited to Aurora's celebration, enters his castle and curses the baby. She then prophecizes that on Aurora's 16th birthday, she will die from touching the spindle of a spinning wheel although after she leaves, one of the Three Good Fairies weakens the curse so their daughter will sleep instead of death. The King and Queen make the hardest decision of their lives: their daughter must be raised by the Three Good Fairies away in the forest in order to protect her. King Stefan ordered all spinning wheels in the kingdom to be burned in an attempt to prevent the curse from happening. The narrator reveals that sixteen sad and lonely years passed for Stefan and his dear queen.
Sixteen years later, he is waiting his now teenaged daughter's return to the Castle. When Aurora touches the spindle, the Good Fairies put everyone in the Kingdom to sleep. When Maleficent is defeated by Prince Phillip, he awakens and finally meets his daughter.
In the short segment, Stefan, Leah, Hubert, and Phillip all go off on a royal ceremony where Hubert is due to give a speech. Trusting their daughter, Stefan and Leah give Aurora the "keys to the kingdom" while they're away.
King Stefan appears in the feature film Maleficent portrayed by Sharlto Copley. In contrast to the character seen in Sleeping Beauty, this version of Stefan is the main antagonist of the film and has quite a history with Maleficent.
As a child, he was an orphan and often stole things. He first met Maleficent when he escaped to the Moors after stealing a gem. The two became the best of friends and one Maleficent's sixteenth birthday, Stefan showed her true love's kiss; as their close friendship gradually blossomed into romance. However, one night, Stefan stole Maleficent's wings so he could lie that he killed her and become the new king. He married King Henry's daughter Princess Lelia and together they had a child of their own, a baby girl they named Aurora.
However, his treacherous actions would cost him dearly as Maleficent placed a dark curse of eternal slumber upon his daughter Aurora as revenge for what he did to her. Over the next sixteen years, Stefan became extremely paranoid and obsessed with hunting Maleficent down, so obsessed that he couldn't care less for his dying queen.
When Aurora returns on the day before her sixteenth birthday, he has her locked up, but when the curse starts, she finds her way to the dungeons where the spinning wheels were burnt and pricks her finger, putting her into her deep slumber.
Stefan and his guards capture Maleficent and Diaval. Stefan brutally tortures Maleficent and taunts her. However, just when he's about to kill her with his sword, Maleficent's wings return to her, thanks to the help of Aurora. He is quickly overpowered by Maleficent and is carried onto a tower by the fairy. Maleficent nearly chokes Stefan, but decides to spare him. However, Stefan refuses defeat and attacks her again. The two fall from the tower, but Maleficent manages to remain airborne, while Stefan plummets to his death, ending his venomous wrath forever.
- He is one of only two characters in Disney history who is good in his original appearance but is made into a major villain in a subsequent production made years later, the other being Peter Pan in Once Upon a Time.
- Though King Stefan and Queen Leah don't appear in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, the thrones on which they sit are present in the hall of the castle where Terra faces the Wheel Master Unversed.
- King Stefan is the first Disney King to not have grey hair.
- King Stefan's role in Maleficent is similar to Hans from Frozen, as both betray the protagonist to trick them into falling in love with them, and both try to kill the "monster" as well.
- His role in Maleficent is also similar to that of The Wizard of Oz as portrayed in Wicked, as both characters are normally good, wise figures of authority who are portrayed as villains in the retellings while the evil witches from either original story are conversely portrayed heroically.