King Stefan is a 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.
King Stefan and Queen Leah are the monarchs of a Kingdom, most likely in Medieval France. 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 places a curse that she will die from touching the spindle of a spinning wheel on her sixteenth birthday. After she leaves, one of the Three Good Fairies, Merryweather, 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 he and his queen. Sixteen years later he is waiting his daughter's return in 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.
King Stefan appears in the feature film Maleficent as the main antagonist, portrayed by actor Sharlto Copley. In contrast to the character seen in Sleeping Beauty, this version of Stefan is villainous and ruthless, caring less for his family and willing to do anything to kill Maleficent and remain king. His cruelty is heavily implied to be what caused Maleficent to turn evil in the first place.
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 best friends and one Maleficent's sixteenth birthday, Stefan showed her true love's kiss. However, one day, 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 curse 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. He 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 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 become airborne while Stefan falls to his death.
- He is perhaps one of the 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.
- 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.
- He is modeled after Hans Conried, who is best known as Captain Hook in Peter Pan. Conried was also the performance model for Stefan and recorded some dialogues before Taylor Holmes was cast.