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Be very afraid. Disney is set on continuing the story of Maleficent.

Joachim Rønning, who helmed Jerry Bruckheimer’s and Disney’s fifth Pirates of the Carribean film, Dead Men Tell No Tales is apparently in the Disney business once again. Deadline is reporting that Rønning is the front-runner to direct Maleficent 2. After Angelia Jolie confirmed earlier this year that she would reprise her role as the leading lady, Disney sought a director to bring the project together. Maleficent is based on Disney’s 1959 fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, this time focusing on the villain.

Rønning is a director in high demand. In April, he was said to be directing an adaption of Michael Crichton‘s final book, Micro. Apparently, nothing came of those talks since he is not committed to that project. He has also expected to be the director Pirates of the Carribean 6 when production for that film gets off the ground. Finally, he is working on a new project from Bruckheimer entitled Origins, which was an original pitch that Paramount picked up right away.

The big wigs at Disney liked working with Rønning enough to offer him this opportunity to direct Maleficent 2. It is unfortunate that Jolie wasn’t able to take on directing the picture herself since she has certainly shown herself capable.

Interestingly, there is no mention of Rønning’s directorial partner joining him on Maleficent 2 or Pirates 6. Espen Sandberg, who co-directed Kon-Tiki and Pirates 5 with Rønning, will go another way with a smaller Norwegian production entitled Amundsen.

Maleficent 2 is looking to start production in the first quarter of 2018, so we’ll likely be hearing much more about it in the weeks to come.

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