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I know you keep it hidden in the orb above your staff.
—The Evil Queen to Maleficent src

Maleficent's Staff is a magical item on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It débuts in the second episode of the first season.

Maleficent's Staff is based on the item of the same name from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.


Before First Curse

Accosting Ursula for trespassing in her home, Maleficent defends herself against the woman's lunging tentacles by blocking with her staff. Ursula states she was invited to the castle, but Maleficent denies sending for her. As the pair bicker, they stop upon hearing the approaching sound of loud barking dogs. Maleficent readies her staff, creating an orb of magic, as the hounds halt at the two women's feet. The dogs' master, Cruella De Vil, then walks in and removes her power of persuasion from her pets. Moments later, Rumplestiltskin arrives and reveals he sent invitations to Ursula to Cruella so he could propose something to them as well as Maleficent. In the castle lounge room, he suggests they help him retrieve a curse from Bald Mountain so each of them can have the happy endings that they would otherwise not get as villains. The women agree, and as the group traverse into the mountain, they face three great obstacles. Cruella uses her persuasion to remove the first hindrance, and once they reach a room with the curse surrounded by flames, Maleficent channels the fire into her staff. Lastly, Ursula grabs the curse orb with her tentacles, which triggers the awakening of the Chernabog. Admitting he used them to obtain the curse, Rumplestiltskin offers advice on the Chernabog, who eats the heart of the person with the greatest potential for evil. After he flees out of the exit, the women formulate a plan to allow the demon to pick one of them to attack while the other two will climb to safety and save the remaining person. The Chernabog chooses Maleficent, who counters with rapid magic blasts from her staff. Believing the women have abandoned her to die, Maleficent stops firing as the Chernabog closes in on her just as Ursula's tentacles pull her out of danger. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")

At some point after this, Maleficent forms an alliance with Cruella and Ursula as they seek to obtain a magic gauntlet in Rumplestiltskin's possession. Kidnapping his maid Belle as ransom, they force him to show up at Demon's Bluff with the gauntlet. Once Rumplestiltskin arrives, Maleficent coldly asks for the requested item, to which he levitates her into the air while magically choking her. When he asks for her last words, the witch gleefully chokes out that she is not alone. Soon, Ursula and then Cruella make themselves known as each pressures him to give up the gauntlet. To up the tension, Ursula proceeds to crush Belle with her tentacles until he angrily forfeits the gauntlet to them. With the terms satisfied, Maleficent teleports herself and her allies away. ("Heroes and Villains")

Years later, Maleficent leaves the past behind and settles for peace in her castle with a pet unicorn. The Queen, having previously traded the curse for a sleeping curse, wants it back. With the curse orb secured atop her staff's head, Maleficent refuses to return it, so the Queen battles her for it. During the dispute, the Queen prepares to attack the unicorn as a means to make Maleficent drop her guard. Once she has bound up her opponent, the Queen grasps the staff handle, smashing the orb to pieces, before collecting the curse scroll hidden among the broken shards. ("The Thing You Love Most")

After giving birth to an egg, Maleficent transforms into dragon form and guards her child in a cave. When Snow White and Prince Charming steal the egg, she reverts to human form and begs them to be merciful. Instead, Snow White vows to return the egg after everything is settled. As the pair run out of the cave, Maleficent uses her staff to blast them, but after they flee through the exit, the magic hits the wall, causing a cave-in. ("Best Laid Plans")

After Second Curse

Intent on stealing the door illustration from the heroes, Maleficent casts a spell with her staff, which puts everyone to sleep, so she, Cruella, Mr. Gold and Regina can search the apartment. After finding nothing there, they eventually procure the door page from Henry. With one glance, Mr. Gold assesses that the illustration is a forgery. Suspecting Regina is secretly working for the heroes, he commands Maleficent to put her to sleep. As Regina begins protesting, Maleficent puts her out with one wave from her staff. ("Best Laid Plans")


Production Notes

  • Maleficent's staff is one of the most expensive single items (props which aren't duplicated) made for the show.[1]
  • For the show, the dragon on Maleficent's staff was made from scratch while the orb embedded in the middle was originally a simple acrylic bowl. The staff handle's oddly bent shape was a deliberate touch to make the item stand out.[2]
    • Charron Studios in Barnaby, British Columbia were tasked with carving the dragon, and also cast the glass ball on top. It took them dozens of tries to get the right color scheme for the inside of the orb. The wood came from a branch twisted naturally into spirals.[1]


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


Start a Discussion Discussions about Maleficent's Staff

  • Maleficent's Staff's Orbs

    2 messages
    • Ok, I know this is totally irrelevant, but how comes Maleficent started of with clear swirly orbs on her staff in the first season, then jum...
    • For fashion of course. Anyhow, Maleficent in season 1 had the curse in her staff. Otherwise, she tends to have nothing. The Red orb you speak...
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