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- “You convinced Cynder, my only child, to join your team of Sky-fools - and renounce her birthright as my evil heir - and you think I will just let bygones be BYGONES?!”
- —Malefor, Touch of Evil
Though he is a ruthless enslaver and deciever, determined to make Cynder walk the path of evil against her will, Malefor has somewhat of a nicer side, being interested in letting his daughter have fun before she turned against him. He struggles to be a good father while doing evil at the same time, such as eating a Mabu servant he sent to make sure Cynder was alright. Unlike his canon counterpart, he puts reason above his pride, and struck a deal with Kaos instead of making new enemies. He also demonstrates traits of racial superiority, as when he realized Spyro was a Purple Dragon, he decided to kill him to finish the job of eradicating his "putrid breed".
Malefor is also willing to compliment his enemies for certain acts (such as when Spyro ventured out into the Cadaverous Crypts to try and convince Malefor to help him bring back his family, he commended the young dragon for his bravery).
Malefor has a powerful fire breath and impressive strength due to his size. As stated by Spyro (but yet to be shown), he is a master of Undead Magic, allowing him to tap into hidden dimensions and realms beyond Skylands. He is a cunning manipulator, using his family's talent of brilliant acting to fool others (even his own daughter) into letting their guard down. As seen Touch of Evil, while in the Cadaverous Crypts he can wrap his wings around himself to take advantage of his dark color scheme to camouflage himself.
Malefor is one of the most fearsome and powerful villains in Skylands; the evil dragon king of the Cadaverous Crypts. During his reign, he became sworn enemies with Spyro's ancestors (for unknown reasons), who were protectors of the Core of Light before they disappeared. He has high expectations of his daughter Cynder of becoming an evil dragon overlord like him, unaware that Cynder doesn't want to follow in his footsteps.
In Return to Cynder, Cynder had snuck away from her father by claiming she was going to the mall. Malefor eventually found Cynder, and during their conversation about taco night, the evil dragon king noticed Team Spyro and engaged them in battle. Spyro declared that they won't leave without Cynder, who had recently came to Skylanders Academy to become a Skylander. Malefor however believed Cynder won't abandon her birthright and knew that her destiny was to rule the Cadaverous Crypts by his side.
As the fight raged on, Malefor pinned Spyro down and discovered upon closer inspection that the young dragon was the last of his species. Malefor claimed that he had a hand in helping wipe out Spyro's ancestors and attempted to kill Spyro right there and then to finally rid the realm of Spyro's kind. To his shock, Cynder saved Spyro from her father's wrath and she stood up to Malefor, revealing that she wanted to be a Skylander before leaving with Spyro and the other Skylanders. Angered by this betrayal, Malefor announced to a fleeing Cynder that the next time they meet she would not be his daughter but an enemy, and he won't leave any tacos for her.In Touch of Evil, Malefor was approached in the Underworld by Spyro, who came to the dragon king at the request of finding Spyro's ancestors and sending Spyro to the dimension where his kind were banished to by Master Eon. In spite of Spyro trying to negotiate with Malefor without a fight, the dragon king instead proceeded to attack Spyro furiously, still infuriated over Spyro's hand in turning his only child Cynder to the side of good. He eventually captured the young dragon after drawing the Skylander out by saying he knew the whereabouts of Spyro's parents.
With Spyro in his clutches, Malefor sent a broadcast to all of Skylands that he had captured Spyro to be his slave and would return the purple dragon safely to the Academy if the Skylanders return Cynder back to the dragon king, with her pledging herself to evil. If the demands weren't met by sundown, Spyro won't be seen again. While waiting for the Skylanders, Malefor revealed to a weakened Spyro that he knows Cynder would give herself up for the young purple dragon, but the dragon king planned to take both Cynder and Spyro back to the Cadaverous Crypts forever.
The evil sorcerer Kaos came to Malefor and wanted to take Spyro for himself under Strykore's orders, much to Malefor's surprise. In return for handing Spyro over, Malefor would face neither Kaos nor Strykore's wrath, and the dragon king obliged without incident. Hiding this exchange from the Skylanders, Malefor found a lone Cynder, who declared that she came for her friend Spyro and not for her father. The dragon king insisted that the Skylanders weren't Cynder's friends and that she would understand that in due time. Cynder retorted that the Skylanders showed her true friendship than Malefor ever could, angering him. Suddenly, she fired an electrical attack on her father and gave out a signal, allowing Team Spyro and Master Eon sprung out and attack Malefor at full force alongside Cynder.
Malefor then collapsed in pain, and seeing Cynder nearby, he feigned repentance, easily tricking Cynder into protecting her father from further interrogation and attacks. Despite Eon's warnings of brilliant acting running in her family, Cynder persisted in not letting the Skylanders harm Malefor, only for the dragon king to successfully capture his daughter and take her away to parts unknown.
Before her betrayal of his expectations, Malefor allowed his daughter to have fun texting or in malls and treated her to taco nights. However, after she decided to join the side of good, he announced that she would no longer be his daughter, but his enemy (implying he intended to disown her). Despite this, in Touch of Evil, he still cares for her (in his own way) as he was wrathful towards Spyro for playing a part in her defecting to good, and sought to kidnap Cynder and try to make her evil again.
The Dragon King was greatly insulted by Spyro's audacity at every turn and responds with greater violence during their battles, as well as transferring the grudge he held against Spyro's ancestors to the young dragon himself. His hatred towards Spyro grew, as the young dragon is responsible for convincing his only child, Cynder, to join the Skylanders.
Malefor sees Kaos as a nuisance, threatening the wizard to leave his domain or else he'll suffer the same pain Spyro was enduring. However, when Kaos revealed his alliance with Strykore, Malefor's tune changed entirely.
Malefor seems to know of Strykore's fearsome reputation, as he readily complied with Kaos' demands for Spyro upon hearing that Strykore had plans for him.
- Malefor's show design is a combination of his original design from The Legend of Spyro, and his canon counterpart, but incorporates new exclusive traits:
- His body features glowing lava-like markings between his scales, along the sides of his neck and behind a single pointed scale on his forehead (between his eyebrows). The inside of his mouth and nostrils also glow like these markings.
- Instead of having dark pink/purple scales, he has pale violet/indigo scales.
- When viewed from a distance, his scales appear smooth (much like the scales of Spyro and Cynder), but up close his scales can be seen as rougher and more defined (likely due to Malefor's greater age in comparison to Spyro and Cynder).
- His horns have dull, insaturated colors, and his chin spikes are the same color as his scales, like his original The Legend of Spyro design.
- He has the bracelets and tail spike, along with the immense, towering height, of his canon counterpart.
- In Return to Cynder, he briefly mimics his pose on the cover of the second issue of Return of the Dragon King, holding Spyro against his face.
- Though Malefor's original voice actor, Mark Hamill, was considered, the actor was involved in the film shooting of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi at the time of recording and was unavaliable.
- Unlike his other counterparts, Malefor's name is pronounced slightly differently in Skylanders Academy.
- The normal pronunciation is "ma-luh-for", whereas the Academy pronunciation is "mal-for".
- Like his previous incarnations, Malefor has direct ties to Cynder.
- In The Legend of Spyro series and the main Skylanders canon, Malefor stole the egg that would eventually hatch into Cynder, and corrupted her into his evil servant.
- In Skylanders Academy, Malefor is said to be Cynder's father, but unlike the other cases there is currently no evidence against her being his biological daughter.
- Unlike his previous incarnations, which were corrupted Purple Dragons of Prophecy, this incarnation of Malefor is a Violet Dragon.
- Also, the distance between the two large horns on his head is much more narrow in comparison to his previous two incarnations.
- The idea of brilliant acting running in his family may be a reference to his first incarnation from The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon where, with just a few clever word choices, he made Cynder doubt herself long enough for him to once again corrupt her to his side.