The Hocus Pocus 2 announcement came last year when Disney said they were developing a sequel to the 1993 witchy hit Hocus Pocus. The original film starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters, witches who are accidentally resurrected on Halloween by a group of curious children. Now, it seems, the House of Mouse has convinced all three stars to return in their respective roles, much to the delight of the Divine Miss M.
KATHY NAJIMY SAYS HOCUS POCUS 2 IS NEARING PRODUCTION
Kathy Najimy played Mary Sanderson in the original Hocus Pocus and is set to return for the sequel. In an interview on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show (via Comicbook.com), Najimy said that she, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker had spoken on the phone over several weeks regarding the sequel’s script and had given their notes on the screenplay. “Now it’s just location, times and dates and how long and all that. So it’s just, it’s those things,” Najimy said. So it sounds like the script is ready to go and now it is down to a matter of scheduling. Hopefully, the pieces will fall into place very soon.
HOCUS POCUS 2’S PREDECESSOR
Before Hocus Pocus 2, there was the original cult hit. The first showing of the 300-year-old witches, who met their demise by execution in the 17th Century, came almost 20 years ago. It was a silly but fun Disney movie that was written by Mick Garris, whose background consists of many horror movies and a strong relationship with Stephen King. The feature was direct by Kenny Ortega, who began his career as a music video director then moved on to features such as the High School Musical franchise. Other than Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, the movie also starred Omri Katz and Thora Birch.
The movie never “flew” in the eyes of critics (no surprise there), but fans seem to like it and over the years it has found a sort of family-friendly cult following. In fact, even though the movie bombed at the box office, it has found its following during the Halloween holiday. It is scheduled to run no less than 14 times during the Freeform channel’s “31 Nights of Halloween”. There have been many times a Hocus Pocus 2 was threatened but it never came together. But now that Disney has gone all-in on bringing their past to the present, it isn’t shocking that Hocus Pocus would be another property to be resurrected.
THE RETURN OF THE SANDERSON SISTERS
Before the official announcement about Hocus Pocus 2, Bette Midler had been hoping for a comeback. She said early on that she was “absolutely” up to return to her role as Winifred, the eldest Sanderson witch, also saying, “I can’t wait to fly!” She joked to Entertainment Online, telling them, “Oh my goodness me. Oh I hope they get to me before I’m a corpse,” said Midler. “We wanna fly again. I hope Disney+ is a big success and I hope we get to do it, because [Winifred] is of course one of my favorite characters.” As things began to fall into place, Midler remarked, “Oh, yeah. We’re just talking logistics.” Those logistics must have been ironed out because the official announcement followed and all three stars are ready to return.
Midler confirmed the return for Hocus Pocus 2 via Fox5 stating, “They want to make a movie, they’ve asked us if we were interested and of course all of us said yes,” said Midler. “I’m game, I’m totally game.” So, the three main stars are in agreement to return. Are there any others from the original on their way back?
OTHER HOCUS POCUS ACTORS RETURNING?
At this point, only Mary, Sarah, and Winifred are slated to return for Hocus Pocus 2. There is no word on if Katz or Birch has been asked or even will be asked. We do know Kenny Ortega will not return in the directors’ chair nor will Mick Garris pen the script.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Originally, Adam Shankman had been tapped to jump behind the camera for Hocus Pocus 2. This could be a fine choice as Shankman has had some success handling comedies. His resume includes Bringing Down the House, Cheaper by The Dozen 2, and Disney’s Bedtime Stories as well as Rock of Ages and his most recent comedy feature What Men Want.
However, Shankman has recently been replaced by director Anne Fletcher due to scheduling conflicts. Fletcher’s career as a director has included comedies like 27 Dresses and Hot Pursuit. The director hasn’t spoken out about her new job yet, but the handover should go smoothly as Shankman and Fletcher appear to be friends who’ve worked together previously.
The script will be written by Jen D’Angelo, who doesn’t have a huge background when it comes to writing but has found time on series such as Workaholics, LA to Vegas, and Happy Together. Actress Bette Middler says she has read a draft of the script and is really excited by what she’s seeing.
With Disney producing and recently saying they are looking for more product to fill their Disney+ streaming slate, this is where Hocus Pocus 2 is scheduled to premiere. There is no date for this premiere though.
THE PLOT OF HOCUS POCUS 2
At this early stage, a plot for Hocus Pocus 2 would only be a guess. There are more questions than probable answers. What brings back the Sanderson Sisters? Will the kids be brought back as grown-ups? If that’s the case, then would we see Katz return along with Vinessa Shaw as his paramour? Like we said, many questions, not a single answer. Hang tight though, as the movie goes into production, plot points are sure to leak.
HOCUS POCUS 2 RELEASE DATE
The film is officially scheduled for the Fall 2022 lineup on Disney+. While Disney isn’t making any guarantees on an exact date, it seems likely that this movie will be something you can expect to watch on Halloween in 2022. Bette Middler shared the news on Twitter.
Of course, if you need your Sanderson Sisters fix, Freeform can be your answer. But if you need more of an updated version of the witches, look no further than October 30, 2020, and the special In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover. This comes as part of Miss M’s annual Hulaween festivities which benefit the New York Restoration Project.
This may satisfy fans and the actresses for the time being but everyone wants more, even the actresses. Midler says the three sisters always talk about reprising their roles each time they meet up, “We actually talk about it whenever we see each other,” Midler shares. “We laugh, we say, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be great if?’ Because all of us had pretty much the same experience on it.” But a short reunion, while a nice little appetizer, won’t fill fans. For the sake of the many fans of the original, let’s get this thing going. Who’s looking forward to another Hocus Pocus?