Autumn leaves, chilly gloom and fall-scented candles are about to fill the air — along with some witchy magic, Halloween spirit and a black candle flame, summoning the spookiest sequel in September: “Hocus Pocus 2.” The Sanderson sisters will return in this long awaited sequel alongside some new faces.
The film is directed by Anne Fletcher (“Dumplin,’” “The Proposal”) and produced by Lynn Harris (“King Richard,” “The Shallows”), with Ralph Winter (“Hocus Pocus,” the “X-Men” franchise), David Kirschner (“Hocus Pocus,” “Chucky”) and Adam Shankman (“Disenchanted,” “Hairspray”) serving as executive producers.
With the end of September and the start of October just around the corner, it’s time to get into gear for a magical movie 30 years in the making. Below we have compiled everything we know about “Hocus Pocus 2.”
The Sanderson sisters will return to Salem
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy will reprise their original roles of Winifred, Sarah and Mary Sanderson, the trio of witchy sisters summoned back to Salem for a second time after Max Dennison (Omri Katz) lit the Black Flame Candle all those years ago.
“Hocus Pocus 2” is premiering directly on Disney+
In contrast to the theatrical release of the first film, “Hocus Pocus 2” will be released exclusively on Disney+ for streaming on Sept. 30 — just in time to kick off Spooky Season. It will not be playing in theaters.
It’s been 29 years…
According to Disney’s official synopsis, “It’s been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the 17th-century sisters, and they are looking for revenge. Now it is up to three high school students to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve.”
There’s a new trio of kids at the center of the story
Once again, Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary (Kathy Najimy) have magically returned on Halloween thanks to a Salem resident lighting the Black Flame Candle. This time, a young girl named Becca (Whitney Peak) is the culprit. Becca is coming up on her 16th birthday, which, according to magic-store-owner Gilbert (Sam Richardson), is the marker of age at which new witches receive their powers.
In the 1993 film, the Sanderson sisters were back to life after their 1693 execution with the help of a young boy named Max Dennison (Omri Katz) who has just moved to Salem from Los Angeles, California. In that film, Max wasn’t a witch, but instead a virgin who lit the candle and summoned their return 300 years later.
Hannah Waddingham and Sam Richardson play new characters
Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso,” “Sex Education”) swoops into the sequel film alongside costar from Season 2 of “Ted Lasso” Sam Richardson (“The Afterparty”) with more franchise newbies Whitney Peak (“Gossip Girl”) Belissa Escobedo (“American Horror Stories”), Lilia Buckingham (“Dirt”), Froyan Gutierrez (“Teen Wolf”), and Tony Hale (“Veep”).
Waddingham has a key role in “Hocus Pocus 2” — she plays a mysterious witch tied to the past of the Sanderson Sisters. Richardson, meanwhile, plays the man who runs the gift shop in the former home of the Sanderson Sisters.
Becca (Whitney Peak) could be a real witch
This new young heroine could be a real magic-wielder this time around versus Dani Dennison (Thora Birch) posing falsely as a witch in the original “Hocus Pocus.”
“On her 16th birthday, her 16th Halloween, a young woman – as the story moves through its timeframe on this Halloween night – discovers that she is a white witch and it’s kind of good versus evil,” executive producer David Kirschner told TheWrap. Kirschner also wrote and produced the original 1993 “Hocus Pocus.”
Don’t miss our complete (and thrilling) deep-dive into the making and release of the first “Hocus Pocus.”
Two trailers have been released so far:
In the first teaser trailer released for the Sept. 30 sequel, Becca (Peak) and friend Izzy (Escobedo) plan to have a scary movie marathon on the night of Becca’s birthday, which also happens to be All Hallow’s Eve. A trip to Gilbert’s Magic Shoppe changes that, hinting that Becca might be more than just any teenager celebrating her sweet sixteen.
“You know, legend has it, it’s on the sixteenth birthday that a witch gets her powers,” Gilbert (Richardson) tells Izzy and Becca.
The tricky trio of witches are then summoned by Becca and Izzy on Halloween night in the woods, when they light the Black Flame Candle. Smokey silhouettes of the Sanderson sisters squeeze into the end of the trailer, and Winifred gleefully says “Lock up your children! Yes. Salem, we’re back!” A full look at the original threesome of witches follows this first trailer after the release date’s advertisement.
The second trailer fills in some more gaps, giving us a glimpse of Hannah Waddingham’s character as well as an explanation of where the two young girls got the Black Flame Candle in the first place. Gilbert gave it to his “favorite, frequent” customers as a birthday present. Before Gilbert gives the girls the candle, Hannah Waddingham’s bird lady visits younger versions of Winifred (Taylor Henderson), Sarah (Juju Journey Brener) and Mary (Nina Kitchen) to wish them a happy sixteenth birthday and gift them that creepy book with an eyeball as the keyhole. “They were right to fear thee,” she says. “Magic has a way of uniting.” The sequel will take us back to the teenage Sandersons before transporting us 370 years into the future — Becca and Izzy’s time.
A Binx-esque black cat haunts Gilbert’s shop
Thackery Binx (Sean Murray) walked his sister Emily home to the afterlife once he was freed from his prison of a black cat’s body, in which Winifred trapped him. When he interfered in his sister’s death by the witches, Winifred transformed him into a cat, and the spell lasted even after the sisters were hung, because it made Thackery immortal. While Binx isn’t back for “Hocus Pocus 2,” there is another cat…
Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) will be back too
And at the very end of the second official trailer, Billy Butcherson resurrects as well. Gilbert, to his screaming horror, digs him up, freeing him to crawl out from under the graveyard in which he was buried.
“Stop, I am a good zombie,” Butcherson replies as Gilbert runs away with his shovel.
Jones played Billy Butcherson in “Hocus Pocus,” a former paramour of both Winifred Sanderson (Midler) and Sarah Sanderson (Parker). He was caught cheating on the former with the latter.
Max, Dani and Allison are not coming back
The original trio of Max (Omri Katz), Dani (Thora Birch) and Allison (Vinessa Shaw) are not returning for the sequel, but they’re excited nonetheless.
“I know that the [sequel] was done for the fans, and I know everybody’s intention is to have everybody have a good time while watching the film,” Birch told TheWrap. “And so I’m excited for them. And I will be happily watching.”
“Hocus Pocus 2” casts a spell on Disney+ starting September 30, 2022.