The Sanderson sisters first took off on their broomsticks (and flew into our hearts!) back in 1993, with Disney’s Hocus Pocus—a film that, while not an immediate box office hit, has since reached cult-classic status and retains a fervently loyal fanbase.
Sentenced to death in 1693 for practicing witchcraft, Sanderson sisters Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy) have been accidentally resurrected, 300 years later. Max (Omri Katz), who unknowingly brought the witches back to life, must spend Halloween night teamed up with his little sister Dani (Thora Birch) and his high school crush Allison (Vinessa Shaw), in an attempt to break a centuries-old curse and send the witches back to… wherever it is they came from.
Hocus Pocus has been a Halloweentime favorite for decades, with a handful of television channels featuring the film each year as part of their spooky season of movie marathons and countdowns. The yearly reminder of just how fun the Sanderson sisters really are, has had fans begging for an additional film for quite a while. We finally have another Hocus Pocus film to look forward to, and it’s sure to be just as spooktacular as the original.
Here’s everything we know about Disney’s upcoming sequel, Hocus Pocus 2:
Is There a Trailer for the Sequel?
The teaser trailer for Hocus Pocus 2 was just released last month, and you can watch it here.
When & Where Will Hocus Pocus 2 be Released?
While we don’t have an official date yet, Hocus Pocus 2 is scheduled to be released in October of 2022, probably just in time for Halloween. The sequel is slated for release on Disney+, though we’re not sure about there being a theatrical release.
Who is in the Cast of Characters?
A handful of the original cast members from the 1993 film have returned for Hocus Pocus 2, including the spellbinding trio of Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson sisters. Doug Jones has also returned for the sequel, reprising his role as the zombified ex-boyfriend, Billy.
New faces in the cast include Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, Belissa Escobedo, and Tony Hale, and the sequel also includes the much-anticipated addition of Hannah Waddingham. We aren’t sure yet of Waddingham’s role in Hocus Pocus 2, but we’ll share all of the details when we find out. Additionally, Juju Brener, Froy Gutierrez, Taylor Paige Henderson, Nina Kitchen, and Sam Richardson have been cast in the sequel, with their roles currently undisclosed. Here are the cast of characters that we do know of so far:
- Bette Midler is Winifred “Winnie” Sanderson, the eldest Sanderson sister and quick-witted leader of the wicked trio.
- Sarah Jessica Parker is Sarah Sanderson, the youngest of the three sisters, who somehow manages to stay aboard her broomstick despite her somewhat ditzy nature.
- Kathy Najimy is Mary Sanderson, the middle sister to Winifred and Sarah, whose prowling mannerisms resemble that of a hounddog.
- Doug Jones is William “Billy” Butcherson, a former boyfriend who was poisoned by Winifred and brought back to life as a zombie.
- Whitney Peak is Becca, a modern-day high-schooler trying to stop the Sanderson sisters from destroying her town of Salem, Massachusetts.
- Lilia Buckingham is Cassie, a classmate of Becca who also tries to stop the three witches.
- Belissa Escobedo is Izzy, a current high school student in Salem who helps Cassie and Becca rally against the Sanderson sisters.
- Tony Hale is Jefry Traske, town mayor of that spooky little place called Salem.
Should we expect to see Thora Birch reprise her role as “Dani,” the young protagonist from the original film? We’re not sure yet. But Birch tweeted earlier this year that “2022 will be ‘Mah-velous!’ ” echoing Winifred Sanderson’s signature phrase—so we’ll have to wait and see if Dani returns.
Who Else is Involved in Production?
It’s not just the familiar faces from in front of the camera that have returned to Salem for the 2022 sequel. In addition to the cast, many of the original crew members who were on the other side of the camera in 1993, are currently on set for Hocus Pocus 2.
“Because,” Midler told People Magazine, “a lot of the success of what we did on that picture had to do with the team that was surrounded, had to do with the team that they assembled to make that picture, the people who did the flying and the rigging, the people who did the green screens, the people who did the … I don’t think they called it the green screen in those days. The people who did the hair and makeup, which were all exemplary, the costumers, and the special effects people.”
Composer John Debney, who arranged the music for the original Hocus Pocus, has also returned for the sequel. So, fans of the divine Bette Midler should look forward to new musical numbers starring the equally spectacular Winifred Sanderson. She’ll put a spell on you!
Additionally, Jen D’Angelo, known for her comedic writing in Workaholics, wrote the script for Hocus Pocus 2. Anne Fletcher signed on as director in April of 2021, replacing Adam Shankman.
“I am so grateful to be able to play a part in bringing these witches back to life,” Fletcher said earlier this year, “and to be working with my friends at Disney again makes it all the more special… Now more than ever, people need to laugh,” Fletcher stated. “We should be laughing every day, and there is so much fun to be had with these three unbelievable women playing delicious characters from such a beloved film.”
What are the Filming Details for Hocus Pocus 2?
With production scheduled to begin in Salem, Massachusetts this past summer, Hocus Pocus 2 is now in the middle of filming. In September of this year, film sets were constructed around Lincoln and Newport, Rhode Island. Filming then began in late October, in Providence. And just in time for Halloween—the Sanderson sisters’ trademark holiday—the first official teaser trailer was released.
Understandably, the hype surrounding the long-overdue sequel is palpable. Some fans even managed to get up close to the on-set production in Rhode Island, and footage was leaked to social media in early November. But dear viewer, beware! The leaked footage ventures into some deep spoiler territory! And who knows what sort of curses may befall those who trespass against the Sanderson sisters and spoil their story…
What Took So Long?!
Various Hocus Pocus projects have been in the works since 2014, with some of the (probably bad) ideas swept off the table by the original witches themselves.
Back in 2017, the Disney Channel was working to develop a Hocus Pocus remake, and Bette Midler wanted nothing to do with it. The script was written by Scarlett Lacey and had David Kirschner, producer of the 1993 original, onboard as well.
Midler criticized the remake as being “cheap,” and vocalized her doubt in finding a suitable player for Winifred Sanderson. “I’m not sure what they’re going to do with my character,” Midler stated. “My character is very, very broad and I don’t know who they’re going to find to play that.” Eventually, the Disney Channel project was scrapped.
What Will Hocus Pocus 2 be About?
We’ll have to wait until next year’s spooky season to find out what exactly the Sanderson sisters have up their 17th-century sleeves, but here’s what we know about the plot so far: The story will take place twenty-nine years after the original Hocus Pocus, and will feature a fresh trio of female power in the form of three high school girls named Becca, Cassie, and Izzy. The Sanderson sisters have returned to their previous stomping grounds of Salem, Massachusetts, and the mismatched group of present-day teenagers will have to band together to thwart the plans of the three witches.
And we know that the story is Bette Midler approved! “They presented us with an outline,” Midler told People Magazine last year, “and after we picked ourselves up off the floor, because it’s been 27 years, we looked at it and I think all of us agreed that it was pretty great.” With Jen D’Angelo on the script, it’s sure to be as clever and hilarious as the original.
“This is a movie for everyone,” says Anne Fletcher, “from the fans who grew up with the first film to the next generation of viewers, and I can’t wait to get started.”
We can’t wait for Hocus Pocus 2, either! Look for the spooky sequel next fall on Disney+.
KEEP READING: ‘Hocus Pocus 2’: Sam Richardson Joining the Sanderson Sisters in Disney Sequel