Hocus Pocus 2, the sequel to 1993 cult classic Hocus Pocus, has finally landed on Disney+.
While many familiar faces are back for the sequel, such as Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters, there are a few absences that fans may have questions over.
The original Hocus Pocus, helmed by Kenny Ortega, saw teen Max (Omri Katz) and his younger sister, Dani (Thora Birch), come into contact with the infamous trio of witches after moving to Salem, Massachusetts, from Los Angeles, California.
On Halloween night, the brother-and-sister duo team up with a local girl, Allison (Vinessa Shaw), to try and stop the return of the Sanderson Sisters after they inadvertently resurrect the witches from their grave 300 years after they were executed.
Hocus Pocus 2, directed by Anne Fletcher, explores the origins of the Sanderson Sisters and begins with a sequence following younger versions of the three witches in 1600s New England.
The film then continues in modern-day Salem, where a new group of teens (played by Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, and Lilia Buckingham) bring the sisters back from the dead once again.
Due to the film focusing on a new batch of teens, Katz and Shaw have not reprised their roles as Max and Allison.
EW reported that Katz said via his representative Nery Lemus: “People have been asking, and unfortunately, I’m not in it. I would have loved to be involved. I feel bad for the original fan base saying we aren’t because I’m sure they wanted to see us reprise our roles.”
The Dallas actor, now 46, added: “I think it’ll be good for everyone who loved the original! I hope fans will go see it. I know I will.”
The film’s director Fletcher previously told EW how hard it was to try and include all the beloved characters from the first Hocus Pocus.
She told the publication: “We wanted to weave in all of the people that the fans loved, and when you sat back with all the ingredients and story, you’re like, ‘how do we make this work?’
“It was very difficult to try to have them be a part of it because we did talk about it—painstakingly. You’re trying to stay on track with story, even if they came in as a cameo. People would say, ‘They could be in the background!’ And I’m like, really? You’re going to put the leads of the first movie in the background and be satisfied? You’re not going to be satisfied, you’re going to be angry.”
Newsweek has contacted representatives for both Katz and Shaw for comment.
One star who is back is The Shape of Water actor Doug Jones, who plays the zombie version of Midler’s character’s ex-lover, Billy Butcherson.
Veep‘s Sam Richardson, Arrested Development star Tony Hale, Ted Lasso‘s Hannah Waddingham, and RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Kahmora Hall, Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, and Ginger Minj are all also on the Hocus Pocus 2 cast.
Meanwhile, Hocus Pocus lead star and legendary actress Midler has spoken to Newsweek about the highly anticipated new movie, opening up about how it felt to be back on set and reunited with her fellow witches, Parker and Najimy, after nearly 30 years.
Midler, 76, told Newsweek: “We’re really gratified that we got the chance to take another crack at it. When the three witches appear on the screen in this new version, it is as if Elvis has entered the building. It is so nuts. Of course, I smile. It’s so much fun.”
Speaking about the film’s fans, she said: “I really do hope they like it. They’ve been so good over the last 30 years. I hope this meets their expectations.”
Teasing what we can expect from the new installment, Midler said: “Well, we have three new witches, three gorgeous new witches. And when I say gorgeous, I mean gorgeous, very young, who don’t know what their story is. They don’t know that they’re witches. And the usual tradition of the virgin lights a candle, we have that. So it’s quite wholesome, families don’t have to be afraid.
“But there’s also a little bit of a backstory to it. We have Winnie and Sarah and Mary as children. I hope I’m not giving anything away. So you have your origin story, your backstory, and you have the very contemporary story. It’s a big mix.”
She added: “I think they did take a lot of the information coming from the fans. I don’t want to say they were led but there was some [fan] influence there.”
Hocus Pocus 2 is available to stream on Disney+.
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