Talk’s been circulating about Hocus Pocus 2 since Disney released the first teaser trailer in October 2021. So, what do we know so far?
Talk’s been circulating about Hocus Pocus 2 since Disney released the first teaser trailer on Disney+ Day in October 2021. The trailer showed the black flame candle set to a solo piano version of the lullaby sung by Sanderson Sister Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) in the original 1993 film. Since then, there’s been even more chatter around the second installment of the beloved cult classic. Although the original film was not a huge box office success, it’s gained an immense fan following since its initial release, even garnering a successful theatrical re-release in 2020. Combine the movie’s belated success with the general slim pickings of family-friendly films in the horror/Halloween genre, and the world is ready for a Hocus Pocus sequel.
So, where did the first movie leave off? The previous film takes audiences on a fairly dark but often comedic journey on Halloween night. A few modern kids accidentally summon three long-dead witches (The Sanderson Sisters) from the grave by lighting the fabled black flame candle. Despite being nested under the Walt Disney Pictures label, Hocus Pocus has some pretty spooky elements. Throughout the film, audiences see children getting their souls literally sucked from their bodies, witches being publicly hanged and burned alive, and undead heads rolling, which is more horror than might be expected from a family-friendly film.
However, the scares are expertly balanced with the sheer charisma of the eldest Sanderson Sister, Winnie (Bette Midler), and her costars, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kath Najimy, as siblings Sarah and Mary, respectively. The over-the-top performances and comedic energy of Midler, Parker, and Najimy overshadow some of the film’s more obvious flaws or inconsistencies, such as pacing, clichés (the bullies who steal main character Max’s shoes), or random musical numbers (“I Put a Spell on You”). In the end, good triumphs over evil, the kids save the day, and the witches turn to dust on the dawn of November 1st. Mysteriously, the final scene is of Winnie’s beloved book of spells, referred to by her as “Book,” opening its eye. Perhaps this final wink at the audience was Disney signaling that a sequel was already on its mind way back in 1993. Almost 30 years later, the studio is finally making good on its implied promise.
Although Disney hasn’t hinted toward anything concrete regarding the plot of Hocus Pocus 2, the rumor mill is churning. There’s some stipulation that it will take on an even darker, less zany tone than the original. Should Disney choose the darker path, it might be interesting to see the studio tackle something similar to the re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch à la Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is rumored to be making a comeback soon.
Additionally, a follow-up novel does exist. Written to mark the 25th anniversary of the film, Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel follows Max’s daughter Poppy as she confronts the Sanderson Sisters in her own adventure. Still, this plot may be less likely since Disney’s first teaser and recently released footage show that the black flame candle will feature heavily. In All-New Sequel, it’s not the candle but a Halloween Blood Moon that resurrects the sisters. That theory doesn’t quite mesh. Audiences might also hope that Disney has tired of the heroes-turned-parents trope popular in the direct-to-video sequels of the ’90s.
The aforementioned black flame candle teaser trailer was released on Halloween of last year, followed by a tantalizing still of The Sanderson Sisters in a Disney+ reel announcing its coming attractions for 2022 last December. The most recent update comes from Entertainment Weekly. Last month, EW reported Disney showed rough footage during a presentation. The footage showed two young girls lighting the black flame candle and Midler cackling, “Lock up your children! Yes, Salem, we’re back!” before launching into a raucous cover of “The Bitch is Back.” Other stars featured, such as Doug Jones (who played Winnie’s one-time boyfriend Billy Butcherson), Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, and Hannah Waddingham. While there’s nothing explicitly said about the plot, it’s clear The Sanderson Sisters are back again, and the town of Salem will need to rise to the challenge.
Lucky for fans, Disney has announced a release date of September 30th, 2022, on Disney+. So fans will have a whole month before Halloween to celebrate The Sanderson Sisters’ return.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
Kassie is a writer who has dabbled in a bit of everything, but has spent most of her professional career in live entertainment. She loves a good story in any form and has written and produced works for the stage and her own book of poetry. She nerds out on Victorian Literature, Lord of the Rings, and BBC period dramas. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Leicester, UK.
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