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Another witching hour is upon us. Months after sources told Variety that a follow-up to 1993’s Hocus Pocus was officially brewing at Disney+, the movie is confirmed—and creeping toward a 2022 release date. Disney recently announced that Hocus Pocus 2, a “spooky sequel” to the original film, would land at Disney+, with Anne Fletcher attached to direct.
Below, everything we know about the spellbinding news, including which Sanderson sisters are set to return.
The sequel has a new director.
Adam Shankman, the director behind films including Hairspray and A Walk to Remember originally signed to helm the movie with a script from Workaholics writer and co-producer Jen D’Angelo, and before Shankman, Kenny Ortega of High School Musical notoriety was attached. Now, Fletcher will take the wheel due to Shankman’s scheduling conflicts with production on another Disney sequel, Disenchanted.
“As heartbroken as I am that I won’t be able to direct my friends Bette, Sarah Jessica, and Kathy in what is sure to be nothing short of a major event for Disney+, due to scheduling conflicts, I couldn’t be more pleased to be handing over the reins to Anne, who has brought so much laughter and joy into people’s lives with her previous work,” Shankman said of the news.
Fletcher is best known for directing 27 Dresses, The Proposal, and Dumplin’. “I am so grateful to be able to play a part in bringing these witches back to life, and to be working with my friends at Disney again makes it all the more special,” Fletcher said of the news.
The film will premiere exclusively on Disney+.
Rather than take the traditional theatrical route, the Hocus Pocus sequel will premiere exclusively on Disney’s streaming service. It joins projects such as the Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian and MCU series Wandavision as original projects on the streamer.
The original cast is making a comeback.
In a May 2020 interview on SiriusXM’s Radio Andy, Sarah Jessica Parker gave an update on the sequel—and her co-stars’ involvement in it. “Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and I are all very hospitable to the idea,” she responded. “I think for a long time, people were talking about it as if people were moving forward with it in a real way but we were unaware of it.” She added, “We’ve agreed publicly to the right people, yes, that would be a very, very fun idea, so we’ll see what the future holds.”
This isn’t the first time SJP has teased her role in the sequel. In October 2019, The New York Times reported that a sequel was in the works with Disney+. Around the same time, Parker shared a throwback photo of her cast members during the original film. In the comments section she was asked, “any chance of a sequel?” to which she responded, “We have all said yes. Now we wait.”
In May 2021, Disney officially confirmed all three original witches would be reprising their roles for the sequel. Production begins this fall—just in time for Halloween.
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That said, there will be a number of new faces in the sequel as well. Confirmed cast members include:
- Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)
- Tony Hale (Arrested Development)
- Sam Richardson (Veep)
- Whitney Peak (Gossip Girl)
- Lilia Buckingham (Crown Lake)
- Belissa Escobedo (American Horror Stories)
- Juju Brener (Vanquish)
- Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf)
- Taylor Henderson
- Nina Kitchen
There was another reboot in development before.
Fans may remember that a TV movie remake of the beloved film was in development in 2017, with Scarlett Lacey (The Royals) writing the script.
However, that project never materialized following comments Midler made to People about the movie being “cheap” and Ortega’s insistence that the original trio should return instead. “I think it would be much more fun to bring the ladies back,” the director told Entertainment Tonight. “They’re all still vital and in their prime and capable of doing so much that it would be great to see Bette and Kathy and Sarah come back together to do another movie and I think they would like to.”
There’s no exact release date announced yet—but we know the season.
Hocus Pocus loyalists may only have to endure one more year without the sequel. According to an Instagram post from Parker, Hocus Pocus 2 is set to arrive in “fall 2022.” Let’s cross our fingers the magic appears in time for next year’s All Hallows’ Eve.
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