A beloved ‘Hocus Pocus’ star refused to be a part of the sequel

Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus 2, the sequel to the Halloween cult classic, is to be released sometime this year. While the iconic sisters Winifred, Mary and Sarah — portrayed by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker — are set to return, Thora Birch, who starred as the Halloween-loving girl Dani Dennison, will not be in the new film. 

As confirmed by Entertainment Weekly, Birch will not be able to reprise her role due to scheduling conflicts brought about by another spooky commitment on Netflix’s upcoming series Wednesday, Tim Burton’s hotly-anticipated reinvention of The Addams Family. While Birch reportedly left the series in December for personal reasons, her initial involvement prevented her from joining the sequel. 

Birch was to play an adult version of Dani in a supporting role, and would have assisted three teenagers in their plan to put an end to the Sanderson sisters’ revenge plot, after being resurrected from the dead 29 years after the events of the original film. The teenagers will be portrayed by Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham and Belissa Escobedo. 

Joining Midler, Najimy and Parker from the first film is Doug Jones, who will reprise his role as William “Billy” Butcherson, the zombie that has been brought back to life after 300 years. 

Birch’s most recent television role was in the tenth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and she last appeared on the big screen as Jolene in 2019’s Above Suspicion. Hocus Pocus 2 has not been given an official release date yet, but the film is set for a Halloween release, and Midler previously confirmed that filming has wrapped.