The legacy sequel is a fairly new phenomenon in the industry, occupying the middle ground somewhere between a continuation and a full-blown reboot. For the most part, it tends to happen when a filmmaker or studio has their sights set on a well-known property with a built-in fanbase that ended up suffering from the law of diminishing returns following a string of subpar and frequently terrible sequels and remakes.
Having proven his chops with the resurgent Halloween, David Gordon Green will be looking to work the same magic on The Exorcist, as well as HBO’s episodic reinvention of the Hellraiser mythos. In a new interview, the filmmaker teased what he’s got in store for the project, and confirmed that much like his Halloween, he’s viewing The Exorcist as a direct sequel to the classic original that ignores everything in the aftermath.
“The Exorcist has been written. That was one of my pandemic projects. It’s not inaccurate that it will be a sequel to the original film. I like all the Exorcist movies. And not only do I like them, I think they can all fall into the acceptable mythology for what I’m doing. It’s not like I’m saying, ‘Pretend that The Exorcist 2 never happened’. That’s fine to exist. They’re all fine to exist, and I enjoy all of them.”
It could be a period piece set anywhere between the mid-1970s to the present day, but having brought back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in Halloween, it can’t be ruled out that Green might be interested in having Linda Blair return as Regan MacNeil for the first time since 1977’s The Exorcist II: The Heretic. Green additionally referred to his version as being part of a legacy, and he sounds thrilled at the prospect at diving right back into the realms of classic horror.
“It’s another fun legacy to be a part of, and hopefully we’ll get that going in the near future. That one is a lot of research, rather than just impulsive screenwriting. That’s one that you talk to a lot of people. You read a lot of books, and do a shit-load of interviews. There was such a dramatic authenticity to what that original film is. It’s a lot more than I anticipated getting into it. And I guess I was naive to think that. But it was very exhilarating to be involved in a lot of those conversations that you find yourself in.”
Applying the exact same formula that worked for Halloween to The Exorcist isn’t the worst idea in the world, but it’ll invite plenty of comparisons whenever the final product sees the light of day. As one of the most acclaimed, iconic and beloved entries in the genre’s long and illustrious history, picking up right from where William Friedkin’s all-timer left off is a monumental task.