The witches are coming back, and there’s hell to pay. 1993’s Hocus Pocus is finally getting a sequel, with original stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker returning as the Sanderson sisters for another bewitching outing set to stream next Halloween. Production is now just beginning on Hocus Pocus 2, though, and the first set pics tease a fiery return to Salem.
Unlike the first film, which really did shoot on location in the iconic Massachusetts town, Hocus Pocus 2 is mounting its production in Rhode Island. Right now, Chase Farm Park in Lincoln is home to a recreation of the Salem village in the 1600s, which promises some flashbacks to the Sandersons’ past, much like how the original opens with the sisters being hanged for their crimes. This time, though, it looks like the scale of the flashbacks will be much bigger, as information suggests the village will be burned to the ground.
As per the Providence Journal, the constructed village consists of nine wood-framed structures, most of which have missing sides that won’t appear on camera. Though the production originally requested a permit to burn down the village, it seems they changed their minds. As Taylor Ryan, an air quality specialist from the state’s Department of Environment Management, had to say:
“They are not actually lighting the structure on fire. They are using ‘fire beams’ fueled by natural gas so it looks like the building is on fire from the camera, but nothing will be burnt down.”
These “fire beams” are said to be “better from [an] environmental perspective” as well as more helpful for the filmmakers as they “can do multiple takes on the scene.” However, while the set won’t actually be burned down, safety measures are still being taken. A fire engine and utility vehicle will be on site during filming, along with two 500-gallon water tanks in the event of an emergency.
Hocus Pocus 2 — which will follow three teenage girls accidentally resurrecting the Sandersons on Halloween in the present-day — could also feature OG star Thora Birch, reprising her role as a now-grown Dani Dennison. Expect it on Disney Plus next October.