A sequel to 1993’s Hocus Pocus is reportedly still on the cards, despite the recent interruptions in development and production caused by COVID-19. From what we’ve heard so far, Adam Shankman is down to direct for Disney Plus, with Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler all keen to make a comeback as the Sanderson sisters.
Now, Mick Garris, the original film’s writer, has shared his thoughts on a Hocus Pocus 2 while speaking to ComicBook.com. Among other things, he attributed much of Hocus Pocus‘ success to the performances of the three lead actresses, commenting as so:
“I’m excited about it, but I really think the main reason the movie worked was the Sanderson Sisters, those actresses in those roles, those performances, that I think is the key to that movie’s long life. It was only modestly successful when it came out, at best. And I think they are the reasons that it’s still around since it came out in 1993. And I would love to see them return in it. I think that’s the plan, but I don’t know. I heard that that is what’s happening, and I believe it’s going to be for Disney+, but I’m not involved in it, which is fine. You don’t always want to revisit all of the touchstones of your past.”
Although Garris was not involved in the final version of the 1990s film, he did write the first script in 1984 that was picked up by Disney, before being retooled from a darker approach to the more family-friendly and comedic story that we eventually received. Garris was even briefly considered to direct the follow-up.
As Garris acknowledges, though, the potential Hocus Pocus 2 is likely to take a different creative direction than the first movie, albeit one that still remains consistent with its tone, explaining:
“None of the original creative team other than [producer] David Kirschner is involved so far as I know. It’s a new writer, it’s a new director, Alan Shankman, who has done lots of musical work and the like, and is very, very talented, just like Kenny Ortega, who directed the original, was a choreographer before he became a director. And even though the movie wasn’t a musical, it feels musical, the way the witches walk in unison down the street, the timing of some of the routines. It’s very, very musically paced, and I think that that’s a great choice for this. A lot of people resent when things are being remade or rebooted or sequel-ized and the like, but I want them all to work. I want them to be great, and I’m excited as a member of the audience to see what they do with it.”
Shankman’s credits include the Hairspray reboot, while writing duties fall to Workaholics‘ Jen D’Angelo. We’d imagine that Disney will find a way of incorporating Parker, Najimy and Midler as well, even if only as cameos, given the fan relationship with the performers. Other actors from Hocus Pocus have also expressed an interest in returning in some form, including Thora Birch.
For now, Hocus Pocus 2 is one of several D+ projects based on classic IP that have yet to receive an official confirmation from the Mouse House, with others including a Willow series. The recent 4K Ultra HD release of Hocus Pocus certainly shows that Disney recognize the value of the picture though, so we would be surprised if there wasn’t a more formal announcement on the sequel within the next few months.