Since The Exorcist spider-walked into cinemas in 1973, the franchise has been a byword for sheer terror. Over the following decades, it’s spawned three sequels of varying quality, two TV shows, a stage show and a pretty scary VR game. Now, we’re hearing that the producers behind the franchise are eager to bring The Exorcist back to the big screen once more.
According to sources close to WGTC – the same ones who told us a new Scream movie is in the works, Bill Murray is returning for Ghostbusters: Afterlife and that Lethal Weapon 5 is moving forward with Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, all of which have been confirmed now – the current plan is a story focusing on the granddaughter of Linda Blair’s Regan. Plot details are still scarce, but as you’d expect from an Exorcist movie, we’ll see the girl being possessed by a demon (possibly the original Pazuzu out for revenge) and the efforts to get rid of it.
As Regan is one of the most iconic characters in horror cinema, it makes sense to include her in some capacity. She’s appeared throughout the franchise, too, with Exorcist II: The Heretic showing us her teenage years and The Exorcist TV show showing her as a mother trying to protect her daughter from demons.
My bet is that, in keeping with the current fashion for soft reboots, the new film will follow the template laid down by 2018’s Halloween. That movie successfully positioned itself as a sequel to the original 1978 pic, disregarding the tangled continuity that followed. Going down this route would make sense for The Exorcist, as the franchise is now a rat’s nest of contradictory prequels, sequels and reboots. As such, taking things back to basics and being a loose sequel to the original is probably the best way to go.
In any case, the franchise has acquired a reputation for production woes over the years. The original movie saw multiple injuries on set, The Exorcist III saw an acrimonious stand-off between studio and director William Peter Blatty and the fourth film in the series was released in two versions (Exorcist: The Beginning and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist) after the studio-mandated cut received overwhelmingly terrible reviews. Here’s hoping things go a bit smoother with this next Exorcist movie.