Many fans of OG Hocus Pocus already know that some OG stars will not return in the sequel, except for the Sanderson sisters, including voice actor Thackery Binks Jason Marsden. This makes sense, given that a trio of witches will terrorize a new group of teenagers from Salem. But there was still a part of the fandom that hoped that some of the first actors would somehow appear in cameos. Now we know that this is not happening. I’m sad that some OG stars won’t be returning in the sequel, but now there’s an obvious reason that makes sense.
While Bette Midler, Katie Nagimi and Sarah Jessica Parker have already completed a mesmerizing sequel, EW reported that OG Hocus Pocus stars Omri Katz and Vinessa Shaw will not be returning, as producers could not come up with a way to match Max Dennison and Allison Watts in the plot. Director Ann Fletcher admitted that the return of her favorite characters could distract attention from the new storyline even in episodic appearances. Fletcher tapped into her inner fan as she explained how hard she and the writers worked to attract OG stars to Hocus Pocus 2.
We wanted to weave in all the people the fans loved, and when you sat down with all the ingredients and the story, you thought, how do we do this? It was very difficult to try to involve them in this, because we really talked about it — painstakingly. You try to keep up with the story, even if they appeared as cameos. People said, “They can be in the background!” and I’m like, really? Are you going to put the main characters of the first film in the background and will you be satisfied? You will not be satisfied, you will be angry.
For example, I am incredibly grateful to Fletcher and the screenwriters for deciding not to spoil the original film by squeezing Max and Allison just for the sake of nostalgia. To have them in the background would be insulting. Of course, reboots or sequels in the past have done this without taking into account the thoughts of fans. So I’m grateful for that. It would be nice to see the main characters as adults.
Katz and Shaw weren’t the only OG Hocus Pocus stars who won’t be in the sequel. Disney did try to get another original star, Tora Birch, to reprise her role as Max’s sister Dani, but scheduling conflicts prevented her cameo. Even Larry Bagby and Tobias Jelinek, the bullies of Max, Ice and Jay, respectively, are not aware. But it’s not so bad, as Doug Jones will appear as Winfried’s zombified ex-lover Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus 2. Of course, the cast of OG has been busy since the cult classic of 1993.
Of the HP alumni who don’t appear in the sequel, I’d like Dani Dennison to return in some capacity. Given her experience working with the Sanderson sisters in the first film, she could be a valuable resource for the magical trio’s new sources. It would be great to see Dani and the new kids fighting together to send the witch sisters back to the afterlife. Fans could see how different or similar an adult Dani would be three decades after the original Hocus Pocus. Seeing an adult Dani may have filled in some gaps in information about her brother Allison and other Salem residents. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to catch up with her or some of the OG stars.
While Midler, Najimi, Parker and Jones are the only original cast members who have returned, new additions to the cast include Sam Richardson, Ted Lasso and Hannah Waddingham, as well as Veep alumnus Tony Hale. Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham and Whitney Peake will play teenagers being chased by the Sandersons in Hocus Pocus 2. The long-awaited sequel will be released on Disney+ on September 30. While you are waiting for the movie, watch the best movies on the streamer channel.