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SYFY WIRE The Exorcist

David Gordon Green teases 'dead serious' and 'psychological' new 'Exorcist' horror trilogy

Ellen Burstyn returns to play Chris MacNeil for the first time in five decades.

By Josh Weiss
American actress Linda Blair on the set of The Exorcist; David Gordon Green

David Gordon Green's time in Haddonfield has come to an end, but his saga through beloved, '70s-era horror has only just begun. With Halloween Ends now available to the general public (fans of the long-running slasher series can check it out in theaters or on Peacock), the filmmaker is gearing up for production on a brand-new trilogy of Exorcist films co-produced by Universal Pictures and Blumhouse.

Set 50 years after the 1973 original that shocked and horrified audiences the world over, the soft reboot will feature the return of Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil, mother of the little girl (Linda Blair) possessed by the uncouth demon known as Pazuzu. "It’s honoring Chris MacNeil, and we’re checking in on her 50 years later, so it’s a significant evolution in her character, but I think it’ll be really fun to explore," Gordon Green teased during a recent interview with TheWrap.

RELATED STORY: Why 'Halloween Ends' director David Gordon Green had that new character do what he does

He went on to describe the project as being "a very different type of technical journey" when compared to his cinematic take on the Laurie Strode-Michael Myers legacy. "I don’t even necessarily categorize it as a horror film, although it’s very horror appealing, it’s psychological and dramatic. It doesn’t have the fun tension-breakers that Halloween would have, because you can’t lean into any of the more campy qualities that I think we enjoy from time to time in the Halloween movies. It’s dead serious and pretty straightforward, and I don’t know, I’m excited about it."

The director also confirmed that the first two movies are already written, the scripts (co-written by Gordon Green and Peter Sattler) offering up a contemporary spin on the 49-year-old property. "In terms of spirituality and psychology, it deals with a lot, from the clinical to the biblical,” he explained. “You can imagine the epic conversations that will inspire. It certainly has inspired a lot of literature that I’ve been going through obsessively for the last couple of years."

While Gordon Green is no stranger to the concept of tackling a sacred genre property, he's still plenty wary of avoiding "a slavish sequel" that tries (and ultimately fails) to capture the groundbreaking magic of its predecessor. “I just want to make sure with all these movies that I’m putting enough of a signature in so I’m not just trying to recreate a formula that existed 50 years ago,” he admitted. “Because it has been done and I’m not remaking the movie, so I should make what I know I can bring, something very specific, and my truth to this new story.”

The first entry in Gordon Green's Exorcist trilogy will possess the big screen on Oct. 13, 2023. If you're looking for immediate thrills and chills, though, Halloween Ends is currently playing in theaters and on Peacock. Since opening on the silver screen last weekend, the film has made almost $65 million at the global box office.