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SYFY WIRE The Exorcist

Everything to Know About The Exorcist: Believer

The next chapter in the Exorcist saga arrives October 6.

By Matthew Jackson

In just a few weeks, one of the most infamous horror franchises of all time will get a new chapter when The Exorcist: Believer hits theaters. The first new Exorcist movie in nearly 20 years, the film will serve as a direct sequel to the original 1973 classic, and will follow a new set of families as they deal with the terrors of demonic possession, with a familiar face along for the ride.

With less than a month to go until Believer arrives, there's a lot of information out there on the film and its place in the franchise, so let's break it all down. From the cast to the story to the connections to the lore, here's everything you need to know about The Exorcist: Believer before it hits theaters.

What's the Story of The Exorcist: Believer?

Like the original ExorcistBeliever will follow a family as it's torn apart by a demonic possession affecting a young girl. Unlike the original Exorcist, this time around we'll get two families going through it at the same time, as two young girls undergo what director David Gordon Green has teased as a "synchronized" case of possession

RELATED: One of the Biggest Horror Franchises Ever is Back With First Trailer For The Exorcist: Believer

The film follows best friends Angela (Lidya Jewett) and Katherine (Olivia Marcum), energetic young girls who disappear into the woods one day after school, only to reappear days later. But the girls don't think they've been gone for days. They think it's been just hours, and in that lost time, something terrible happened. Following their return, the girls succumb to vicious demonic possession, and their only hope for survival might be the mother of another young girl who went through the same thing 50 years ago... Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn). 

Who Stars in The Exorcist: Believer?

The biggest name to join The Exorcist: Believer is, without a doubt, Ellen Burstyn, who returns to the franchise for the first time since 1973 to play Chris MacNeil, mother of the formerly possessed Regan MacNeil. Burstyn took the role after producers agreed to up her salary, then donate all of it to a scholarship fund she runs for young actors. Her presence adds an air of gravitas and power to the story, as well as providing plenty of connective tissue to the original film.

But Burstyn's not the only big name in the cast. Alongside Marcum and Jewett, both relative newcomers, the film will also star Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) as Angela's father, Jennifer Nettles (The Righteous Gemstones) as Katherine's mother, and the great Ann Dowd (The Handmaid's Tale) as Angela and her father's neighbor, who takes an active role in trying to help the girls.

One famous face you won't see, though, is Linda Blair, who appears in archival photos as a young Regan MacNeil, but did not return to play the character for the sequel. Blair was involved in the film, though, as Green clarified that she worked as a "consultant" to guide Marcum and Jewett through their performances.

How Does The Exorcist: Believer Connect to the Rest of the Franchise?

Believer will mark the sixth feature film to arrive in the Exorcist franchise, which means there's an awful lot of material already generated, waiting for the film to reference it. With that in mind, how much connective tissue can we really expect?

According to Green, not very much. While he's not necessarily outright disregarding the various sequels and prequels in the series, Believer is set up as a direct sequel to the original 1973 Exorcist, which means we won't really see references to Exorcist II: The Heretic or The Exorcist III, or either of the two prequels that came along in the 2000s. We've also heard from Green that the film will not feature Pazuzu, the demonic entity that originally possessed Regan MacNeil. That means that, as far as we know right now, the presence of Chris MacNeil, and the in-continuity story of what she went through in 1973, is the only real connection to previous films. 

RELATED: Bring Your Crucifix to Terrifying First Look at The Exorcist: Believer Posters

So, while the film will certainly honor the legacy of the Exorcist franchise, don't expect a lot of nods and winks beyond the history of the MacNeil family and what they went through in the very first movie. This is an all-new tale of possession, and the focus seems to be on these two girls and what they're about to through.

Will There Be a Sequel to The Exorcist: Believer?

The first Exorcist sequels arrived only after the first film became a massive box office hit, but that's not the case this time around. David Gordon Green, fresh off his trilogy of Halloween sequels, launched this project with a series of stories in mind, which means that Believer is actually the first part in a new Exorcist trilogy. We still don't know the story behind the whole trio of films, but we do know that the first sequel will be titled The Exorcist: Deceiver and will arrive in theaters April 18, 2025.

How Do You Watch The Exorcist: Believer?

While it will certainly hit the Peacock streaming service eventually, The Exorcist: Believer will debut as a theatrical exclusive affair, and its theatrical run will include a weeklong IMAX window for those fans who want to watch a large-format version of the movie. Showtimes begin the evening of October 5, with the film opening wide everywhere on October 6. Get tickets at Fandango now, and prepare for the terror.