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SYFY WIRE Hocus Pocus

Doug Jones back for 'Hocus Pocus 2' as Disney's long-awaited sequel kicks off production

Disney+ has, at long last, kicked off production for Hocus Pocus 2, a direct sequel to the 1993 cult classic.

By Josh Weiss
Screenshot of Doug Jones in Hocus Pocus Reunion Special

Halloween is over when Disney says it's over. The studio has, at long last, kicked off the Rhode Island-based production for Hocus Pocus 2, a direct sequel to the 1993 cult classic.

Set for a spooky release on Disney+ sometime next fall, the follow-up has also confirmed the return of Doug Jones as the undead Billy Butcherson (no relation to Karl Urban's character on Amazon's The Boys). Jones joins the original movie's three Sanderson sisters: Bette Midler (Winifred) Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah), and Kathy Najimy (Mary).

Written by Jen D’Angelo (Happy Together), the second entry in the magical Sanderson saga picks up in modern day Salem where three high school students — Becca (Whitney Peak), Cassie (Lilia Buckingham), and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) — accidentally light the Black Candle and incite the vengeful wrath of the three ravenous witches.

Other newcomers to the cast include: Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones), Tony Hale (Arrested Development), Sam Richardson (The Tomorrow War), Juju Brener (Vanquish), Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf), Taylor Paige Henderson (Earwig and the Witch), and Nina Kitchen (according to IMDb, Hocus Pocus 2 is their first onscreen credit).

“I am beyond thrilled to be involved in the sequel to a film that is as beloved as Hocus Pocus,” director, Anne Fletcher (The Proposal), said in a statement. “Fans around the world have embraced these characters and have made this film a Halloween tradition whose popularity continues to grow, and how lucky am I to be back at Disney with these three extraordinarily talented ladies in the iconic roles they created, as well as our fabulous new additions to the cast?”

Fletcher took over the project from original director Adam Shankman (Hairspray), who was forced to part ways with Hocus Pocus 2 due to scheduling conflicts on another Disney sequel: Disenchanted. However, Shankman remains attached as an executive producer alongside Ralph Winter (Hocus Pocus) and David Kirschner (Chucky). Lynn Harris (The Shallows) serves as producer.

“As heartbroken as I am that I won’t be able to direct my friends Bette, Sarah Jessica, and Kathy in what is sure to be nothing short of a major event for Disney+ due to scheduling conflicts, I couldn’t be more pleased to be handing over the reins to Anne, who has brought so much laughter and joy into people’s lives with her previous work,” Shankman said in the spring. “I am still grateful and proud to help shepherd this ingenious project as executive producer alongside producer Lynn Harris, whom I have loved and admired as a colleague and friend since she helped get me the job choreographing Boogie Nights.”

The first Hocus Pocus (helmed by Kenny Ortega) is now streaming on Disney+.