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Sorry, Hocus Pocus fans — we've got some disappointing news to share. When the long-awaited sequel finally hits Disney+ in late September, it will do so without the return of two original cast members: Omri Katz (Max Dennison) and Vinessa Shaw (Allison Watts). This was recently confirmed to Entertainment Weekly by the film's director, Anne Fletcher (This is Us), who inherited the project from Adam Shankman when the latter was forced to bow out over commitments to another Mouse House follow-up, Disenchanted.
"We wanted to weave in all of the people that the fans loved, and when you sat back with all the ingredients and story, you're like, how do we make this work?" Fletcher explained. "It was very difficult to try to have them be a part of it, because we did talk about it — painstakingly. You're trying to stay on track with story, even if they came in as a cameo. People would say, 'They could be in the background!' and I'm like, really? You're going to put the leads of the first movie in the background and be satisfied? You're not going to be satisfied, you're going to be angry."
Nevertheless, Hocus Pocus 2 still features plenty of familiar faces, including all three Sanderson sisters — Bette Midler (Winifred), Kathy Najimy (Mary), and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah) — as well as Doug Jones' Billy Butcherson (no relation to Karl Urban's character on The Boys). Even Binx is back, though he's no longer in talking cat form.
"We're having some fun with him, so, we'll see," Fletcher teased during her chat with EW. Filling the feline void is Cobweb, a new fuzzball owned by Hocus Pocus newcomer, Gilbert (The Tomorrow War's Sam Richardson), proprietor of an "occult attraction" located within the old Sanderson abode.
Check out a new piece of key art below:
Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, and Belissa Escobedo headline the feature as the latest collection of Salem-based youngsters to accidentally unleash the witchy and scene-chewing siblings from their magical imprisonment. Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones), Tony Hale (Arrested Development),, Juju Brener (Vanquish), Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf), Taylor Paige Henderson (Earwig and the Witch), and newcomer Nina Kitchen round out the cast.
Lynn Harris (The Shallows) produced the feature, while Shankman, Ralph Winter (Adrift), and David Kirschner (SYFY's Chucky TV show) served as executive producers. Jen D’Angelo (Happy Together) wrote the screenplay. The original Hocus Pocus is now streaming on Disney+. The sequel arrives on the platform Friday, Sep. 30.