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The Exorcist: Believer Does Not Feature Original Demon Pazuzu - So Which Demon Could It Be?

The pantheon of demons is bigger than you could ever imagine.

By Josh Weiss
(from left) Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) and Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom, Jr.) in The Exorcist: Believer

Fifty years ago, 12-year-old Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), the daughter of famed actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), found herself possessed by a wind demon from Mesopotamian mythology called Pazuzu.

Said entity ravaged the girl's body and forced her to spout obscenities — and pea soup — at whomever tried to intervene. Regan was finally saved by Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), who beseeched the demon to use him as a vessel instead. Pazuzu happily moved house, unaware that Karras planned to hurl himself out a window and end the accursed being's reign of terror.

RELATED: The Exorcist: Believer Director David Gordon Green Teases “Synchronized Possession” in New Film

It seems Pazuzu's hellish rule really may have come to an end that fateful night in Georgetown because the demon will not be making a return in The Exorcist: Believer (hitting theaters everywhere Oct. 13), which . "We use a new demon, no Pazuzu," director, co-writer, and executive producer David Gordon Green confirmed during an interview with IGN. "We feature a demon who studied demonologists might know."

Well, which one could it be? That's a good question with a not-so-easy answer. There are dozens upon dozens of demons found throughout religion, folklore, and mythology. Thankfully, Dr. Scott Poole — a history professor at the University of Charleston and a published authority on popular culture and horror — has "two solid possibilities" in mind.

(from left) Angela Fielding (Lidya Jewett) and Katherine (Olivia Marcum) in The Exorcist: Believer (2023)

A Professor of Horror Theorizes On The Exorcist: Believer's New Villain

The first promising candidate on Dr. Poole's shortlist is Asmodeus, "a demon with strong, ancient, Near Eastern vibes — like Pazuzu — and important in certain strands of Jewish and Islamic mysticism," he tells SYFY WIRE over email (per Jewish tradition, Asmodeus is literally king of demons). "In the West," however, this fiendish being "has often been connected to lust, which would lend itself to the some of the more outré sexual themes in the original film. Sorry to bring to everyone's mind the scene with Regan and the crucifix..."

The second and "fun possibility" is Moloch, who shows up as a "pretty nasty character" in John Milton's seminal Paradise Lost," the professor continues. Often associated with the unthinkable ritual of child sacrifice, Moloch also enjoys "a loose connection to the faux mythos" of the Sinister franchise as brother of Bagul; made a guest appearance in Buffy the Vampire Slayer; "and has a cinematic heritage going back to Fritz Lang's Metropolis in 1927."

We'll see what hellish being wreaks havoc on this earthly plane when The Exorcist: Believer hits theaters Friday, October 13. 

A sequel — officially titled The Exorcist: Deceiver — is tentatively slated to open on April 18, 2025. The title and release date (tentative or otherwise) for the third movie have not been announced yet.

Want more demonic thrills in the meantime? The Exorcist III and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist are now streaming on Peacock!