It's time to dust off those spell books, because the premiere of Hocus Pocus 2 is just days away! Nearly 30 years after the original 1993 film debuted to a less than stellar theatrical run, only to rise as a cult classic in the decades that followed, the Black Flame Candle will once again be lit on Friday, but as the Sanderson sisters fly back into Salem, very few things will be the same. Although some original cast members are set to reprise their roles, other key characters from the first film are not set to appear.
The upcoming Disney+ sequel follows a similar storyline to the original 1993 film, which tracked a trio of kids as they attempted to send the Sanderson sisters back to their graves. In Hocus Pocus 2, viewers will travel back to Salem, where a trio of high school best friends – Becca, Cassie, and Izzy – find themselves battling against the sinister witches after they accidentally light the Black Flame Candle and bring the Sanderson sisters back to life. The cast of fresh faces includes Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, Belissa Escobedo, Hannah Waddingham, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Juju Brener, Froy Gutierrez, Taylor Paige Henderson and Nina Kitchen.
Hocus Pocus 2 is scheduled to premiere on Disney+ on Friday, Sept. 30. The original Hocus Pocus is available for streaming on the platform. Keep scrolling to see every original cast member who is and isn't returning for the sequel.
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy (Sanderson sisters): Returning
It wouldn't be Hocus Pocus without the trio of bewitching sisters at the center of the story. After nearly 30 years, Midler, Parker, and Najimy are picking up their broomsticks (or in Najimy's case, vacuum) and reprising their roles as Winifred Sanderson, Sara Sanderson, and Mary Sanderson.
Midler, Parker, and Najimy's returns were confirmed when Disney first officially confirmed a sequel film was in the works, though the three original cast members had teased they would be up for a return as the Sanderson sisters. Speaking to ET Canada in October 2020, Midler revealed that those working behind the scenes on the film "asked us if we were interested" in reprising their roles, "and of course all of us said yes."prevnext
Doug Jones (Billy Butcherson): Returning
'Hocus Pocus 2' actor Doug Jones exclusively reveals that Billy is still a good zombie — and even has a 'bromance' with Sam Richardson throughout the Disney sequel. https://t.co/s3RuAXzzbW— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) August 29, 2022
Winifred Sanderson will have to deal with more than pesky children when she is resurrected and wreaks havoc on Salem, because her zombified ex-lover, Billy Butcherson, is also rising from the grave yet again. Original Hocus Pocus cast member Doug Jones is confirmed to be reprising his role as the fan-favorite zombie from the 1993 film. Fans of the original movie will recall that Winifred resurrected Billy from the grave amid her attempts to capture Dani, Max, and Allison. However, it's likely that Billy will be more of a problem for the Sanderson in Hocus Pocus 2 than he is of help, because in the original movie, he ultimately sided with the kids.
After first being confirmed to be reprising his role back in November, Jones told Entertainment Weekly in August that the new sequel "keeps the pureness and nostalgia alive and well for those who grew up with the first movie, and for any new fans we're gathering now will be excited about modernization for the current time we're in." Of his character. Jones said Billy "was pretty decrepit to start with, and I come out of the grave looking exactly like two minutes have passed," revealing that the messy hair he dons in the sequel "was the exact same wig, they had it on a dummy on display for 29 years, they put it back on my head in the same style, it didn't even need a touch-up. The costume was rebuilt to be the same as the first one, so I looked exactly the same."prevnext
Thora Birch (Dani Dennison): Not Returning
Thora Birch was asked to reprise her role as Dani in 'Hocus Pocus 2,' but had to decline due to scheduling issues. https://t.co/X4PGFWh9as— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) March 14, 2022
When the new trio of young characters find themselves facing off against the wicked Sanderson sisters, they will seemingly be at it alone without the expertise of one crucial character who was targeted by the witches and survived: Dani Dennison. Although Birch was initially poised to return in a supporting role, those plants ultimately fizzled out, with Entertainment Weekly confirming in March that the actress would no longer appear in the film.
Birch told Entertainment Tonight in a recent interview that she "was working on something else when they were filming, otherwise I was definitely going to be there on set with the girls." It is believed that other project was Netflix's Addams Family spinoff Wednesday. Birch was set to appear as Tamara Novak, Wednesday's dorm mother at Nevermore Academy, in the show, though she had to back out due to personal reasons. Of Hocus Pocus 2, the actress added that she "can't wait to see what they do with it. I know they're taking a completely different, fresh approach, so I'm excited."prevnext
Omri Katz and Vinessa Shaw (Max Dennison and Allison Watts): Not Returning
Birch isn't the only member of the core trio not returning for the sequel. Both Omri Katz and Vinessa Shaw, who starred as Max Dennison and Allison Watts, will not reprise their roles in the sequel.
"I would have loved to be involved. I feel bad for the original fan base saying we aren't because I'm sure they wanted to see us reprise our roles," Katz told EW through his representative, Nery Lemus, going on to praise the "new direction" of the sequel. "I think it'll be good for everyone who loved the original! I hope fans will go see it. I know I will."prevnext
Jason Marsden (Thackery Binx): Not Returning
'Hocus Pocus 2' features a black cat, but it won't be voiced by Jason Marsden, who voiced the feline version of Thackery Binx in the 1993 original, EW confirms. https://t.co/LLPdc0XkBi— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) June 28, 2022
Everyone's favorite black cat, Thackery Binx, has seemingly officially found peace in the afterlife. After helping Max, Dani, and Allison defeat the Sanderson sisters in 1993, Binx will not appear in Hocus Pocus 2. Sources confirmed to Entertainment Weekly in June that actor Jason Marsden, who voiced the feline in the original film, has not been tapped to reprise the role in the upcoming Disney+ movie. The news isn't much of a surprise considering that the original film ended with Binx, who had been cursed by Winifred to live forever in the body of a black cat, broke the curse when the Sanderson sisters were defeated.
That being said, it seems the trip of girls going up against the Sanderson sisters in the sequel will get a little help from a feline friend. The official full-length trailer for Hocus Pocus 2 featured a brief shot of a black cat, Cobweb, who does not have the ability to speak like Binx did. While Binx will be absent from the movie, director Anne Fletcher told EW the character will still be addressed in a "fun" way.prevnext
Larry Bagby and Tobias Jelinek (Bullies Jay and Ice): Not Returning
It seems Jay and Ice have left their bullying days in the past. Actors Larry Bagby and Tobias Jelinek, who notably gave Max a not-so warm welcome in Hocus Pocus and found themselves in the grips of the Sanderon sisters, are not returning for Hocus Pocus 2. Speaking to EW, Bagby confirmed, "Unfortunately, I am not a part of it. I never got an audition for that," with Jelinek adding, "Jay and Ice will not be in Hocus Pocus 2."
According to the two actors, there was initially some hope the two bullies would return in the sequel in minor roles. Bagby revealed that when work on Hocus Pocus 2 got underway, an agent at Coolwaters Productions pitched an idea to producer David Kirschner that would have seen Jay and Ice returning in an end-credits scene "hanging from the cages they were last seen locked inside within the Sanderson house at the end of the first movie."prev