After successfully defeating the Sanderson sisters back in 1993, Omri Katz will not return to help a new generation of teens face off against the wicked witches when they return to Salem in Hocus Pocus 2. Ahead of the film's Sept. 30 release on Disney+, Katz broke his silence about not being asked to return as Max Dennison in the long-awaited sequel, sharing that while he "would have loved to be involved," the 2022 film is going in a "new direction."
Any Hocus Pocus fan knows that Katz took a lead role in the original cult classic. After lighting the Black Flame candle on All Hallows Eve, Katz's Max helped send the Sanderson sisters back to their graves along with the help of little sister Dani, crush Allison Watts, human-turned black cat Thackery Binx, and zombie Billy Butcherson Despite his important role in the original film and fans holding out hope that he would be in Hocus Pocus 2, Katz confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that he is not involved in the sequel.
"People have been asking, and unfortunately, I'm not in it. 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 the outlet through his representative, Nery Lemus. Katz doesn't have any hard feelings, though, as he went on to praise the "new direction" of the sequel, which follows a group of teen girls who must figure out how to stop the Sanderson sisters rom wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem. Katz said, "I think it'll be good for everyone who loved the original! I hope fans will go see it. I know I will."
Katz is not the only original cast member not returning for the sequel. While fans are guaranteed to see Bette Middler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy back as Winifred, Sara, and Mary Sanderson alongside Doug Jones' Billy Butcherson, none of the kids at the center of the film are returning. Although Thora Birch was initially slated to return as Dani, scheduling conflicts prevented those plans from coming to fruition. Vinessa Shaw, who starred as Allison, and Jason Marsden, who voiced Binx the cat, also aren't returning.
"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?" sequel director Anne Fletcher told EW. "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."
Hocus Pocus 2 premieres on Disney+ on Friday, Sept. 30. The original 1993 movie, which was a flop following its initial theatrical run but quickly rose to be a cult classic, is currently available for streaming on the platform. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest streaming news!