The first new entry in the Witch Mountain franchise in years is coming soon to Disney+. According to a report by Deadline, Disney has ordered a streaming series which will reimagine the classic story for a new generation. The main cast for the show is already in place, and it includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Isabel Gravitt, Levi Miller, Bianca "b" Norwood and Jackson Kelly.
Gravitt will reportedly play the lead in the new Witch Mountain series following her recent role on Netflix's The Watcher, while Howard — best known for Jurassic World — will play her mother. The showrunners are Travis Vickett and Terry Matalas, who worked on the 2015 TV revival of 12 Monkeys. The show will not be a note-for-note retelling of the story from the original 1968 novel or the 1975 movie, but it will certainly be recognizable to long-time fans.
Gravitt plays Tia, a straight-A student struggling under the pressure of her perceived success. She often experiences hallucinations and fears that she is showing early symptoms of schizophrenia, which her father suffered from. Meanwhile, Miller plays her classmate Ben, an equally gifted student with a penchant for fighting that may get him into trouble. Ben is apparently grappling with his own supernatural experiences and finds himself inexplicably drawn toward Tia.
Meanwhile, Howard plays Tia's mother Audrey, an open and supportive mother who may have her own secrets to hide. Norwood plays Ben's rebellious best friend, Corey, while Kelly plays Tia's lovesick best friend Peter.
Disney+ reportedly began development on Witch Mountain in March with high hopes for the project. It paid for a full writers' room and commissioned multiple scripts, but so far it has only ordered the pilot. While this is a good sign for fans, it is no guarantee that this version of Witch Mountain will ever make it to the screen.
This show is the latest spin on the 1968 novel Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key. Disney co-produced an adaptation of the novel in 1975, but drastically changed the tone as well as some plot elements. Disney then commissioned a sequel called Return to Witch Mountain while paying Key to write the novelization of the screenplay. After that, the franchise continued as movies alone. The third movie, Beyond Witch Mountain was released in 1982, and a revival called Disney's Escape to Witch Mountain came out in 1995.
The most recent iteration of this franchise is Race to Witch Mountain, a 2009 film starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, Carla Gugino and Ciarán Hinds, among others. At the time of this writing, you can stream Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), Return From Witch Mountain (1978) and Race to Witch Mountain (2009) on Disney+. The new TV series remains in development.