The Sanderson sisters are back and bewitching as ever in “Hocus Pocus 2”, the long-awaited sequel to the 1993 Halloween classic.
Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker reprise their roles as Winnifred, Mary and Sarah Sanderson, respectively, in the new film, which finds the trio resurrected once again by a group of teen friends — Becca (Whitney Peak), Cassie (Lilia Buckingham), and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) — who light a new version of the infamous Black Flame Candle.
However, when they return to wreak havoc on Salem — this time seeking revenge on the town’s mayor, a descendant of the puritanical reverend who originally exiled them (both played by Tony Hale) — they find that a few things have changed.
For one, the Sanderson Witch Museum has been reopened as a magic shop, run by a man named Gilbert (Sam Richardson), who claims to have witnessed the witches’ first night of mayhem back in the ’90s. But that’s far from the only callback to the original “Hocus Pocus”. Here’s a look at some of the other Easter eggs and fun scenes for devoted fans of the first film.
From Sarah’s “Amok, amok, amok!” to Mary’s “Buh bye!” to Winnifred’s “Boooooook!” the sequel is full of fun callback lines that will hearken fans right back the original. There’s also a passing reference to the sisters’ bus ride from the first film, when Mary refers to a car as a “very small bus.”
The new film also ties up a few loose threads in regards to Billy Butcherson’s (Doug Jones) story, revealing that he and Winnifred weren’t actually in a relationship, per se, they simply shared one kiss. Gilbert promises to help set the legend straight after he and Billy team up to try and stop the sisters from wreaking havoc on the town.
Jones told ET at the “Hocus Pocus 2” premiere that he’s always wanted to revisit his character from the original film. “I’ve been asked many times what character have you played in your 30-something years that you want to see again or visit again. Billy has been my answer, because there are layers to him that I wanted to find out more about — and with the sequel coming, its like, now I get to… The fan excitement for this has been unlike anything I have done before in my life.”
“Hocus Pocus 2” begins with a flashback to the Sanderson sisters’ childhood days in Salem, where we see the origins of a few of their classic mannerisms. Mary suggests the trio do a “calming circle” when faced with the reverend’s wrath, a technique she attempts in the first film.
We also see that Sarah’s “Come Little Children” song, which she uses in the original “Hocus Pocus” to enrapture the kids of Salem, was first sung to the sisters by Hannah Waddingham’s Witch Mother, who bestows the beloved spell book to Winnifred on her 16th birthday. (Additionally, the book is shown to include a “cat transformation” spell, which would one day be used on Thackery Binx!)
Just like Allison in the original film, the teens in the sequel know to use salt to defend against the sisters’ magic. However, their salt circle is hilariously thwarted in one scene by the pair of Roombas that Mary has been riding around town as a makeshift broom — another callback to the original, where the trio had to ride a broom, a mop and a vacuum.
“Hocus Pocus 2” also pays tribute to Garry and Penny Marshall’s original “Hocus Pocus” cameos by showing a pair of Salem residents watching their scene on TV. There are also two Salem residents dressed as their characters, the devil and “Medusa,” for Halloween.
Plus, that final scene of Becca, Cassie and Izzy doing the Sandersons’ iconic walk proves that they’re the new coven in town!
The introduction of a new black cat, Cobweb, who lives with Gilbert at the magic shop, likely will leave viewers wondering if he too is a trapped spirit, like Thackery Binx was in the first film. While we don’t get that answer in “Hocus Pocus 2”, a post-credits scene featuring Cobweb reveals that on the shelf of the magic shop, there is yet another Black Flame Candle. Could there be more sequels to come?
Executive producer Adam Shankman told ET at the sequel’s premiere that nothing is out of the question. “If the right script is presented and the women were into it,” he shared of a possible third film. “I mean, we’ve got to be able to do it quick, I think.”
Despite all the reference to the first film, Midler, Najimy, Parker and Jones are the only original cast members to appear in the sequel, with Thora Birch admitting to ET that she was a bit “dismayed” she wasn’t asked to reprise her role as meddling younger sister Dani.
“There were three options we had for how to bring Dani back, all of which I was excited by,” the actress told ET this week, on the red carpet at the Variety Power of Women event. However, “by the time they got around to filming, I was already on something else,” she added, explaining that she was working on another project.
That said, there seems to be no ill will, with Birch revealing that she plans to stream the new film. “Oh, absolutely. I’m excited for the fans who have been begging for ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ for years,” she shared. “So yeah, I’ll be watching along with everybody else.”
“Hocus Pocus 2” is now streaming on Disney+.
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