By Rachel West.

Relighting the Black Flame Candle won’t bring Omri Katz or Vinessa Shaw back for the “Hocus Pocus” sequel.

The highly-anticipated sequel to the 1993 Disney flick sees Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprise their roles as the witchy Sanderson Sisters,  but Katz and Shaw – who played the teen protagonists Max and Allison in the original – will not return.

Director Anne Fletcher tells EW they tried to fit Max and Allison back into the story but “it was difficult”.

“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?” Fletcher asks. “It was very difficult to try to have them be a part of it, because we did talk about it — painstakingly.”

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Fletcher conceded that even bringing the pair back in a cameo capacity would be too distracting from the sequel’s plot.

“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,” she adds.

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Also missing from the sequel is Thora Birch, who played Max’s younger sister Dani in “Hocus Pocus”. Birch has reportedly approached for the sequel but scheduling conflicts kept her away.

Aside from the trio returning as the Sanderson Sisters, the only other actor to be back for the sequel is Doug Jones. “The Shape Of Water” actor Jones will once again play the corpse of Billy Butcherson, Winifred’s dead former lover.

Though a black cat appears in the first trailer for the movie, Fletcher confirms it is not a resurrected Thackery Binx from the first film, but a new black feline friend.

Arriving on Disney+ on Sept. 30, “Hocus Pocus 2” sees a new group of teens once again resurrect the Sanderson Sisters, almost 30 years after Max, Allison and Dani did so.



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Ellen Bullock