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I’m Sad About OG Hocus Pocus Stars Not Returning For The Sequel, But The Reason Makes Sense

Sarah Jessica, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy in Hocus Pocus.
(Image credit: Disney)

Many OG Hocus Pocus fans already know some OG stars aren’t returning for the sequel outside of the Sanderson Sisters, including Thackery Binx voice actor Jason Marsden. It makes sense given the witchy trio will be terrorizing a new set of Salem teenagers. But there was still a part of the fandom who was hoping some original castmates would make cameos in some way. Now, we know that’s not happening. I’m sad about some OG stars aren’t coming back for the sequel, but now, there’s an obvious reason that makes sense.

While Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker have already wrapped the bewitching sequel, EW revealed that OG Hocus Pocus stars Omri Katz and Vinessa Shaw won’t be back as the production couldn’t figure out a way to fit Max Dennison and Allison Watts into the plot. Director Anne Fletcher admitted bringing the beloved characters back might’ve been a distraction to the new storyline even in cameo appearances. Fletcher tapped into her inner fan as she explained how hard she and the writers worked to bring the OG stars into Hocus Pocus 2.

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? 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.

I, for one, am incredibly grateful that Fletcher and the writers decided not to sour the original film by squeezing in Max and Allison just for nostalgia's sake. Having them in the background would’ve been insulting. Of course, reboots or sequels in the past have done so without considering the fans’ thoughts. So I’m thankful for that. It would’ve still been nice to see the lead characters as adults now.

Katz and Shaw weren’t the only OG Hocus Pocus stars who won’t be in the sequel. Disney did try to get another original star Thora Birch to reprise her role as Max’s sister Dani, but scheduling conflicts prevented her cameo from happening. Even Larry Bagby and Tobias Jelinek, Max’s bullies Ice and Jay, respectively, aren’t in the fold. But things aren’t all bad as Doug Jones will appear as Winfried’s zombified ex-lover Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus 2. Of course, the OG cast has been busy since the 1993 cult classic. 

Out of the HP alum who aren’t appearing in the sequel, I would’ve loved to see Dani Dennison comes back in some capacity. Given her experience with the Sanderson Sisters in the first film, she could’ve been a valuable resource to the new sources of the magical trio. It would’ve been great to see Dani and the new kids fight together to send the witchy sisters back to the afterlife. Fans could’ve seen how different or similar adult Dani would be three decades after the original Hocus Pocus. Seeing an adult Dani may have filled in some blanks about her brother, Allison, and other Salem residents. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t get the chance to catch up with her or some OG stars.

While Midler, Najimy, Parker, and Jones are the only original members to return, the new additions to the cast include Ted Lasso’s Sam Richardson and Hannah Waddingham and Veep alum Tony Hale. Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham, and Whitney Peak will play the teenagers chased down by the Sandersons in Hocus Pocus 2. The long-awaited sequel will drop on Disney+ on September 30. While you wait for the film, check out the best movies on the streamer.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).