Exorcist TV series creator Jeremy Slater says that season 2 will draw inspiration from The Exorcist III. If one had to pick an Exorcist movie sequel from which to draw on, 1990's Exorcist III would definitely be most people's top choice, as it's the only cinematic follow-up to William Friedkin's classic original that many fans actually consider good. First sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic was an absolute mess - and is widely considered one of the worst horror sequels of all-time - while dueling prequels Exorcist: The Beginning and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist are both mostly regarded as passable at best, terrible at worst.
This legacy of mostly awful Exorcist follow-ups was actually one of the reasons many fans were wary of the franchise moving to TV, as one could argue that the brand name had been tarnished enough at that point. Thankfully, season 1 of FOX's The Exorcist series surprised many by actually being quite good, at least by most accounts. It may not have been as amazing as its progenitor - and few horror properties are - but at least FOX's Exorcist established that the franchise had some life left in it.
While things looked touch and go for awhile, FOX did eventually renew The Exorcist for season 2, which premieres in late September. As for how season 2 will be inspired by The Exorcist III, Slater offered the following comments to THR on the subject:
"There’s a moment from The Exorcist III that every horror fan knows and loves. We’re looking into how we can get that moment in our show this year. It involves a hospital. It’s the single best jump scare in horror movie history aside from Ben Gardner’s head coming out of the boat in Jaws. Also, I love the idea of a demonic serial killer. We’re not exactly doing the Gemini Killer (Brad Dourif) this year with the new demon. But, I think you are going to see that this demon has a pattern and a methodology. It’s a boogeyman throughout history that has claimed a lot of notches on its belt. It’s nowhere closer to being finished."
It will be interesting to see if Slater and company can reproduce the magic of the hospital-set jump scare he mentions, as he's previously talked at length about why jump scares mostly don't work as well on the small screen. Still, even those who don't love Exorcist III tend to acknowledge that particular scare as masterful, so even doing something in its league would be an achievement for Slater.
As for the idea of a demonic serial killer, it's definitely one with a lot of potential for expansion, especially in the longer format of a TV series. Trying to match Dourif's truly mesmerizing performance would be a fool's errand though, so the best idea would likely be to make this new villain as least like the Gemini Killer in personality and looks as possible, to avoid comparisons.
The Exorcist season 2 premieres September 29 on FOX.
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