As October and November roll around, Hocus Pocus gets plenty of play on television networks and streaming sites. Both adults who grew up with the movie, and kids getting into the movie for the first time, wonder all over again if there’s a sequel on the way. Disney has been rumored to be working on it for years, and star Bette Middler has always been vocal about her love for the role of Winifred Sanderson.
In 2018, Freeform Press (a division of Disney’s publishing arm) even published a novelization of the movie and a sequel, igniting the excitement for the 25th anniversary of the original film. With so much love for a beloved property, making a sequel can be iffy. Some fans will embrace it, while others will dismiss it as a cash grab. With Disney+ now planning on moving forward with a sequel, there are multiple paths they could pursue. Following the sequel novel, fans would already know which characters would return. If they don’t follow the novel, the possibilities are a bit more open ended.
So, who should return? Here is Hocus Pocus 2: 5 Cast Members Who Should Return (& 5 Who Should Stay Away).
10 Stay Away: Sean Murray
Since his appearance as the human form of Thackery Binx, Sean Murray has become best known in the role of Special Agent Tim McGee on N.C.I.S.. The trouble is, Murray didn’t voice Binx, though he did read his lines on set.
If Binx were to reappear in a sequel, Murray would no longer look the part of a teenage boy cursed by witches hundreds of years ago. Either Jason Marsden could return to voice the character or a new actor would have to be cast for his spectral form instead of his cat form. However, if Murray was game to cameo in a sequel as a nod to fans, we bet people wouldn’t complain.
9 Should Return: Thora Birch
Thora Birch was one of the most precocious actors around as a kid. She nailed her parts in a way a lot of adults couldn’t. As Dani, however, a lot of adults watching the movie found her more annoying than endearing. That’s only due to Dani’s penchant for screaming when she didn’t get her way.
It would be interesting to see where Dani ended up decades later. Is she still interested in witches? Or did she have her fill of them in 1993? Are she and her brother as close as ever? Fans want to know.
8 Stay Away: Amanda Shepherd
Like Binx, 1993’s Emily wouldn’t exactly have a place in a sequel film. Amanda Shepherd appeared in only a handful of scenes in the original movie, but she was the character who kickstarted the events of the film when the Sanderson sisters took her.
Emily’s spirit returns at the end of the movie to welcome her brother to the afterlife. She is someone who is stuck at the same age she was when the witches took her life. If she were to appear, it would be another recasting situation.
7 Should Return: Vinessa Shaw
Though Vinessa Shaw didn’t go on to a blockbuster career following Hocus Pocus, she remains one of the hardest working actresses in Hollywood. She’s dabbled in a little bit of every genre, and it would be fun to see her return to the family films that started her career — but not as one of the teens at the center of the story.
The sequel novel sees her character Allison as an attorney in Massachusetts, but someone who also still researches the paranormal. Seeing Allison thrive as an adult would be a welcome addition to the Hocus Pocus canon.
6 Stay Away: Stephanie Faracy
If we’re already bringing back the kids who dealt with the Sanderson sisters, do we really need their parents too? Stephanie Faracy was fun as Max and Dani’s mom, but she’s not a necessary addition to a sequel.
The parents of the first movie were skeptical when the kids tried to warn them about magic, and if they never learned the truth about that Halloween night, they wouldn’t have much to offer in the way of story potential in a sequel.
5 Should Return: Tobias Jelinek
There aren’t actually a lot of named characters in the original movie, but the bullies who target Max certainly stuck with viewers, especially since the movie never shows what happens to them after they’re left in cages at the end of the film.
The sequel novel does set up a return for Jay as he deals with the fallout of what happened to him as a teenager while he’s the principal at his teenage daughter’s school. That sounds like a perfect addition to the sequel and should definitely be kept for a movie. Besides, Jelinek has been pretty steadily working in no-nonsense suited roles as special agents in Stranger Things and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so he could easily play a rattled authority figure.
4 Stay Away: Larry Bagby
If Jay returns for a sequel, do we really need Ice? It would stand to reason that not everyone in town in 1993 is hanging around and involved in the events of the sequel. Since Ice doesn’t get time in the novel, fans could likely agree that he doesn’t need to be there for a movie version.
In fact, a mention from Jay about what went down after Max abandoned them could suffice to tell us what happened to Ice.
3 Should Return: Omri Katz
Omri Katz hasn’t appeared onscreen in an acting role since 2002. He did, however, make appearances for both the 20th and 25th anniversary celebrations of Hocus Pocus. We can’t really have a sequel without him playing Max Dennison, can we?
Katz could make a return to acting, even if it’s just for a few brief appearances, to help establish Hocus Pocus in the modern day. One of the themes of the original movie was family, and it would be important to see how the Dennison siblings get along decades later. We’d also love to see if Max and Allison are still together, like they are in the novelization.
2 Stay Away: Doug Jones
Doug Jones is a master of playing all manners of creatures. His work as aliens, monsters, and zombies is the stuff of legends. Some who grew up watching Hocus Pocus might not have even realized the actor was Billy Butcherson.
As much as we’d love to see him back in the zombie makeup, do we really need to? Billy Butcherson was resurrected by Winifred Sanderson to help her catch some kids, and then revealed that he had no interest in helping her or her sisters. He was laid to rest all over again, so who would resurrect him once more?
1 Should Return: The Sanderson Sisters
This one is kind of a given, but we can’t separate these three sisters. Bette Middler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker clearly all loved their time as witches in Hocus Pocus. Middler even still dons a Winifred Sanderson costume to sing “I Put A Spell On You” in concert sets.
What’s important here is that all three actresses have agreed to return if a sequel gets made. In fact, they’ve all been saying for years that they would be game to appear in a sequel or a remake. If they’re all already saying yes, Disney shouldn’t let them slip away.