“I put a spell on you, and now you’re mine…” The Disney Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus, usually reemerges when it’s getting close to Halloween. The love for the 90s movie is so grand that after almost 30 years, it will get a sequel on Disney +, released just before the month of October. The Sanderson sisters will be back for another mischievous adventure, but there will be new characters (and some old faces) that will join them in the sequel.
Unfortunately, some main characters from the first movie won’t be returning to Hocus Pocus 2 — Max Dennison (Omri Katz), Alisson (Vinessa Shaw), and Dani Dennison (Thora Birch) Birch had a problem with her schedule since she will be a part of the Netflix series, Wednesday. The director, Anne Fletcher, commented that the reason why the actors wouldn’t be back was mostly a narrative problem: it wouldn’t make sense to bring these characters back or make the lead actors in the previous movie simply stand in the background.
Hannah Waddingham, from the cast of Ted Lasso, has been confirmed as a new face for the sequel; her character appeared in the trailer and has been called The Witch, but there hasn’t been any additional information about her. From her actions in the trailer (she gives the sisters a spell book when they were 16 years old) she appears to have great importance on the story in flashback.
In Hocus Pocus 2, three young women accidentally bring back the Sanderson sisters to modern-day Salem. The girls will have to figure out how to stop them before much damage is done. Fans can’t wait to see the Sanderson sisters back on the small screen accompanied by two musical numbers. Here is a list of the characters that are returning and the new ones to know what to expect from this anticipated movie.
Winifred Sanderson (Bette Midler)
There would be no Hocus Pocus without Winifred Sanderson, played by the one and only Bette Midler. The oldest, sharpest, and most wicked of the three Sanderson sisters is back once again. Winifred is the cleverly competent leader of her small coven and will do anything (including scolding her sisters for incompetent behavior) to get what she wants. It is safe to assume that she is worse than ever, and that will definitely make for an entertaining watch.
Sarah Sanderson (Sarah Jessica Parker)
The charming yet frankly dumb sister, Sarah Sanderson (played by the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker) is back for another night of misadventure. Sarah likes to flirt with boys all the time, even when she is in the middle of an important mission. She is definitely one of the weak links between her sisters, but she gets the job done and can have some fun in the process – even if Winifred doesn’t agree with her methods.
Mary Sanderson (Kathy Najimy)
The last link in the Sanderson trio, Mary Sanderson (played by the very funny Kathy Najimy) is back again. Najimy is no stranger to funny characters (Sister Act, The Wedding Planner, Veep, King of the Hill), and Mary is one of the funniest with her clumsiness and inability to notice simple things. She gets on the nerves of her sisters as much as they get on hers. She is closest to Sarah, since Winnifred is always yelling at them for doing what she asked wrong, and Mary balances the diametric opposites of her sisters with warm humor.
Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones)
Winifred’s ex-boyfriend and one of the main characters that help the young kids in the first movie (despite being pretty terrifying), Billy Butcher is back. The silent, undead figure played by Doug Jones (in one of his many masterful performances as a monstrous character, along with Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Star Trek: Discovery, and The Shape of Water) will return to help torment the Sanderson Sisters. He was probably one of the boldest choices of the movie, so his comeback makes perfect sense.
It was said that the original voice actor, Jason Marsden, for the talking black cat won’t be back. However, there have been hints that there might have been creative decisions that involve bringing him back in unusual ways. The audience will have to wait until the movie is released to understand what that means, but that only enhances the anticipation for the sequel.
Becca (Whitney Peak)
The Sanderson sisters have to be conjured to come back, and that is where newcomer Becca, played by Whitney Peak, comes to play. The character of Becca is currently in high school and will be one of the protagonists of the sequel. Her friends Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) and Cassie will help her in her adventure against the witches, since they were together when they conjured them back to life. Peak has been in a few other horror-related projects, such as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Mayor Traske (Tony Hale)
The mayor of the town, Mayor Traske, will be played by comedian-actor Tony Hale. Mayor Trask also has a daughter, Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) who is the most popular girl in school, one of Becca’s friends. The actor is known for comedic roles, especially in the great American television shows Arrested Development and Veep. There has been no released photos of the actor in the movie.
Gilbert (Sam Richardson)
Gilbert, played by Sam Richardson, is one of the new townspeople. He is the owner of the bookshop that contains a lot more than only books: magic, called the Salem Magic Shoppe. From what we know about Hocus Pocus 2, the character is reported to have a sweet bromance with none other than Billy Butcherson.
Richardson is known for his roles in Ted Lasso (which co-starred Hocus Pocus 2 star Hannah Waddingham) and Veep (which co-starred the aforementioned Tony Hale). There has been no released photos of the actor in the movie, but he pretty much looks like his adorable, slightly nerdy self in everything he does (including the phenomenal horror comedy Werewolves Within).
Unfortunately, the talking cat Binx won’t completely return for the sequel (nor will his voice actor). But don’t despair, there is a new feline companion for the latest adventure: the black cat Cobweb. Another change from the first movie is that the cat won’t talk, as the director confirmed. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be a proper witch movie without a black cat, even if it’s not a talking one. He lives in Gilbert’s store, and should add the right Halloween touch to Hocus Pocus 2.
The Witch (Hannah Waddingham)
Hannah Waddingham has a history of playing a witch, in acclaimed London productions of both Into the Woods and The Wizard of Oz on stage, so portraying one in Hocus Pocus 2 will surely be a lot of fun for her and the audience alike. She is the one responsible for giving the Sanderson sisters a magical spellbook when they were 16, which was 370 years before the events of this film. Able to transform into other creatures and adorned in a gorgeously regal red gown, Waddingham looks extremely powerful and seductive here, and audiences can’t wait.