Hocus Pocus 2: Thora Birch was dismayed scheduling issues kept her out of sequel


For years, there was talk about making a sequel to the 1993 cult favorite Hocus Pocus. After spending some time in development hell, Hocus Pocus 2 finally made it into production recently and is now set to be released through the Disney+ streaming service on September 30th. Unfortunately, when the sequel did get made, it happened to be at a time when the first film’s cast member Thora Birch was too busy to participate.

According to Collider, Birch’s character Dani Dennison was originally supposed to have a prominent role in Hocus Pocus 2, where she would have teamed up with a group of teenagers to battle the returning trio of witches, the Sanderson Sisters (played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy). But there was a scheduling issue – and speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Birch told them she was “dismayed” she had to miss out on the movie.

Birch said, “I was just a little dismayed I wasn’t able to make it. I was working on something else when they were filming, otherwise I was definitely going to be there on set with the girls. I can’t wait to see what they do with it. I know they’re taking a completely different, fresh approach, so I’m excited.

Directed by Anne Fletcher from a screenplay by Jen D’Angelo (Workaholics), Hocus Pocus 2 has the following synopsis:

Picking up 29 years after a teen named Max lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the three 17th-century child-essence-stealing sorceresses, Winifred (Midler), Sarah (Parker), and Mary (Najimy) are now looking for revenge. With the Sanderson Sisters back to terrorize Salem, it’s up to three high school students to stop them. How do you do that? By summoning the wrath of an enchantress, of course.

Those three high school students are Becca (Whitney Peak, Gossip Girl), Cassie (Lilia Buckingham, Dirt), and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo, American Horror Stories). Also in the cast are Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso) Tony Hale (Veep), Sam Richardson (Werewolves Within), Juju Brener (Vanquish), Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf), Taylor Paige (Earwig and the Witch), and newcomer Nina Kitchen. Doug Jones is reprising the role of Billy Butcherson. It has been said that the opening sequence of the film will give viewers a look at the lives of Billy and the Sanderson sisters in the 1600s.

In modern day (according to Entertainment Weekly), Billy and Sam Richardson’s character Gilbert, “the owner of the Salem Magic Shoppe – an occult tourist attraction operating out of the old Sanderson Sisters cottage”, have their own buddy adventure “going off on the side as the movie plays out”.

Are you looking forward to watching Hocus Pocus 2 this Halloween season, and are you disappointed that Birch’s character had to be written out of the script? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Hocus Pocus 2

Source: Entertainment Tonight

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.