‘Hocus Pocus’ Star Reveals Original Cast “Weren’t Invited” Back For Sequel

Hocus Pocus, Max, Dani, Allison
Credit: Disney

In 1993, Disney released the spooktacular live-action film Hocus PocusHocus Pocus starred Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson. The three witch sisters are brought back from the dead after the virginal teenager Max Dennison lights the Black Flame Candle. The film was released in the summer of 1993 and was a theatrical flop. However, since then, it has gained a massive following and is now considered one of Disney’s most successful and popular Halloween films.

Hocus Pocus Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy

Credit: Disney

For years, fans begged The House of Mouse to make a sequel to the popular film. Finally, after nearly three decades, Disney listened and Hocus Pocus 2 came to fruition. Midler, Najimy, and Parker all returned for the sequel, along with Doug Jones, who played Billy Butcherson. However, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, and Vinessa Shaw were not brought back. Katz played Max Dennison, Birch played Dani Dennison, and Shaw played Allison, in the first film — the three other main characters.

Hocus Pocus Omri Katz Thora Birch Vinessa Shaw

Credit: Disney

90s Con took place this past weekend, and Katz, Birch, Shaw sat on a panel to talk about their hit film. Jason Marsden — who played Binx in the first film — also joined. During the panel, they were asked about the sequel. Birch said that the second film was a long time in the making, and bringing back Max, Dani, and Allison had been discussed. Per People:

“The desire [and] the concept of maybe doing [a sequel] was about 10 years. But then there were numbers of different writers that came on board and different directors, and so the story and the concept and the direction in which they wanted to take, too, kept evolving and changing and growing,” she said.

“I do know that there were, along the way, some concepts and some ideas about ways to bring us back. And for whatever reason, it just didn’t work,” she continued. “Some of us were going to be on, some of us weren’t. And then it just was such a roller coaster ride.

Birch added: “What we like to say in the business: we had scheduling conflicts.”

Thora Birch Dani Dennison Hocus Pocus

Credit: Disney

However, Katz chimed in that they were never even invited into a meeting about the sequel.

“We weren’t invited to that meeting. So we don’t really know why we weren’t invited,” Katz, 46, said. “I think the fan base really wanted to see something with us. … Yeah, I don’t know. It’s hard to really figure out the decisions that are made regarding what they want to do.”

Marsden also revealed that David Kirschner, one of the writers of the original film on both films, fought to bring Katz, Birch, and Shaw back, but he was shot down. Kirschner said that the Hocus Pocus story was now completely Disney’s intellectual property. If they didn’t want to bring back the original actors, they didn’t have to. The decisions were up to a board.

Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2 are both available to stream on Disney+.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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