With Halloween right around the corner, and the highly anticipated sequel now streaming on Disney+, there’s no better time to take a look back at the OG Hocus Pocus. No matter how many years pass, the beloved film is still a seasonal favorite thanks to the classic story and the talented cast.
That said, it’s been quite some time (29 years, to be exact) since Thora Birch, Omri Katz, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy and more brought to life the tale of the Sanderson Sisters and the virgin who lit the candle.
In October 2019, after years of speculation and rumors, Hocus Pocus 2 was announced to be in the works and set to premiere on Disney’s streaming service with Adam Shankman directing. The following year, Bette confirmed that she, along with Sarah Jessica and Kathy, had signed on to reprise their iconic roles. Doug Jones, who played William “Billy” Butcherson, also signed on to the project.
“Sistaaaahs! It’s been 300 years … But we’re BACK!” Bette tweeted in May 2021.
It was later revealed that the former child stars of the original would not be reprising their roles for the sequel.
“We wanted to weave in all of the people that the fans loved, and when you sat back with all the ingredients and story, you’re like, how do we make this work?” director Anne Fletcher – who replaced Shankman in April 2021 – told Entertainment Weekly in an August 2022 interview.
“It was very difficult to try to have them be a part of it, because we did talk about it — painstakingly. You’re trying to stay on track with story, even if they came in as a cameo. People would say, ‘They could be in the background!’ and I’m like, ‘Really? You’re going to put the leads of the first movie in the background and be satisfied? You’re not going to be satisfied, you’re going to be angry,’” she added.
Despite not appearing in the new film, many of the actors and actresses still keep in touch to this day. In fact, in October 2019, Omri, who played Max Dennison, Vinessa Shaw, who played Allison Watts, Tobias Jelinek, who played Jay, Larry Bagby, who played Ernie, and Doug had the sweetest reunion ever.
“Reunited and feels so good!” Omri captioned a group selfie at the time.
Scroll through the gallery below to see what the original cast of Hocus Pocus looks like now.