Omri Katz won’t be lighting another Black Flame Candle in Hocus Pocus 2. Katz starred in the 1993 original Hocus Pocus as Max Dennison, the virgin who unwittingly resurrects a coven of 300-year-old witcheswhen he lights a magic candle on Halloween night. The evil Sanderson Sisters (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker) have until sunrise to steal the lives of Salem’s children and stay young forever — or turn to dust. While Max, younger sister Dani (Thora Birch), and Allison (Vinessa Shaw) aren’t appearing in the sequelabout a new teen trio who must save Salem on All Hallow’s Eve, Katz supports the Disney+ movie’s “new direction.”
“People have been asking, and unfortunately, I’m not in it. I would have loved to be involved,” Katz told Entertainment Weekly. “I feel bad for the original fan base saying we aren’t because I’m sure they wanted to see us reprise our roles.”
Katz praised Disney and director Anne Fletcher for “trying to attract a new fan base” 29 years after the Kenny Ortega-directed original became a seasonal favorite.
“I think it’ll be good for everyone who loved the original,” Katz, now 46, added. “I hope fans will go see it. I know I will.”
EW previously reported Birch was asked to reprise her role of a grown-up Dani, but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. The sequel instead focuses on a group of high-school students — Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) — who must thwart the witches when they return in modern-day Salem.
“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?” Fletcher explained to EW. “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.”
Fletcher added: “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.”
New cast members include Tony Hale as Salem Mayor Jefry Traske, Sam Richardson as Olde Salem Magic Shoppe owner Gilbert, Hannah Waddingham as the Witch, and RuPaul’s Drag Race queens Kahmora Hall, Ginger Minj, and Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté as drag versions of the Sanderson Sisters. Doug Jones, who played the zombified Billy Butcherson in the original, returns alongside Midler, Najimy, and Parker.
Disney describes Hocus Pocus 2: “It’s been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the 17th-century sisters who were executed for practicing witchcraft, and they are looking for revenge. Now it is up to three high-school students to figure out how to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before midnight on All Hallow’s Eve.”
Hocus Pocus 2 is streaming September 30 on Disney+.
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