In September 2017, certain corners of the Internet were abuzz with news that a made-for-television version of Disney’s beloved Hocus Pocus is in the works — but fans are displeased that none of the original cast members are attached to the project.
According to trade publication Deadline, the Disney Channel’s Hocus Pocus is still in early development:
Disney Channel is in early stages of development on a Hocus Pocus TV movie, a reimagining of the 1993 cult classic Walt Disney feature, which starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy … The new take is being written by Scarlett Lacey (The Royals), with David Kirschner, producer on the original movie, on board to executive produce.
The 1993 film was written by Neil Cuthbert and Mick Garris, based on a story by Garris and Kirschner, and directed by Kenny Ortega. Garris hinted at a possible Hocus Pocus TV project in a recent interview.
The new Hocus Pocus iteration will have a new cast and a new director. Ortega, who has directed Disney Channel’s two biggest TV movie franchises, High School Musical and Descendants, is not involved.
The film was described as a “new iteration” of Hocus Pocus, not a sequel or similar initiative. Entertainment Weekly touched on elements of the project that might not sit well with fans of the original — namely, an absence of the first film’s stars (whose star power might command a higher price tag):
Speaking to Forbes about Hocus Pocus, writer Mick Garris (who isn’t involved in the remake) said he heard the television remake was moving forward and speculated that the original cast could factor somehow. “If they don’t do that I think it would be a big mistake because all three of them are still so incredibly potent and powerful and great performers and who else can recreate those characters?” Garris said.
Furthermore, fans who had long clamored for a sequel to the movie were once again disappointed. Back in 2015, Bette Midler said about the prospect on Facebook:
After all these years and all the fan demand, I do believe I can stand and firmly say an unequivocal no[.]
Rumors of a Hocus Pocus sequel have long-circulated on social media (alongside the occasional hoax), but the television film without the cast was described as a “reboot”.