After almost thirty years, Hocus Pocus 2 brought the Sanderson sisters back to Salem, causing chaos for a whole new generation. This sequel was the perfect follow-up to the Halloween classic from Disney, with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy just as charming as they were in the original.
Hocus Pocus 2 did a fantastic job honoring the original film while also bringing someone new to the table. Best of all, this wasn’t just a rehashing of the first Hocus Pocus, a trend that has become popular for returning franchises such as Star Wars.
Instead, Hocus Pocus 2 had a fresh story that also featured familiar beats that fans of the first would appreciate. Mixed in among the story were some major hints to the future of this franchise and what could come in for a Hocus Pocus 3 or even a Disney+ series. So let’s run amok, amok, amok as we look towards the future in our crystal ball and see what’s in store for a potential third entry in this fantastic series.
[Warning: Spoilers from Hocus Pocus 2 are below!]
The ending of Hocus Pocus 2
Something that I wasn’t quite expecting but welcomed wholeheartedly was the change in tone from the first Hocus Pocus to the Disney+ sequel. By no means was the first one scary, but it was definitely darker, whereas Hocus Pocus 2 felt more family-friendly on the younger skewed streaming service. This was very apparent in the way the film ended.
After casting the Magicae Maxima spell, all three Sanderson sisters exhibited powerful magic unlike any they had before. However, all magic comes with a cost, and Winnie (Midler) learns that the hard way as her sisters disappear.
The message of the importance of family runs deep in Hocus Pocus 2, with a flashback to the Sanderson sister’s early years at the beginning of the film. Audiences learn that while Winnie might come off cold or mean to her sisters, she loves them more than anything.
So perhaps the biggest shock comes when Winnie, in the present day, is willing to give up her powers to be reunited with her sisters once again. She happily disappears with a smile on her face, signaling the end of the Sanderson sisters who we’ll never see again. Right?
Not so fast. As the post-credit scene showed, there is a second black flame candle, which we believe that Gilbert (Sam Richardson) created. The black flame candle, if lit by a virgin, would return Winnie, Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Parker) to the land of the living once more.
Most would assume that this means the three witches will be back to cause trouble, but another option is more likely, which involves the witch we met at the beginning of the film.
The real rise of the Elderwitch in Hocus Pocus 3
In the flashback sequence in the opening of Hocus Pocus 2, teenage Winnie, Mary, and Sarah are banished from Salem for not following the wishes of Reverend Traske (Tony Hale). In the woods around Salem, the trio runs into a witch (Hannah Waddingham) who initially wants to steal their life force for herself but instead gives Book, Winnie’s magical spell book, to the sisters.
She warns them against casting Magicae Maxima and then disappears from the story altogether. Which would have been all fine and dandy, if she didn’t show up in the closing moments of Hocus Pocus 2.
As the new coven of teenage witches is walking home after their final encounter with the Sanderson sisters, a bird that looks identical to the bird that Waddingham’s witch turned into in the beginning flies towards them and out of shot. Is this just a fun callback, or is this hinting that mother witch is still around, having sucked the life force from children for all these years? I’m leaning towards the latter, which gives us a huge clue to the villain of the next potential entry in the franchise.
The Cosmic Circus reported back in September of last year, in our article about sets being built in Rhode Island, that the rumored title for the sequel was Hocus Pocus: Rise of the Elderwitch. While the title was ultimately shortened, it seems that the Elderwitch remained part of the film and that Hocus Pocus 2 is a setup for what is to come.
Looking towards Hocus Pocus 3
Whether the next entry is another movie or a Disney+ series, I’m kind of hoping for a series, it seems that the next problem Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) will have to deal with will be to rid the world of the Elderwitch aka Hannah Waddingham’s Mother Witch.
I think that while she warned the Sanderson sisters not to use the Magicae Maxima spell, her ultimate goal was to have them do so. As well, why would this powerful witch give up this magical spellbook for nothing?
Perhaps it was a way to absorb their magic, sensing a weakness for family in Winnie that would result in her forfeiting her powers for her sisters. She could have also wanted the sisters out of her way, for a larger plan in place. However why that plan didn’t occur in all the years the sisters were gone, both when they died in Salem original and again in their 29-year absence since the first film is still a mystery.
I see Hocus Pocus 3 playing out that Mother Witch decides to enact her plan, causing more trouble for Salem and is a force that is too much for Becca’s newly minted coven to handle. Defeated and out of options, they light the second black flame candle, resurrecting the Sanderson sisters once again.
The Sanderson sisters, changed from the events in Hocus Pocus 2, will return to fight against the Mother Witch and for the forces of good. This change to the good side would complete the arc, allowing the growth in Hocus Pocus 2 to be further cemented. At that point, the sisters can finally rest in peace, having gone from infamous to heroes in true Disney fashion.
There is no confirmation or announcement of a Hocus Pocus continuation, but with the way the movie ended and the loose ends not tied up, it seems like something is coming.
Hocus Pocus 2 is currently streaming exclusively on Disney+. Have you watched it yet? What are your thoughts on the sequel? Let us know on social media. And if you haven’t yet, check out Luna Gauthier’s book review on Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha.