Rejoice, Sistas — Hocus Pocus 3 Is Officially In Development

The third installment may even conjure up Dani, Alison, and Max.

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Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker have all stated they'd be interested in bringin...
Matt Kennedy/Disney Enterprises Inc.

Winifred, Mary, and Sarah returned from the dead once, but could the witchy trio cheat death twice? Ever since Disney+ released Hocus Pocus 2 into the world, fans have been clamoring for a third film in the franchise. After all, the long-awaited sequel became the most-watched original film for Disney+ within the first three days of release. Still, while the iconic stars admitted they'd love to continue the franchise, they said they'd only do so if the story proved compelling enough.

Well, they must have found that story: Walt Disney president Sean Bailey just confirmed that Hocus Pocus 3 is officially in development.

In Hocus Pocus 2, teens Becca (Whitney Peak), Cassie (Lilia Buckingham), and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) accidentally bring the Sanderson sisters back to modern-day Salem 29 years after Max last lit the Black Flame Candle. The sisters immediately start causing chaos, as they're known to do, leaving the trio of friends to stop them before they curse the entire town.

Given the excitement surrounding the sequel (not to mention the original Hocus Pocus' status as a must-see Halloween film), turning the franchise into a trilogy feels like a no-brainer. Now that Hocus Pocus 3 is actually going to happen, here's what we know about the second sequel — and whether the Sander Sisters could return for another spin on their brooms.

Will there be a Hocus Pocus 3?

Yep, it’s really going down. In a new profile with The New York Times, Bailey put anxious fans out of their misery, saying, “Yes, Hocus Pocus 3 is happening.”

Of course, the clues toward the end of Hocus Pocus 2 already had us all hopeful, right? (Small spoiler alert!) There are two big ones. First, after Winifred has been reunited with her sisters, Becca, Izzy, and Cassie walk down the street — and Mother Witch in bird form flies behind them. Then, in the end credits, we see the black cat Cobweb perched next to a box in Gilbert's Olde Salem Magic Shoppe. What does the box say? "B.F. CANDLE #2." In other words, there's another candle right there in the shop that could bring the Sanderson sisters back.

Bette Midler, who plays the crafty Winifred, would love to keep playing the eldest Sanderson sister for a little while longer. "I'm envious of other actors who have franchises, and I was hoping for a sequel to First Wives Club, but we never got that," Midler said to E.W. "After 30 years with no sequel to Hocus Pocus, I've always been envious of people who get to do their favorite character more than once. The fact that we got to do this finally, after 30 years of promoting the idea, I'm glad we got to do it. I'd love to have a franchise — especially a character I love playing."

She went on to add that she would absolutely "sign on" for a third film if Disney decides to make one. However, she's not sure where the Sanderson sisters' story would go next. "I can't imagine what the story would be, but I love Winifred, Sarah, Mary, and our relationship. It's good for women. We stick together through hell and high water, but we do cause mayhem, and not many women cause that much mayhem!"

What would a Hocus Pocus 3 be about?

Now that the Sanderson sisters have wreaked havoc on Salem twice, having them do the same thing again might start to feel redundant. That's why a third Hocus Pocus would need to take the witches somewhere they've never gone before. Sarah Jessica Parker revealed Najimy already has an idea of how a third movie could tweak the formula and up the zany factor at the same time.

"Kathy had a good idea that the third one should be animated," Parker explained to E.W. "That would be cool and a smart idea. It's fun, funny, and could be interesting and innovative, like old-fashioned or new [animation]. Of course, I'd be happy to have a conversation [for a third film]; it just depends on what Kathy and Bette want!"

There’s also the possibility that a third film could finally bring back more original stars, like Thora Birch. Speaking with ET Canada ahead of Hocus Pocus 2’s premiere, Birch explained of her character, “There were three options we had for how to bring Dani back, all of which I was excited by.” However, “By the time they got around to filming, I was already on something else.”

Then, Hocus Pocus 2’s new witchy trio revealed to Entertainment Weekly what one of those options was. “We almost had her. She was going to be our schoolteacher,” said Escobedo. “I remember talking to Anne [Fletcher, the director] about it being a thing where she was our teacher, and we went to her for help.” Explained Peak, “I think it would’ve been a bigger role if it was played by her.” At which point Buckingham added, “We had to have a mentor figure.”

As for Dani’s older brother, Max, screenwriter Jen D’Angelo hinted back in September that they’re still holding out hope they can work him into the revived franchise, too. “We tried so hard to get the original cast back for cameos and then it just kept not working out for one reason or the other,” she told Variety. “But I’m hoping in Hocus Pocus 3, we’ll see Max and Alison living in California.”

Hey, it certainly doesn’t seem too late for that, or for Dani Dennison to move back to Salem, take up residence as a teacher, and become a mentor to this new little “coven.”

Ultimately, Parker told People that if Midler signs on for a third movie, then she'll be happy to pick Sarah's broom one more time. "Bette is already starting rumors," she said. "I hitch my wagon to her star. If she wants to do a third one… No one says no to the Divine Miss M."

So, although it’s unclear if Midler, Najimy, and Parker will come back from the dead once more for the now-confirmed third installment, they do all seem to be leaving the door open for another return to Salem.

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