Original ‘Hocus Pocus’ Kids Explain Why They Weren’t in the Sequel: ‘Such a Roller Coaster Ride’

A ’90s Con panel revealed that ideas were floated to bring back the family that defeated the Sandersons for the Disney+ movie, but were rejected

The Sanderson sisters (L-R): Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), Winnifred (Bette Midler) and Mary (Kathy Najimy) in "Hocus Pocus 2" (2022)
(L-R): Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson, Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson, and Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson in HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Last year, Disney+ brought back the infamous Sanderson sisters to great success with “Hocus Pocus 2,” but the kids who defeated them in the original 1993 cult classic didn’t return with them. The actors who played them just revealed why.

At 90s Con in Hartford, Connecticut, original “Hocus Pocus” stars Omri Katz, Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw and Jason Marsden appeared at a panel and discussed the absence of their characters. In the original film, Katz and Birch played Max and Dani Dennison, two siblings whom alongside Max’s classmate crush Allison (Shaw) accidentally revive the Sanderson witches. The three kids must find a way to defeat the coven with the help of Thackery Binx (Marsden), a teen boy who was transformed into an immortal cat by the Sandersons 300 years prior.

Birch said that there had been ideas about ways to bring Max, Dani, Allison and Binx back in a sequel to “Hocus Pocus” as far back as ten years ago.  But then there were numbers of different writers that came on board and different directors, and so the story and the concept and the direction in which they wanted to take, too, kept evolving and changing and growing,” she said.

“I do know that there were, along the way, some concepts and some ideas about ways to bring us back. And for whatever reason, it just didn’t work,” Birch continued. “Some of us were going to be on, some of us weren’t. And then it just was such a roller coaster ride.

Marsden said that he had spoken with David Kirschner, producer of the original “Hocus Pocus,” and found out that he had pushed for Max, Dani and Allison to return as adults in a sequel.

“He said he did try to fight to get you three especially,” Marsden said. “But there’s a committee. It’s a team. It’s an IP now — intellectual property. It’s close to your hearts, but it belongs to a committee now. And so it’s left up to them to make the right decisions.”

In the end, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy came back to play the Sandersons in “Hocus Pocus 2,” resurrected once again nearly 30 years after their encounter with the Dennisons, facing off against a new trio of teenagers who accidentally resurrect them. The film set a new viewing record for Disney+ in terms of total hours viewed on its first weekend of release, passing the record set by Pixar’s “Turning Red” seven months prior.