‘Halloween Ends’ Director David Green Teases His Upcoming ‘Exorcist’ Trilogy: ‘It’s Dead Serious’

From one beloved horror franchise to another

Warner Bros.

“Halloween Ends” is the biggest movie in the country right now and serves as a fitting end to the saga that began with 1978’s beloved original. But director David Gordon Green, who made this new trilogy (starting with 2018’s “Halloween”), isn’t done with horror movies – or even trilogies – yet, as he has another horror franchise waiting in the wings — a new series of “Exorcist” movies, which will see Ellen Burstyn make her long-awaited return, starring alongside Leslie Odom Jr. and Ann Dowd.

When TheWrap spoke to Green about “Halloween Ends,” we had to ask him about his plans for the upcoming “Exorcist” movies, which will see him reunite with several of the key creatives behind the new “Halloween” movies as well (including screenwriter Danny McBride and producer Jason Blum).

Green says that the first two films are written and that the third will be dictated by the production of the first movie (due out next Halloween). “I think we’ll learn from the production on the first one to see what applies as we evolve,” Green said. When it comes to the story, Green was cagey. “It’s honoring Chris MacNeil (Burstyn’s character), and we’re checking in on her 50 years later, so it’s a significant evolution in her character, but I think it’ll be really fun to explore,” Green said.

Part of the fun of developing the project was doing a “crap-load of research for the past two years” according to Green. And Green notes that it will be very different, tonally, from his “Halloween” movies. “We’re about to begin on a very different type of technical journey than ‘Halloween,’” Green said. “I don’t even necessarily categorize it as a horror film, although it’s very horror appealing, it’s psychological and dramatic. It doesn’t have the fun tension-breakers that ‘Halloween’ would have, because you can’t lean into any of the more campy qualities that I think we enjoy from time to time in the ‘Halloween’ movies. It’s dead serious and pretty straightforward, and I don’t know, I’m excited about it.”

And far from being slavishly devoted to the original “Exorcist,” Green says that he likes all of the “Exorcist” movies “for their own reason.” “If ‘Exorcist II’ wasn’t called ‘Exorcist II,’ people would be in awe of it in a lot of ways,” Green said. “Technically, it’s outrageous in so many ways. It’s just hard to follow in the footsteps, and I’m going to face the same challenge, but follow in the footsteps of a masterpiece.”

A daunting task for sure, Green admits that “in some ways we’re honoring” what came before but it isn’t a slavish sequel. “I just want to make sure with all these movies that I’m putting enough of a signature in so I’m not just trying to recreate a formula that existed 50 years ago,” Green explained. “Because it has been done and I’m not remaking the movie, so I should make what I know I can bring, something very specific, and my truth to this new story.”

In preparation for the project, Green and his primary co-writer Peter Sattler (the two went to film school together) “have been working really hard to design something that I think feels relevant in this time.” “In terms of spirituality and psychology, it deals with a lot, from the clinical to the biblical,” Green said. “You can imagine the epic conversations that will inspire. It certainly has inspired a lot of literature that I’ve been going through obsessively for the last couple of years.”

And, don’t worry, with principal photography about to begin on the new “Exorcist” project, Green managed to squeeze in directorial duties on an episode of the upcoming season of “The Righteous Gemstones.” Praise the lord.

“Halloween Ends” is in theaters and streaming on Peacock now. The new “Exorcist” movie hits theaters on Oct. 13, 2023.