Over the last three decades, the promise of Hocus Pocus 2 felt like… well… a bunch of hocus pocus — that is, until this moment.
Disney unveiled Tuesday the first teaser trailer for the highly anticipated Hocus Pocus sequel, which is rife with new characters as well as classic callbacks to Kenny Ortega’s 1993 Halloween classic — including a brief appearance by the central Sanderson Sisters played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.
“Lock up your children! “Yes, Salem, we’re back!” Winifred Sanderson (Midler) squeals at the end of the clip amid crashes of thunder and lightning, before a short scene sees a local man asking the witches if they’re “looking for the stage” — a clear reference to their memorable “I Put a Spell On You” performance from the first film. With a sinister look in her eye, Winifred responds: “Always.”
The teaser (above) begins with the film’s new generation of high school students (Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham) preparing for a Halloween birthday ritual, which includes a stop at a magic shop. Sam Richardson pops up to caution that legends suggest that “on her 16th birthday, a witch gets her powers,” before the youths light the Black Flame Candle and bring the Sanderson Sisters back from the dead.
We also see several shots of a black cat (it’s unclear if it’s a new feline or if the girls’ spell also, somehow, also brought back the curse of Thackery Binkx) as well as a shovel digging into the grave of Billy Butcherson, Winifred’s zombified ex-lover portrayed by Doug Jones (who also returned for the sequel).
In addition to the previously announced cast, EW previously confirmed that RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, Ginger Minj, and Kahmora Hall would join the cast for a scene that sees the queens portraying drag versions of the Sanderson trio. We also confirmed that actress Thora Birch who portrayed Dani Dennison, one of the original kids who grappled with the return of the witches in the first film would not reprise her role in the sequel due to other filming commitments.
In EW’s exclusive Awardist roundtable video tied to Drag Race season 14, Kornbread revealed a hilarious story about Najimy a friend of RuPaul’s from the set. She recalls that the actress behind Mary Sanderson came up to her on the set of the Anne Fletcher-directed sequel and said, “One day I hope you’re on Drag Race,” before suggesting that she make the connection with Mama Ru.
“[She said] ‘I know RuPaul personally, I’m the reason Bob [the Drag Queen] got on the show, I’m going to call RuPaul about you,'” Kornbread, who’d recently returned from filming the top-secret stint on season 14 before joining Hocus Pocus 2, continues. “I go, ‘Kathy, baby, you know what, don’t do that. I appreciate you, but don’t do that.'” A representative for Najimy confirmed to EW that the actress offered to call RuPaul to suggest Kornbread for a future season of the show.
Hocus Pocus 2 — also starring Tony Hale and Hannah Waddingham — premieres Sept. 30 on Disney+.