The return of the Sanderson Sisters to Disney Hocus Pocus 2 banking entirely on nostalgia, and after what must have felt like a 300-year wait, that nostalgia is just as great as it is concerning for the sequel film. With Hocus Pocus premiered in 1993, the film has created a cult following as a Halloween classic for nearly three decades. However, after years of rumors about a new project, there are a lot of expectations to fill and concerns that the magic of Hocus Pocus 2 will fail to enchant audiences as the previous film did.
Once considered a commercial and critical failure, Hocus Pocus rose to popularity after being viewed on home video and on record-breaking Halloween season shows. After years of love from fans and film stars, a rumored remake starring Tina Fey of Saturday Night Live fame began to grow in 2014. However, it wasn’t until 2019 that Hocus Pocus 2 was confirmed as a Disney+ first, with news in 2020 that the film’s original stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy were reprising their roles as the sinister Sanderson Sisters. After a new novel and a series of online shorts, Hocus Pocus 2 received its first trailer in 2022. With the trailer garnering over 43 million views in 24 hours, there’s no denying the excitement surrounding the return of the Sanderson Sisters later that year.
With Hocus Pocus’ success made possible by nostalgia, it only made sense that its sequel would try to channel it. However, with the wait nearly 30 years and a Disney+ subscription required, it’s also concerning that the film is repeating itself. Hocus Pocus’ same jokes, iconography, and storylines without contributing much to the series. A little nostalgia goes a long way, and Hocus Pocus 2 wouldn’t be as fun without it, but it also risks the sequel becoming reliant on the past without creating its own identity.
How nostalgia could end up hurting Hocus Pocus 2
In the various Hocus Pocus 2 trailers released, Disney included many references to the previous film. The vacuum cleaner gag, the “I put a spell on you” scene, and even something as trivial as lines like “i am a good zombie” Where “Amok, amok, amok…suggest that a large part of Hocus Pocus 2The charm of cheaply rests on fan service. Although brilliantly executed and making a delightful first impression, Hocus Pocus 2 might be too good and indistinguishable from its antecedent. Hocus Pocus 2 shouldn’t be a total reboot, nor a rehash of the previous movie, but rather a new chapter that loves its past while embracing its present.
The original cast of Hocus Pocus was so talented that they never needed the ’90s zeitgeist to carry their characters. From the trailers, it’s clear that whether it’s 30 or 300, the Sanderson sisters are still entertaining and deserve a chance to go wild, pursue new storylines, and evolve as than characters. Nostalgia has always been part of Hocus Pocus’ legacy, but not the reason the story was originally so endearing. People have always loved the characters and the clever writing behind them because Hocus Pocus’ the magic didn’t always come from the recuperation of the audience’s youth, but rather from the delightfully wicked Sanderson sisters themselves.
Nostalgia is a powerful force and tends to drive many sequels, reboots, and remakes, but sometimes series are so dependent there isn’t enough room for growth. Hocus Pocus 2 has high expectations after 29 years, and it’s clear fans want more. However, if the Sanderson sisters want a successful sequel, they can’t depend so much on their past.