Sistahs! And brothers, of course. We are just one month away from the release of one of Disney’s most highly anticipated sequels — Hocus Pocus 2. The film’s release comes nearly 30 years after the premiere of the original movie, which starred Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson. The Sanderson sisters were brought back from the dead after virgin Max Dennison lit the infamous Black Flame Candle. In order to stay alive past Halloween, the sisters must suck the lives out of the children of Salem.
While Hocus Pocus didn’t do too well at the box office, it is now one of the most successful Halloween movies that Disney has ever released. Fans were elated when Disney announced that, after nearly 30 years, a sequel film was being made and would be released on Disney+. It was even more exciting when Disney shared that Midler would return as Winifred Sanderson, Najimy would reprise her role as Mary Sanderson, and Parker would be back as Sarah Sanderson. Doug Jones would also be returning to play the role of Billy Butcherson.
For those who may not remember, Billy Butcherson was the former love of Winifred Sanderson. However, Winifred found Billy cheating on her with her sister Sarah, something she would not stand for. Winifred then poisoned Billy and sewed his mouth shut with a needle, so he could never tell his secrets, even in death (dark, we know). Winifred brings Billy back from the dead when she needs his help to retrieve her beloved spell book. Little does she know that Billy has no intention of helping her and, instead, helps Max, Dani, and Allison defeat the three sisters.
With just about one month before Hocus Pocus 2 premieres, we are finally getting a look at Doug Jones as Billy Butcherson once again. Entertainment Weekly shared the exclusive photos, which you can see below.
Hocus Pocus 2 director also spoke to Entertainment Weekly about what it means to have Billy Butcherson back in action and where his story will go in the sequel.
“Billy came back to me immediately, it was frightening how he’s been alive while I’ve been playing other characters all these years, but, Billy’s like, ‘I wanted my chance again.'”That chance begins in Fletcher’s sequel as Billy’s eternal slumber is interrupted after a brand new group of teens (Belissa Escobedo, Whitney Peak, and Lilia Buckingham) light the Black Flame Candle, ushering in a new reign of terror on contemporary Salem at the hands of the witchy trio (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker). Jones confirms that Billy is still a friendly zombie, and that his backstory in the sequel further fleshes out the soul hiding beneath his decayed flesh.
“His hatred for the witches puts him on [the teens’] side,” Jones says, promising that fans will get a clearer glimpse into his past relationship with Winifred “back in the day,” before she poisoned him on May 1, 1693 for cheating on her with Sarah.
Later, Billy is still looking for love, albeit in a platonic sense. He finds it, Fletcher says, in what those who’ve seen the film have dubbed a “bromance” between Billy and Gilbert (Sam Richardson), the owner of the Salem Magic Shoppe — an occult tourist attraction operating out of the old Sanderson Sisters cottage.
“It’s such a sweet, special little relationship and side story,” Fletcher observes. Jones likens it to their “own little buddy film going off on the side as the movie plays out,” which he hopes fans will find to be as “charming and lovely” as he does.
Billy’s story is not the only one that will be fleshed out in Hocus Pocus 2. Viewers will also be able to see Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson as children, which will let us learn how they developed into the soul-sucking witches they became.
Hocus Pocus 2 will premiere on Disney+ on September 30 and will also star Belissa Escobedo, Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, Sam Richardson, and Tony Hale. Even though they were vital to the first film, we know that Max Dennison, Dani Dennison, and Allison Watts will not make a reappearance in the sequel.