Hocus Pocus 2 Is Banking Entirely On Nostalgia (That's Great & Concerning)

The Sanderson Sisters’ return for Disney’s Hocus Pocus 2 is banking entirely on nostalgia, and after what must have felt like a 300-year wait, this nostalgia is equally great as it is concerning for the sequel movie. With Hocus Pocus premiering in 1993, the film built up a cult following as a Halloween classic for almost three decades. However, after years of rumors about a new project, there are a lot of expectations to meet and worries that the magic of Hocus Pocus 2 will fail to enchant audiences the way the previous film did.

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Once considered a commercial and critical failure, Hocus Pocus became popular after being viewed on home video and during record-breaking Halloween season broadcasts. After years of love from fans and the film’s stars, a rumored remake with Tina Fey of Saturday Night Live fame began development in 2014. However, it wouldn’t be until 2019 that Hocus Pocus 2 became confirmed as a Disney+ debut, 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 was no denying the excitement for the Sanderson Sisters’ return later that year.

Related: How Hocus Pocus' Sanderson Sisters Get Witches Right (When Others Fail)

With Hocus Pocus’ success made possible by nostalgia, it only made sense that its sequel would attempt to channel it. However, with almost 30 years of waiting and a required Disney+ subscription, it’s also concerning that the film will repeat Hocus Pocus’ same jokes, iconography, and plots 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 an identity of its own.

How Nostalgia Could End Up Hurting Hocus Pocus 2

hocus pocus 2 set videos sanderson sisters

In the various Hocus Pocus 2 trailers released, Disney included plenty of references to the previous film. The vacuum-riding gag, the “I Put a Spell on You” scene, and even something as trivial as lines like “I’m a good zombie” or “Amok, amok, amok…” suggest that much of Hocus Pocus 2's charm is cheaply relying on fan service. While brilliantly executed and making for a delightful first impression, Hocus Pocus 2 could be too much of a good thing and fail to distinguish itself from its antecedent. Hocus Pocus 2 shouldn’t be a total reboot, nor should it be a rehash of the previous film, 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 zeitgeist of the '90s to carry their characters. From the trailers, it’s clear that whether 30 years or 300 years, the Sanderson Sisters are still entertaining, and they deserve a chance to run amok, pursue new plots, and evolve as characters. Nostalgia was always part of Hocus Pocus’ legacy, but not the reason why the story was originally so endearing. People always loved the characters and the clever writing behind them because Hocus Pocus’ magic didn’t always come from recapturing the audience’s youth but rather from the deliciously wicked Sanderson Sisters themselves.

Nostalgia is a powerful force and tends to be the driving force behind many sequels, reboots, and remakes, but sometimes series are so dependent that there’s not enough room for growth. Hocus Pocus 2 has a lot of expectations built up after 29 years, and it’s clear fans want more. However, if the Sanderson Sisters want a successful sequel, they can’t be so reliant on their past.

Key Release Dates

  • Hocus Pocus 2 Official Poster
    Hocus Pocus 2
    Release Date: 2022-09-30
2022-09-11T21:45:33.000Z

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