Hocus Pocus Creator David Kirschner Would Like To Make A Buffy-Inspired Spin-Off

Twenty-nine years after its theatrical release in 1993, "Hocus Pocus" has gone from earning middling reviews and bombing at the box office to becoming requisite viewing for spooky season. But as much as its wry humor, sly innuendos, and memorably idiosyncratic elements have stood the test of time, the film's outlook toward witchcraft has not.

In "Hocus Pocus," the evil-doing Sanderson Sisters and, by extension, witches in general are shown to be vain, selfish women who use magic to literally feed on the life force of the god-fearing citizens of Salem, Massachusetts in the 17th century. Don't get me wrong, they make for fantastic, campy villains in the context of a '90s Disney comedy, but so far as on-screen depictions of witchcraft are concerned, they're fairly conservative.

Judging by its trailers, the fast-approaching sequel "Hocus Pocus 2" won't, per se, attempt to ret-con the Sanderson Sisters as being wrongly vilified or complicated women whose villainous reputations are really the results of false rumors meant to slander them à la "Malificent" and "Cruella." However, it does appear the movie will feature a flash-back that shows the siblings as young women being (unjustly?) cast out of Salem, only to cross paths with an older witch (Hannah Waddingham of "Ted Lasso" fame) who gives Winifred her prized spell book and pushes them to form their own coven.

The implication, it seems, is the film will shed more light on the history of magic and the supernatural in the "Hocus Pocus" universe than its predecessor ever did. What's more, if "Hocus Pocus" co-writer David Kirschner (who also produced the sequel) gets his way, "Hocus Pocus 2" might well pave the way to a spinoff series in the vein of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," exploring all there is to know about the fantastical happenings in Salem.

'That's magical land — that's holy land'

One of the best things about the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" show and its spinoff series, "Angel," is they avoid painting a black-and-white picture of the world of vampire, witches, and other associated creatures of the night. In the Buffyverse, there are malicious monsters, but there are also good-natured demons merely trying to make ends meet, just like there are humans who fall in different spots on the morality scale.

Speaking on actor Robert Peterpaul's The Art of Kindness podcast (via ScreenRant), Kirschner talked about his interest in making a "Hocus Pocus" spinoff series that does something similar to "Buffy":

"Underneath all of those headstones as you see when the kids run in the ceremony and they go underground [in the first film] ... I wanted to really explore a world that lives beneath Salem of things that go bump in the night in a Buffy the Vampire kind of way. It's Salem for God's sakes! That's magical land — that's holy land. I absolutely would love to see that."

It's possible that, rather than trying to redeem the Sanderson Sisters or portray them as being misunderstood, "Hocus Pocus 2" will re-frame them as witches who choose to abuse their powers, while at the same time revealing there are other magic-users who are more chaotic or even lawful good than evil (again, in the vein of "Buffy" and "Angel"). This would, in turn, open the door to a sequel film or spinoff show that delves even further into the mythology of the "Hocus Pocus" universe.

Lest we get ahead of ourselves, though, it's probably best to wait and see if that's something anyone even wants after watching "Hocus Pocus 2." The film begins streaming on Disney+ on September 30, 2022.