Adam Shankman To Direct 'Hocus Pocus 2' For Disney+, No Original Cast Involved (Yet)

Director Adam Shankman will work his magic on Hocus Pocus 2 for Disney+. The Hairspray director has been tapped to helm the highly anticipated Hocus Pocus sequel for Disney's streaming service, which is being penned by Workaholics writer and co-producer Jen D'Angelo. However, that anticipation may waver without the non-involvement of original cast members Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, none of whom are confirmed to be on board for Hocus Pocus 2.

Variety broke the news that Adam Shankman has been tapped by Disney+ as the Hocus Pocus 2 director.

Shankman, who is best known for helming the 2007 HairsprayStep Up, and Rock of Ages boards the project five months after Jen D'Angelo was hired to write the sequel to Disney's 1993 cult horror comedy hit. At the time, D'Angelo was also reportedly tasked with bringing back the bewitching trio of Midler, Parker, and Najimy, whose outsized performances and charisma are what helped make the first film such a hit. But it seems that D'Angelo hasn't been successful so far, as Variety reports that the original Hocus Pocus cast members "are not attached to the sequel," though Disney remains "hopeful that they will become involved in some capacity." Disney reportedly hopes to bring the trio of actresses on to reprise their roles, however briefly, so that Hocus Pocus 2 will remain a direct sequel rather than a reboot.

It makes one wonder what the hold-up is, as Midler, Parker, and Najimy have all expressed interest in returning to their roles. "We wanna fly again," Midler told Entertainment Tonight in November 2019. "I hope we get to do it, because [Winifred] is of course one of my favorite characters.... I can't wait to read the script. We're gonna see what happens."

If Disney+ can't work their magic and get the trio on board, then not even the solid team-up of Shankman and D'Angelo could make Hocus Pocus 2 work as well as the first film. The original Hocus Pocus, directed by Kenny Ortega from a script by Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert, was not a major hit when it opened in theaters in 1993 but when on to become a cult success thanks to TV reruns and nostalgic millennials. But the biggest reason that the original Hocus Pocus — a mostly substandard kiddie horror-comedy — works is because of Midler, Parker, and Nanjimy, whose committed and campy turns as a trio of life-draining witches are an absolute hoot to watch.

It seems like it could take a while longer for Hocus Pocus 2 to come to Disney+ however, as Shankman is currently in pre-production on Disney's Enchanted sequel, Disenchanted. That sequel has also long been in the works and it's yet to be determined which film Shankman will focus on first.