Hocus Pocus 2 was originally going to show the Sanderson sisters in purgatory in the final scene. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprized their roles as three witches from the first film, which was released in 1993. Hocus Pocus told the story of a sibling who accidentally revived the Sanderson sisters who eat food. children three hundred years after their deaths. The film has since become a family favorite for Halloween.
Hocus Pocus 2, directed by Anne Fletcher, arrives almost 30 years later. Although reviews were mixed, the film proved to be a hit with audiences with record viewership on Disney+. The story is now set in the present day, when teenage girls unwittingly light the Black Flame candle and once again conjure up the Sanderson sisters. This time, the girls use the witches’ own spellbook against them in order to defeat them for good. Hocus Pocus 2 ends with an end credits sequence that shows the Sanderson sisters in a music studio singing “The Witches are Back,” a variation of Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back.”
However, Hocus Pocus 2 originally set up a different plan for the end credits. In a recent interview on The Art of Kindness podcast with Robert Peterpaul, the film’s costume designer Salvador Perez confirms that he had started designing outfits for the alternate concept, which involved Midler, Parker and Najimy on stage in Purgatory. Perez explains:
“As opposed to them singing in the music studio, they would be the ones performing on stage in Purgatory. I was supposed to do a gold version of it in gold costumes. We started this process, and then they said “no, we’re not going to do it, we don’t have the time or the money”. So I didn’t get very far with that, but it would have been to finish the movie… My concept was these very Vegas versions of their gold and glitter costumes… I was really looking forward to it. The audience was going to be all in red and it was all different historical costumes, but all in red. So 15th century, 16th century, 17th… all those dead people in red in the booths and then the ladies in gold on stage. »
Would the original Hocus Pocus 2 ending have been better?
After the Sanderson sisters disappeared into thin air at the end of Hocus Pocus 2, the idea of the three witches singing in purgatory would have been a natural and clever extension of the story. It would have added a slightly darker twist knowing that they can be left hanging in a world with no spiritual resolution, while still being admittedly fun to see them in their place and still having a good time. On the other hand, while witches have always been the villains of Hocus Pocus, ending the story with the climactic scene of Winifred lovingly deciding to reunite with her sisters sheds an empathetic light on the cartoonish evil characters. It’s a warm, peaceful ending that honors the legacy these Disney witches have left for many children over the past few decades.
Ending Hocus Pocus 2 with the Sanderson sisters in purgatory would have worked as an additional gag that also answers the narrative question of what happened to them. However, the Music Studios segment takes the Sandersons out of history and time, lightening the tone while giving the Hocus Pocus witches a sense of immortality. The final cut of Hocus Pocus 2 ends the film on a more emotional note, letting audiences use their imaginations to consider where the Sanderson sisters may have ended up, and the mystery adds a bit more to the magic. Not to mention, it gives more narrative freedom for any potential Hocus Pocus 3, hinted at slightly in the post-credits scene.
Source: The Art of Kindness with Robert Peterpaul
Original Hocus Pocus 2 ending showed the Sanderson sisters in purgatory | Pretty Reel