Fans knew ahead of time that Hocus Pocus 2 wouldn't feature the return of any of the original film's stars, but star of the sequel Belissa Escobedo recently confirmed that an early version of the script they read featured Thora Birch's Dani returning to offer guidance to the new adventure's heroes. Additionally, while Sam Richardson plays a prominent supporting role in the sequel as Gilbert, the owner of a magic shop, Escobedo shared that they don't have a recollection of that character being in the version of the script that featured Dani. Hocus Pocus 2 is now streaming on Disney+.
"She was going to be our schoolteacher," Escobedo explained to Entertainment Weekly. "I remember talking to Anne [Fletcher] about it being a thing where she was our teacher, and we went to her for help."
The outlet also noted that the reason that Birch wasn't able to have a role in the sequel was due to her commitments filming the Netflix series Wednesday, a project which she ultimately had to part ways with due to scheduling issues.
Just last week, Birch recalled how disappointed she was to not be able to appear in the film.
"I was just a little dismayed I wasn't able to make it," Birch shared with Entertainment Tonight. "I was working on something else when they were filming ... Otherwise I was definitely going to be there on set with the girls."
She added, "I can't wait to see what they do with it. I know they're taking a completely different, fresh approach, so I'm excited."
While the sequel did feature the return of original stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Doug Jones, the adventure opted to focus on all-new figures as opposed to bringing back other original characters. Director Anne Fletcher previously shared with Entertainment Weekly the challenge of honoring the past while introducing a new legacy.
"We wanted to weave in all of the people that the fans loved, and when you sat back with all the ingredients and story, you're like, how do we make this work?" Fletcher detailed to the outlet. "It was very difficult to try to have them be a part of it, because we did talk about it — painstakingly. You're trying to stay on track with story, even if they came in as a cameo."
Fletcher added, "People would say, 'They could be in the background!' and I'm like, really? You're going to put the leads of the first movie in the background and be satisfied? You're not going to be satisfied, you're going to be angry."
Hocus Pocus 2 is now streaming on Disney+.
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