Hocus Pocus 2 was originally supposed to show the Sanderson sisters in purgatory in the final scene. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprised their roles as the three witches from the first film, which was released in 1993. Hocus Pocus told the story of a brother and sister who accidentally revive the children-eating Sanderson sisters three hundred years after their deaths. The film has since become a family Halloween favorite.
Hocus Pocus 2, directed by Anne Fletcher, comes almost 30 years later. While reviews have been mixed, the film has proven to be a hit with audiences with record viewership on Disney+. The story now takes place in the present day, when teenage girls unwittingly light the Black Flame Candle and conjure the Sanderson sisters once again. This time, the girls use the witches’ own book of spells against them in order to defeat them for good. Hocus Pocus 2 concludes with an end credits sequence that shows the Sanderson sisters in a music studio singing “The Witches are Back”, a twist on Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back”.
However, Hocus Pocus 2 originally had a different plan in place for the end credits. In a recent interview on the podcast The Art of Kindness 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:
“Opposed to them singing in the music studio, it was going to be them performing onstage in Purgatory. I was supposed to do a gold version of them in gold costumes. We started that process and then they said ‘no we’re not gonna do it, we don’t have the time or the money.’ So I didn’t get to go very far with it, but that would have been to end the movie… My concept was these very Vegas versions of their costumes in gold and sparkle… I was really looking forward to that. The audience was gonna be all in red and it was all different historical costumes, but all in red. So 15th century, 16th century, 17th… all these dead people in red in the booths and then the ladies in gold onstage.”
Would Hocus Pocus 2’s Original Ending Have Been Better?
After the Sanderson sisters vanish 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 to the story. It would have added a slightly darker spin knowing they may be left suspended in a world without spiritual resolution, while admittedly funny to see them where they belong and still having a great time. On the other hand, while the 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 cartoonishly evil characters. It’s a warm and peaceful ending that honors the legacy these Disney witches have held for many children over the past few decades.
Ending Hocus Pocus 2 with the Sanderson sisters in purgatory would have worked as an extra gag that also answers the narrative question of what happened to them. However, the music studio segment takes the Sandersons out of the story and out of time, lightening the tone while also 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 the audience use their imagination to consider wherever 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, mildly hinted at in the post-credits scene.
Source: The Art of Kindness with Robert Peterpaul
Read the full article here