Entertainment Weekly—which now that it’s not in print, shouldn’t it be Entertainment Daily?—has some new features on Hocus Pocus 2, including some first-look photos of new and returning cast members, and details about how the sequel will dive into the Sanderson sisters’ origins. The film will open in the 1600s and feature child versions of the Sandersons and Billy Butcherson. I’m not terribly curious about the Sandersons’ origins—they were executed in the Salem Witch Trials and cursed the town, we know—but this is a world that presupposes witchcraft involves making literal deals with the devil, so I guess it will be interesting to see how they make that work for the contemporary Disney audience. Especially since it feels like we’re moments away from half the contemporary Disney audience screaming “witch” at anyone different from them.
More importantly, though, EW brings us our first look at Doug Jones returning as undead erstwhile Sanderson lover Billy Butcherson. And he’ll talk this time! Jones accomplished a lot with Billy’s sewn-shut mouth the first time, but I will be interested to see how he plays the character when he can talk. Jones is SO good at acting through extensive prosthetics and makeup—he is the actor behind The Shape of Water’s amphibian man, Hellboy’s Abe Sapien, the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, and Saru on Star Trek: Discovery—but he is also just plain a good actor, and it’s nice when he gets to speak, even if it is still under a hundred pounds of makeup.
EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, EW also brings us Cobweb, the new black cat on the block. First of all, Cobweb is an EXCELLENT black cat name (it would also work for a gray cat). Naming black cats is hard, because the pressure to deliver something appropriately atmospheric is high, but you must understand, while all spooky cats are black cats, not all black cats are spooky cats. For instance, I intended to name my black cat “Pyewacket”, after the black cat in Bell, Book and Candle. But after having her at home just a couple days, I knew she isn’t a spooky cat, she’s a goofy cat, so she got the goofy-cat name Pancake.
But Cobweb is 100% spooky cat. Look at her, she is a diva, she is a superstar, give her an Oscar, and Emmy, and a Tony, although not a Grammy because unlike Hocus Pocus’s Binx, Cobweb doesn’t talk. First The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina silences Salem, and now Cobweb doesn’t talk in Hocus Pocus 2? What is this talking cat erasure? Are the 2000s too good for talking cats? I demand Hollywood bring back the talking cat at once! AT ONCE!
Serious PSA: With spooky season approaching, if you are open to pet adoption, please consider adopting a black cat. They are not “banned” from adoption during October or Halloween, there is no danger in adopting black cats during spooky season, but there IS a danger of black cats, which are often the last to be adopted because of the “unlucky” stigma surrounding them, being euthanized in shelters. Adopt a black cat, and you, too, can have a total chaos nightmare demon sharing your home.