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Hocus Pocus 2 will explain the Sanderson Sisters' origins as children in the 1600s

Sistaaahs, gather 'round: Hocus Pocus 2 will tell a campfire tale of how the Sanderson Sisters rose to witchy prominence in its opening sequence.

Director Anne Fletcher exclusively tells EW that the film begins with a flashback to 1600s New England, where child actors Taylor Henderson, Juju Journey Brener, and Nina Kitchen will portray younger versions of Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy) — with a young Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) also making an appearance years before becoming adult Winifred's lover.

"The opening sequence of the movie, we get some history of our witches and Billy. We get a little kiss — pardon the pun — of the Billy aspect of it and the world that they lived in and what happened to the witches. I always missed that in the first one. Like, what are the witches the way they are?" Fletcher says. "I did have that question, and the script came, and I loved the opening 1600s. I pushed that a little bit more, because I really wanted to point at, ever so slightly.... the idea that the 1600s and the now are the same. There's no difference. I just want to poke at the irony of it. But, in the joy of the film you get to see the young version of them and have a great time and understand the what and why of what happened to them."

Hocus Pocus 2
Hocus Pocus 2

Matt Kennedy/Disney+ Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker return in 'Hocus Pocus 2'

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She promises "some wonderful surprises in the mythology" of the trio, confirming that "they're not witches in the beginning," but that their origin story intertwines with that of the new threesome of modern-day teens (Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, and Lilia Buckingham) who resurrect the Sanderson Sisters in contemporary Salem.

"[We] give each girl not only the same color in the vein of our witches — Becca [Peak] being Winnie, Izzy [Escobedo] being Mary, and Cassie [Buckinham] being Sarah — but their hairstyles in a way are similar. It's a modern-day twist on it," Fletcher finishes. "It's the intention of playing into that. At the end of the day, the movie is about sisterhood, it's about sticking together through thick and thin, and being there for one another."

Doug Jones as Billy Butcherson in HOCUS POCUS 2
Doug Jones as Billy Butcherson in HOCUS POCUS 2

Matt Kennedy/Disney+ Doug Jones returns as Billy Butcherson in 'Hocus Pocus 2'

Actors who won't be there — at least physically — for the Hocus Pocus sequel are OG actors Omri Katz, Vinessa Shaw, Thora Birch, Larry Bagby, Tobias Jelinek, and Jason Marsden, as EW previously confirmed that nearly all of the youngsters who appeared in the first film won't reprise their roles in Hocus Pocus 2. Other newcomers to the series this time around include Sam Richardson, Tony Hale, Hannah Waddingham, and RuPaul's Drag Race alums Kahmora Hall, Ginger Minj, and Kornbread "The Snack" Jeté.

The new film follows the aforementioned modern-day teenagers as they attempt to thwart the witches' resurgence in Salem nearly 30 years after Max (Katz), Allison (Shaw), and Dani (Birch) lit the Black Flame Candle and brought the Sanderson Sisters back to Earth for a reign of terror on Halloween night.

Hocus Pocus 2 premieres Sept. 30 on Disney+.

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