Warning: Major Spoilers for Hocus Pocus 2 below!Hocus Pocus 2 saw the return of the sinister Sanderson sisters; however, Hocus Pocus 3‘s Sanderson Sisters can be good witches and heroes. It was around the release of Hocus Pocus’ sequel that talk of a trilogy began. Director Anne Fletcher said in an interview with SFX Magazine that she “definitely kept it wide open for any sequel.” Meanwhile, star Whitney Peak said “They can always come back,” (via EW) suggesting a Sanderson sister reunion and that it’d be the sole reason for another Hocus Pocus film.
Hocus Pocus 2’s origin story changed how people perceived the typically devious Sanderson sisters. Meanwhile, the ending of Hocus Pocus’ sequel attempted to give the witches and Winifred’s book sympathetic attributes. It’s obvious the second outing wanted to fix the Sanderson sisters and make them more anti-heroes than villains, and with Hocus Pocus 3 optioned, it would make sense if the series wanted to push it further and make them fight on the side of good. However, after spending two movies as villains, it would take a villain more dangerous than all three Sanderson sisters combined to bring out their heroic qualities.
The Sympathetic Sanderson Sisters In Hocus Pocus 2
Hocus Pocus 2’s flashbacks to the Sandersons’ childhood attempted to paint them in a more sympathetic light. The opening to Hocus Pocus 2 showed how Winifred became exiled after she refused to accept the church’s authority, rejected an arranged marriage, and ran away with her sisters, fearing separation from them almost as much as death. The sequel explained much of Winifred’s motivations came from the initial unfair persecution of the young Sanderson sisters. Then, in Hocus Pocus 2’s finale, the film attempted to show the Sandersons and Winifred’s book with redeeming qualities. Hocus Pocus 2 gave Winifred an emotional scene highlighting how much she loved her siblings. Additionally, the previously unholy grimoire from Hocus Pocus proved to have a conscience by joining the heroes. The Sanderson-centered sequel wanted to showcase more noble qualities and set up their return as heroes in Hocus Pocus 3, using their sisterly bond and magic to fight a greater evil.
Who Could Hocus Pocus 3’s Villain Be?
Usually, for a redemption arc to take place or for antagonists to fight alongside their former enemies, they need a grander threat to overcome. Hocus Pocus 3 faces the challenge of coming up with a more wicked enemy than the cannibalistic coven. Already, Hocus Pocus 2 established there are multiple black flame candles and more witches than the Sandersons. It wouldn’t be hard for someone to resurrect Hocus Pocus 2’s Witch Mother with a plot to conquer Salem for the world’s witches. Also, Satan, the witches’ “master,” may be a potential villain since the Hocus Pocus novel described the coven’s relationship with the Devil as distant and strained. Additionally, considering ghosts and the undead exist in the world of Hocus Pocus, it’s possible for Winifred’s nemesis, Reverend Traske, would return to wipe out all witches, both bad and good. Regardless, with evils more powerful than any of Hocus Pocus’ heroes, it’d make sense for them to team up with experienced practitioners like Winifred, Sarah, and Mary.
As odd as it sounds, it’s not unheard of for villain-hero team-ups to happen in trilogy films. Rocky III had Apollo Creed assisting the title character, Return of the Jedi had Darth Vader fighting alongside Luke Skywalker, and Goldmember saw Dr. Evil joining forces with Austin Powers. Hocus Pocus 2 showed compassion for the three Sanderson sisters, but Hocus Pocus 3 will have a tall order to fill by shaking things up and making them heroes. However, the bad guys don’t always play fair, and sometimes it takes a wicked trio of witches to save the day.