Small Details You May Have Missed In Hocus Pocus 2

This post contains spoilers for "Hocus Pocus 2."

One of the great things about a cult classic giving fans a sequel 29 years later is all of the Easter eggs, cameos, and small details that die-hard audiences will get to discover. Naturally, the classic Sanderson sisters' moments remained in "Hocus Pocus 2." Viewers will recognize Kathy Najimi's barks (and farts), the calming circles, and of course, unorthodox witch transportation devices (with the addition of two delightfully sentient Roombas this time).

Back in 1993 when the original "Hocus Pocus" premiered, in July for some odd reason, critics largely panned the film, and box office sales were mediocre at best; a disappointing showing for a film that sported such an impressive cast. However, the Disney channel started showing the film each year for Halloween, and once Disney took over ABC, it became a part of the 13 Nights of Halloween lineup. Suddenly, executives noticed that viewership would always increase during "Hocus Pocus" viewings, and a cult classic was born.

Naturally, the world needed a sequel. "Hocus Pocus 2," which arrived on Disney Plus on September 30th, brings the Sanderson sisters back, brought to life a second time by young witch Becca (Whitney Peak), and her friends Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham). This 2022 reboot slots neatly into more modern themes, emphasizing the importance of sisterhood and downplaying the Sanderson sisters' earlier obsession with youthful beauty. Director Anne Fletcher seems to have made a point of allowing all three original actresses, Midler, Parker, and Najimy, to stay as they are; there's no careful editing or CGI enhancements to make the women appear younger.

Yet, even the most eagle-eyed fans might have missed a few of the excellent details present in "Hocus Pocus 2." Warning, the following article contains spoilers and a (slightly) embarrassing obsession with all things "Hocus Pocus."

Tony Hale's Puritan judgment in the opening scene

Tony Hale plays two roles in "Hocus Pocus 2": the evil, patriarchal Reverend Traske in the early days of Salem's history, and the sweet, adoring father, Mayor Traske in modern-day Salem. But it's in our first introduction to Reverend Traske that Tony Hale gives the audience a hilarious, if subtle, moment of physical comedy. As the reverend advances toward young Winnifred (brilliantly played by Taylor Henderson), he glances down at a Puritan woman at the front of the crowd covering her cleavage with her hand. "Oh, ugh," Hale says, giving the impression of having been both mortally offended and embarrassed. It's a hilarious moment that also grounds the viewer in late 1600s Salem society.

Comedy fans should recognize Emmy-award-winning Tony Hale from "Arrested Development" and "Veep." Hale was actually invited to play the double role in "Hocus Pocus," leading us to believe that the character might have been written for him. Either way, Tony Hale is famously brilliant at unscripted physical comedy and turning awkward moments into hilarious scenes; perhaps the above moment was an added comedy bit from Hale?

Witch burning is a photo opportunity

The Salem of "Hocus Pocus 2" is a town just as obsessed with witchcraft and Halloween as it was in the original film. However, this time, viewers are also treated to the Salem Halloween festival, featuring the 'famous' Sandy's Candy Cauldron and an apple-bobbing booth that doubles as a drowning pool. Salem, in fact, is so obsessed with its heritage, that it leans into its witch-burning history a little too hard sometimes, as shown by the inappropriate photo opportunity happening in the background.

As Becca (Peak) and Izzy (Escobedo) head for the Magic Shop after school, Mayor Traske (Hale) stops them to wish Becca a happy birthday. As they chat, a woman dressed as a witch can be seen behind them. The odd thing about the scene? She's tied to a tree with a pyre built underneath her, happily posing for photos while a man dressed as a Puritan holds the camera. It's a small moment barely visible in the background and easy to miss since Tony Hale is being hilarious on camera at that exact moment. Hopefully, fans didn't miss the awkwardly hilarious moment happening behind the two young ladies.

Hocus Pocus 2 is obsessed with Puritans

"Hocus Pocus 2" cleverly weaves Salem's history in with the modern day, creating a running gag throughout the whole length of the film. Audiences might have noticed the film's large number of Puritan references, recalling the movie's opening shots when Reverend Traske banishes young Winnifred. The first  Puritan reference can be seen on Mike, Cassie's boyfriend (played by Froy Gutierrez), and the occasional "village idiot." At Cassie's Halloween party Mike's football uniform proudly displays the name "Puritans" on his chest.

But that's not at all. The Sanderson sisters stumble on a look-alike contest (which they promptly lose), decided by a group of judges dressed as Puritans. It's a clever inside joke that deftly plays off the double-meaning of a court of men and women literally judging groups of people dressed as witches.

The original Halloween costumes are back

The "Hocus Pocus" costume department has always been an integral part of the film's charm, especially since building an entire town full of Halloween celebrants and trick-or-treaters requires a lot of creativity. The original "Hocus Pocus" film used authentic costumes from other Disney movies, including "Tron." Naturally, the "Hocus Pocus 2" costume department was equally clever and has given audiences the chance to find several cheeky call-backs to the original film.

In "Hocus Pocus 2" look for the return of Madonna stomping away in the street during the musical dance number. This Salem townswoman is wearing the same Madonna costume Jenny Dennison, Max's mom (Stephanie Faracy) wears in the original film. To be fair, the Madonna costume became an oddly iconic part of "Hocus Pocus," particularly with its memorable pointed bra. Fans might also have seen that the Supremes are back. In the original film, the trio of women wearing sparkly red dresses can be seen in the front row, right below the stage, becoming bewitched along with the rest of the crowd. In "Hocus Pocus 2," the Supremes are back, all three dancing through town in the spellbound flash mob.

The devil and his wife are back

One of the most classic scenes in the original "Hocus Pocus" is when the Sanderson sisters encounter the flirtatious devil, his disappointed wife, and their demonic, yappy little dog. Now, back in 1993, the devil was played by the legendary Garry Marshall (a famous writer, actor, director, and producer) in an uncredited cameo. His wife, who the sisters mistake for Medusa due to the curlers in her hair, was played by his real-life sister and actress, Penny Marshall.

Though both stars are sadly deceased, the two lovable oddball characters are back in "Hocus Pocus 2" for those who watch closely. While searching for Mayor Traske, Winnifred (Bette Midler) flies past the window of a house where two men are watching that scene on TV. Later, we see two people dressed in costume as the devil and his wife (hair rollers and all) standing behind Mayor Traske in line for one of the great Sandy's caramel apples. Tony Hale asks them to hold his place in line when he runs off to stop Cassie's party, only to return to them happily munching away on caramel apples on a bench. Devilish behavior indeed.

There are some major drag queen cameos

Fans of "RuPaul's Drag Race" should have noticed some familiar faces on screen during "Hocus Pocus 2," and honestly, who better to face off against the three original witches? The Sanderson sisters crash a Halloween look-alike competition for themselves, coming face to face with Ginger Minj (dressed as Winnifred), Kahmora Hall (playing Sarah), and Kornbread (as Mary). As a notorious drama queen, Winnifred is quick to banter with the other Winnifred (Minj), who, of course, is giving audiences some of the best 'Sanderson looks' of the competition.

Anne Fletcher created for Ginger Minj, personally inviting her to join the cast. In an interview with TooFab, Minj said that watching the three witches flying around during filming caused her to tear up, "all three of them just take off flying over our heads and that was the moment where I just had tears streaming down my face... 9-year-old me is living their best life." However, the appreciation was mutual; Bette Midler gave Ginger Minj the thumbs up for her costume and encouraged Ginger Minj to keep going with the character. Look for Ginger Minj dressed as Winnifred during her new Hulu Halloween variety show special, premiering on Saturday, October 1st.

Billy Butcherson is back

Only four of the original "Hocus Pocus" actors returned for the second film: Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and the great Doug Jones. That's right, Billy Butcherson, the gentle zombie and ex-lover, is back for "Hocus Pocus 2." In the film's opening scenes, Winnifred is told that she'll be marrying John Pritchett (she declines, to their mutual satisfaction). It's then that young Winnifred informs the whole town that Billy Butcherson is her soulmate, especially since they shared that kiss in the graveyard. Scandalous.

And now, Billy Butcherson is resurrected yet again in service to the Sanderson sisters. However, this time, Billy wants the world to know that it was "only one kiss," not a fully committed relationship — a running gag that lasts throughout the film. How did the actor manage to look exactly the same almost 30 years later? The costume department created an identical prosthetic for his face and used the actual wig from the original film.

On the subject of original "Hocus Pocus" actors, Thora Birch, (Dani Dennison) was asked to return for "Hocus Pocus 2," but scheduling conflicts with Netflix's new "Wednesday" series prevented it.

An era-appropriate insult

The original "Hocus Pocus" is filled with comedic asides, most of which have helped to make the enduring film a cult classic. "Hocus Pocus 2" is no different and hilariously relies on fan-favorite jokey asides to carry on the laughs. On seeing his not-so-beloved Winnifred again (she did poison him and sewed his mouth shut), Billy calls her a "withering hag." Now, fans of the first film should recognize this insult as Thackery Binx (Sean Murray) makes his last stand in front of the sisters by shouting, "you hag!" Causing the great Winnifred Sanderson to reply, "Sisters, did you hear what he called you?" And so, they promptly turn him into a cat, as you do.

However, like many misunderstood women, Winnifred is happy to reclaim the slur shouting "hag tracks" when the sisters search the high school for Max, Dani, and Allison. The insult was a clever inclusion from the writing team since "hag" would have been a well-known term at the time. In fact, the titular character in Shakespeare's play "Richard III" actually uses the insult "withered hag." Perhaps that's where Billy learned it?

The mysterious 'mother' is finally revealed

The original "Hocus Pocus" makes it clear that the Sanderson sisters are servants of Satan, a fact made clear when they call an old man in a devil costume "master." Allison even tells Max and Dani that their beloved book was given to them by the "devil himself." However, "Hocus Pocus 2" did a bit of retconning with the introduction of an evil female mentor (Hannah Waddingham) who gives them the book instead. Hopefully, a few eagle-eyed viewers noticed the excellent framing in this shot when the book's eye and the eye on her bodice are perfectly aligned. "Magic has a way of reuniting things that need to be together," this new Mother Witch says to them, foreshadowing the film's ending and hinting at one of the central themes. Just as the film ends with Becca, Cassie, and Izzy reuniting, Winnifred is eventually reunited with her sisters, realizing the importance of sisterhood.

Die-hard audiences of the original "Hocus Pocus" should know that the mother isn't some random character thoughtlessly added into the new film. The Sanderson sisters mention their "mother" several times in the 1993 movie, once in a calming circle reminiscing about "mother's scorpion pie" and later when they salute the long-lost mother with their brooms.

But even more than that, the filmmaker's opening shot follows a Red-Winged Blackbird as it flies through the town of Salem; later, that bird transforms into their witch mother. The use of this particular bird feels like a deliberate choice since Red-Winged Blackbirds are symbolic of change, and awakening, and are seen as guardian spirits.

The in-jokes are perfect

In moments that sometimes feel unscripted, much of "Hocus Pocus 2" features silly jokes, dramatic facial expressions, and hilarious side conversations. For instance, Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) has mixed feelings about bullying the books into submission, and Kathy Najimy affectionately calls her sentient Roombas "the girls." The best conversation by far, a conversation that viewers probably missed because it's a bit too quiet, happens outside of a well-lit Walgreens pharmacy.

Winnifred exclaims, upon seeing its bright glow, "'Tis powerful indeed. Looked, observe sisters, it glows from within with a sickening light." Izzy responds, "Yeah, that's fluorescence for you."

Leading Winnifred to one of the best side exchanges in the film, saying, "Fluorescence, I think we knew her." The sisters start reminiscing about the long-gone Fluorescence, riffing off each other in a way that hints at the actors' long-standing friendship. Audiences who listen carefully on their next rewatch will learn a few facts about the "fiery" Fluorescence.

The magic shop is full of Easter eggs

In modern-day Salem, the Sanderson sisters' spooky old house has been turned into a delightful magic shop owned by Gilbert, played by Sam Richardson. Naturally, this being a Disney film, viewers should pay close attention to the decorations shown in the background — Disney crews are the best at meaningful details. For instance, fans of Disney's classic Haunted Mansion ride should recognize the skull of the "hat box ghost" standing out from a group of skulls in one corner. Even the wallpaper follows the skeleton theme set up in the opening song with a tiny skull pattern covering the wallpaper (we may or may not be googling where to buy this wallpaper for ourselves).

And while most audiences were aware that the Sanderson sisters would be returning for "Hocus Pocus 2," there's a Houdini poster hanging on the wall asking the question "Do spirits return?"

That's not all though; sharp-eyed viewers might have seen the words "Salem Apothecary" written on the corner above the counter, a clever Easter egg since the Sanderson sisters talk about their father's apothecary several times during the film. Of course, no fan of the show is complete without a few stuffed toys, so of course, there's a basket of plush, yarn-haired Sanderson sister dolls on the counter (look for Mary's distinctive hairstyle to find them). And, if that's not enough, check out the stuffed Binx (in cat form) hiding in the "Cauldron of Cats."

Book has some firm opinions

No one would argue that Book had an important role in the first "Hocus Pocus." The spellbook, which was apparently "bound in human skin," became an iconic part of the "Hocus Pocus" mythology and aesthetic. However, it's in "Hocus Pocus 2" that Book finally gets a chance to shine, showing off its personality, demonstrating its opinions, and even making choices about who's going to be its next witch.

Fans may have noticed that when Book is hiding from Becca, amongst the other non-sentient spellbooks, it physically sweats. A clever moment for audiences since now we know–it is bound in human skin. There's also a hilarious reference to "Star Trek" when Book refuses to open onto the correct page for the "Magici Maxima" spell. In a rage, Winnifred shouts "Resistance is Futile" at Book, an excellent inside joke since Doug Jones, the actor, and contortionist who plays Billie Butcherson, stars as Saru in "Star Trek: Discovery."

Watch until after the credits

Movie-goers should know this one already — stay until after the credits. "Hocus Pocus 2" is no different from any other superhero film, Muppet movie, or animated film in modern history there's always something to see after the credits role. The original "Hocus Pocus" shows Max and Dani's parents, Jenny and Dave, emerging from the town hall a little worse for wear after their night dancing.

In "Hocus Pocus 2" fans are treated to the possibility of yet another film. Cobweb, Gilbert's black cat, jumps onto a shelf in the back storeroom, nosing among the boxes. Naturally, audiences can see that one of the boxes is labeled "BF #2 Candle." Could it be that audiences are getting a third "Hocus Pocus?" Let's hope so!