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Why Gilbert From Hocus Pocus 2 Looks So Familiar

As proven by the cult following that "Hocus Pocus" has gained over the years, love of the Sanderson Sisters has died no more than the sisters themselves. Indeed, it appears that Winifred, Mary, and Sarah (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker) have evaded the not-so-final dusting they endured in 1993 and are back thanks to some carefully placed product placement (we're not kidding). 

But which soul would be so sneaky as to revive Salem's most feared spell-casters? Who would deem it such a sound idea to have the child-snatchers that were hanged, revived, and reverted to specks in the atmosphere back, causing anarchy on a perfectly good Halloween? 

Why, Gilbert the Great, that's who. The current owner of the magic shop that was once home to the terrible trio has an interesting connection with Salem's most infamous inhabitants that he's hoping to reignite. While he's not necessarily the villain of the piece (the Sisters still own that title), the actor that plays Gerald has certainly played against some notable ones for the past few years, and even ended up playing one himself.

Sam Richardson found Werewolves Within

Sam Richardson is the man behind Gilbert the Great. And though video game adaptations have only started leveling up, Richardson's remarkable who-bit-it film (as opposed to, you know, whodunit), "Werewolves Within," was an exception to the rule. 

Released in 2021, the film followed a group of people trapped in a snowstorm in Vermont, all desperate to get home. Things take a turn for the bloody, though, after the group gets brutally picked off one by one, leaving Forest ranger Finn Wheeler (Richardson) to reach a shocking conclusion. These people are being hunted by a bloodthirsty werewolf hiding in plain sight. Woof!

Earning an impressive 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, it marked a unique (albeit underrated) comedy horror with Richardson leading the charge, and was the film was noted for adding an exciting spin on the old-school murder mystery format. As for Richardson, he was drawn to the project because it played with the character conventions of the film's hero. Speaking to Inverse, Richardson broke down his good-hearted hero, saying, "There are so many different layers and levels and complexities of being nice. What is the price of being nice? That's the thing I felt this character and this movie deals with." 

That and ... well, a werewolf.

Richardson signed up to fight aliens in The Tomorrow War

Speaking of video games coming to life...

"The Tomorrow War" certainly felt like it was one, before being turned into Amazon Video's time and space invading boom-fest. Also released in 2021, the film saw Chris Pratt as an ex-marine joining a fight in the future that saw humanity on the verge of extinction thanks to some multi-tendrilled aliens. Naturally, with such world-shattering altercations going down, a rag-tag team of heroes needs to be assembled, which thankfully includes Sam Richardson as an initially timid soldier wildly out of his depth.

Initially set for cinema release until the pandemic hit, the film was released on the same date as "Werewolves Within." Richardson accepted the task of being at the center of this box-office-sized war movie. Talking to Collider about the film, he explained that his character Charlie was reworked from a funny side character into, in many ways, the heart of the film. "He became a little bit of a bigger role and I think you sort of need him for that. Not only is he the comedy, he's also a little bit truly what most people would be in that world."

The notable good guy went bad for his appearance in Ted Lasso

In a show that has become a televisual hug carrying the warmth of a freshly pressed football (yeah, we said it) jersey, it felt kind of weird to have Sam Richardson rock the boat of "Ted Lasso" as the second season's big bad. While Jason Sudeikis' sweet manager was working on the Greyhounds, Richardson dropped in by helicopter as Ghanian billionaire Edwin Akufo, who had his eye on one of the team's star players, Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh). Thankfully, no transfer ever came to pass, but that didn't stop audiences from growing to loathe this potential buyer of one of AFC Richmond's best men.

For Richardson, it marked a welcome change of pace for the characters he'd played in the past. The "nice guy" element was a veneer of sorts here, slipping away the more Akufo tried to dig his claws into Obisanya and his plans for the future. Speaking to Variety about the role and the enjoyment of taking those familiar with him on an unexpected ride. "And then they get that turn, that twist, I think, hit even harder if you knew me from other things," he explained. "It was really fun to get to play, just go really dark."

Richardson turned up at The Afterparty and stole the whole show

Not content with appearing in just one series set on Apple TV+, Sam Richardson took the lead in the fun and fantastically told murder mystery comedy series "The Afterparty" from Chris Miller, who co-wrote and directed the "Jump Street" movies with Phil Lord, along with "The Lego Movie." 

This time, Lord was going it alone, though thankfully backed by an impressive cast (led by Richardson) in a series that depicted a single night from various perspectives. Initially starting as a high school reunion, one of its attendees is brutally murdered at the aforementioned afterparty, leading an escape room designer to try and figure out who the real killer is. Debuting in 2022, the show was met with rave reviews, earning an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes

While it might have been his second go at cracking a case within the confines of a home (though with less of a lupine element), it was something that Richardson was happy to be involved in. Speaking to Uproxx about the show, Richardson compared himself to a cat figuring out a toy to get the treats, only, in this case, it was clues to a brutal murder that saw someone falling off a cliff. "It was incredible to be a part of one like this, and one that's so unique and just a new take on that genre. I'm over the moon."