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Hocus Pocus 2's Doug Jones Reveals The Secret Of Billy's Enduring Popularity

Everyone's favorite trio of witches is returning for "Hocus Pocus 2." The highly-anticipated sequel features the return of Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson sisters, and Doug Jones returns as their lovable zombie Billy Butcherson. 

"Hocus Pocus 2" focuses on a new generation of teenagers who have to stop the Sanderson sisters after they return to present-day Salem, 29 years after the events of the first movie. Disney released the original "Hocus Pocus" in theaters in 1993. The first film was initially met with a flurry of negative reviews, sitting at a rotten 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics like Roger Ebert called it "unpleasant." Over the years, "Hocus Pocus" became a cult classic, thanks to annual reruns on Disney Channel and Freeform, creating the demand for a sequel (via Yahoo).

One of the best aspects of a cult classic getting a sequel thirty years later is feeling the nostalgia that comes with seeing the iconic characters again. Although original characters like Max and Dani Dennison and Binx the talking cat aren't returning, "Hocus Pocus 2" will feature the return of fan-favorite zombie Billy Butcherson

Looper recently attended the Disney press conference for "Hocus Pocus 2," where Doug Jones revealed why Billy remains such a popular character.

Billy Butcherson is more than just your typical scary zombie

In "Hocus Pocus," Billy Butcherson was Winnie's (Bette Midler) lover who cheated on her with Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker). When she finds out, Winnie kills Billy by poisoning him and sewing his mouth shut. When Max accidentally resurrects the Sanderson sisters, they reanimate Billy's corpse to hunt down the children. Billy gets his revenge during the film's climax, which sees him side with the children against the witches. He helps the kids defeat the Sanderson sisters before he returns to his grave to sleep. 

At the press event, when asked what it is about Billy Butcherson that makes him so loved, Doug Jones replied, "I was a zombie before zombies were cool, and I wasn't a brain-eating zombie ... I think goofy, floppy, fun, and he kind of matches the energy of the sisters."

Jones' statement is very spot on, especially in today's entertainment industry which has just recently slowed down on developing new zombie-centered projects. In the 30 years between the release of "Hocus Pocus 2" and its original, the entertainment industry went through a long zombie phase. The last decade was dominated by your typical horror-focused brain-eating zombies, like "The Walking Dead," "Zombieland," and "World War Z." "Hocus Pocus 2" continues to go against that trend, and that's what Jones says makes Billy popular. 

Disney is keeping plot details under wraps, but fans of Jones' character will get a better look at Billy's origins in "Hocus Pocus 2." Director Anne Fletcher told Entertainment Weekly, "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."