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The Sanderson Sisters Then and Now + The Latest Scoop On a Third ‘Hocus Pocus’ Movie!

Discover what these three wondrous witches have been up to!

We were enchanted and enthralled with the Sanderson Sisters in the fantasy comedy Hocus Pocus in 1993 (and its sequel, Hocus Pocus 2 in 2022) thanks to the talented lead trio who brought the story to life. Lucky for us, the film is now set for a third installment possibly in time for Halloween 2025 due to the overwhelming success of the franchise.

Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson, Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson in Disney's Hocus Pocus 2, 2022
Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson, Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson in Disney’s Hocus Pocus 2, 2022Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

The story of Hocus Pocus and the Sanderson Sisters

As the story goes, on October 31, 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts, Thackers Binx witnesses his little sister Emily being whisked away to the woods by the Sanderson sisters, three witches named Winifred, Sarah and Mary. Unable to save his sister, her life force is drained, making the witches young again. Not wanting to leave any witnesses to their crime, the witches turn Binx into a black cat, cursed to live forever with his guilt over not saving Emily. 

Eventually, through a series of gossipy townsfolk, the sisters are arrested and hanged in the town square. Disturbed by her impending death, Winifred casts a curse that will resurrect the sisters during a full moon on All Hallows’ Eve, only if a virgin lights the black flame candle. Binx decides to guard the cottage that houses the black candle so the witches can never return.

Flash forward three centuries — Max Dennison and his sister Dani meet up with classmate Allison and make their way into the former Sanderson cottage, and — you guessed it! — the Sanderson Sisters are alive and well again, due to Max resurrecting the witches by accident.

The Sanderson Sisters then and now

Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are the scheming, spirited sisters who first brought the Hocus Pocus world to life in 1993. And lucky for us, the Sanderson Sisters are on board for another installment. Get to know the talented ladies that make up the Hocus Pocus cast!

Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson

Bette Midler in 1993 and 2023
1993 / 2023Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images ; Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Midler led the Hocus Pocus cast as Winifred Sanderson, and boy did she do it well! “If there was a third one, of course I’d sign on, but I don’t know how,” Bette Midler told Entertainment Weekly. “I can’t imagine what the story would be, but I love Winifred, Sarah, Mary, and our relationship. It’s good for women. We stick together through hell and high water, but we do cause mayhem, and not many women cause that much mayhem!”

Midler has always been a proponent for strong female relationships. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, The Divine Miss M, as she’s sometimes called, has over five decades in the entertainment field, having received numerous accolades, including four Golden Globes, three Grammy Awards, three Primetime Emmys, two Tony Awards and a Kennedy Center Honor. 

Midler began her career in off-Broadway and then segued to Broadway in the late 1960s. With her tone and perfect pitch, Midler began singing in the New York City Continental Baths, a local gay bathhouse, with Barry Manilow as her pianist. Since her prominence in 1970, she has released 14 studio albums as a solo artist.

She made her acting debut with The Rose in 1979, bringing home the Golden Globe for a movie based on Janis Joplin’s troubled life. Midler went on to star in numerous films such as Beaches, The First Wives Club and The Addams Family. The hit Beaches not only was a success for her acting talent, but the accompanying soundtrack remains Midler’s all-time best seller, which featured her biggest hit, Wind Beneath My Wings. At the 2014 Academy Awards, Midler performed her big hit during the “in memoriam” tribute.

More recently, Midler portrayed Bella Abzug in the 2020 biographical film, The Glorias, and also starred in the second season of The Politician the same year. This year, she starred in Sitting In Bars With Cake. (Read about our favorite Bette Midler movies.)

Midler is very active on the charity scene, having been an early sponsor of Adopt-a-Highway in Burbank, California. The project was so popular that she carried the idea to the east coast, adopting a section of the Long Island Expressway. 

Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson

Kathy Najimy in 1993 and 2023
1993 / 2023Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc ; Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Born in San Diego, California, Kathy Najimy was first nationally known for her feminist play The Kathy and Mo Show that she wrote and performed with Mo Gaffney. On film, she is best known for her roles in Soapdish (1991), Sister Act and its sequel, and later Hocus Pocus and its sequel. She has played everything from Mae West on Broadway’s Dirty Blonde to the evil queen in Disney’s Descendants

Off camera, Najimy is an activist and frequently travels the country speaking on issues of equal rights, safety and self-esteem for women and girls, domestic violence, body image and civil rights.

Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson

Sarah Jessica Parker in 1993 and 2023
1993 / 2023Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images ; Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Probably best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, for which she brought home numerous awards, Sarah Jessica Parker later reprised the role in the films as well as the revival series And Just Like That from 2021 to the present day. Parker, born in Nelsonville, Ohio, made her Broadway debut at the age of 11 in The Innocents before going on to star in the title role of Broadway’s Annie in 1979. 

As a young girl, Parker attended the School of American Ballet and the School for Creative and Performing Arts. “The arts were a big part of my childhood. We went to the theatre and opera a lot as a family,” she told Female First. “We weren’t wealthy, but it was at a time when the arts were publicly funded and there were free tickets available. For someone like myself who wasn’t that academically inclined, it was a great escape.” 

Film roles became plentiful in the 80s and 90s: L.A. Story, Honeymoon in Vegas, Ed Wood, Miami Rhapsody and then came Hocus Pocus. She teamed up with Hocus co-star Bette Midler in The First Wives Club. Clearly though, it was Sex and The City that made Parker, aka Carrie Bradshaw, a household name. She brought home two Emmys, four Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild Awards for this role. 

In 2016, Parker executive produced and starred as Frances Dufresnen in Divorce on HBO, about a married woman who has an affair which precipitates her divorce. “I like that Frances is very real to me,” she told IndieWire. “She’s both honorable and messy. She’s both exacting and untethered, but a very real person.” 

More recently, Parker co-starred with husband Matthew Broderick in the revival of Plaza Suite. Off camera, Parker took on the fashion industry with various endorsements and is also running her own production company, Pretty Matches. She also works on behalf of UNICEF. 

What we know about Hocus Pocus 3

While the Hocus Pocus 3 cast hasn’t been confirmed as of this writing, it’s looking fairly likely that the Sanderson Sisters will be back. Midler, Najimy and Parker have all expressed interest in doing Hocus Pocus 3. When speaking on the Hocus Pocus 3 possibility, Midler stated she would sign on but questioned where the story could go. Parker shared a similar sentiment: “Of course I’d be happy to have a conversation [for a third film].” It’s hoped that the third Hocus Pocus installment will be released in time for Halloween 2025.

For more on actresses we love:

Jamie Lee Curtis Movies: A Look Back At the Scream Queen’s Most Memorable Roles

Michelle Pfeiffer Young: A Look Back Through Her Glamorous Hollywood Evolution

Holly Hunter: From Southern Sweetheart to Hollywood Superstar — Where Is She Now?

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