What Happens to the Sanderson Sisters?


Editor’s Note: the following contains spoilers for Hocus Pocus 2.Salem, Massachusetts hasn’t changed all that much since Max (Omri Katz) and Dani Dennison (Torah Birch) accidentally resurrected the youth-seeking, child-sacrificing Sanderson Sisters in 1993. While the Dennisons have hopefully moved on to live happy witch-free lives, a new set of youths have found themselves swept up in the mayhem of Winnie (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy) after unwittingly playing into a 30-year plan to summon them from the grave once more. The Sanderson Sisters aren’t the only Hocus Pocus cast members that make a grand return in the legacy sequel. Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones) also rises from the dead, ever the puppet to Winifred’s schemes for immortality.

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Hocus pocus 2 introduces audiences to a new up-and-coming witch named Becca (Whitney Peak), who doesn’t discover her true potential until the final moments of the film. While it is teased that she might have some sort of powers—thanks to her snide classmates always calling her a witch—facing off against the Sanderson Sisters makes her latent powers snap into action, especially when her friends are in danger.

After Becca and her best friend Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) accidentally summon the Sanderson Sisters with the Black Flame candle on a full moon, thanks to Gilbert’s (Sam Richardson) years of planning to bring the sisters back after spotting them on Halloween night in 1993, a new target is painted on the back of their former friend Cassie Traske (Lilia Buckingham) who just so happens to be a descendant of the reverend that hung the sisters.

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What Happens to the Sanderson Sisters?

Thwarted once again by precocious meddling youths like Scooby-Doo baddies, the Sanderson Sisters find a worthy adversary in Becca who becomes the new keeper of Winnie’s beloved one-eyed book after offering it a choice that it readily accepted. In the early flashbacks, Hocus pocus 2 makes it clear that Winnie’s main motivator throughout her entire life was to keep the three of them together. While she might be cruel and hostile to Sarah and Mary, they are what she cherishes most of all, and she is so blinded by her singular focus to find eternal youth and immortality that she blows past all of the warnings telling her that a spell of that size will result in sacrificing the one thing they cherish most.

As the Black Flame flickers out, bringing an end to the Sanderson Sister’s night of terror, they think they’ve won at long last. The three of them stand there in the forest, alive and whole… until they aren’t. Becca tries to tell Winnie what she’s bargained, but it’s too late to stop what she has set in motion. In order to achieve immortality, she sacrificed her sisters, and in a teary moment, Sarah and Mary say their goodbyes before slowly turning into glimmering dust fluttering around a horrified Winnie. Fortunately, the spell can be undone. But rather than bring Sarah and Mary back, Winnie meets the same fate. As she slowly turns to colorful sparkles, she seems satisfied with the fact that she’s joining her sisters in whatever afterlife has been afforded to them.

What Happens to Billy Butcherson?

In hocus pocus, we learned that Billy Butcherson was Winnie’s ex-boyfriend (though Sarah vehemently claimed he was her boyfriend too) who met a tragic end when Winnie decided to poison him in the 17th century, before resurrecting him as a zombie 300 years later. Though, the sequel makes it clear that this wasn’t the truth. Not by any stretch.

At the beginning of the film, the Sanderson Sisters are shown as their younger selves in the 1600s, wreaking havoc on Salem, and, in Winnie’s case, actively avoiding being married off to the son of the reverend. After an angry crowd surrounds the Sanderson home, Winnie claims that she can’t marry Traske’s son because her soulmate is actually Billy Butcherson… who definitely didn’t get that memo. Instead, Billy claims their alleged romance was nothing more than a kiss shared in the cemetery.

In the 21st century, when Gilbert is tasked with raising Billy from the dead yet again, the zombified man makes it clear that he was never Winnie’s long-lost love. But that doesn’t stop her from using his head as the “head of a lover” that her spell requires. Despite all the trouble he’s been through both in the present film and thirty years ago, Billy gets to finally find peace in eternity. When Winnie’s spell is undone, the spell keeping Billy’s suspended corporeal animation is also undone, letting him turn into shimmering dust in the wind. After everything that happened, Gilbert vows to rewrite his ghost tours to tell the true story of Billy Butcherson and paint him as the tragic character he deserves to be after Winifred used him.

What Happens to Becca and Her Newfound Coven?

Becca and Cassie were definitely at odds with each other at the start of Hocus pocus 2, mostly thanks to her jerky jock boyfriend who mocked Becca for being a witch, but by the end of the film, the trio is thick as thieves again, having rekindled their friendship in the face of true terror. While Cassie and Izzy aren’t her sisters in the same way that Winnie had Sarah and Mary, it’s quite clear that the three girls have formed their own power-of-three coven. Especially when they’re shown walking off into the night doing the same little two-step that the Sanderson Sisters were known for.

Becca and her friends might not be lighting any Black Flame candles or trying for immortality anytime soon, but should Disney decide to release a third Hocus Pocus film, this trio will undoubtedly continue their magical exploration.

Hocus pocus 2 is now streaming on Disney+.

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