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Hocus Pocus 2’s Witch Origins Changes How You See The Sanderson Sisters

Hocus Pocus 2s prologue explored the origins of the Sanderson sisters, and it changed how the public saw the witches. In 1993’s Hocus PocusWinifred, Mary and Sarah Sanderson became some of Disney’s most iconic characters. However, Hocus pocus 2 revealed more about the Sanderson coven and Salem’s dark history that left out the legends of the original film.


Just like the original movie, Hocus pocus 2 begins in 17th-century Salem, but in this case, Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson were shown long before their confrontation with Thackery Binx. In the sequel, it is revealed that on Winifred Sanderson’s 16th birthday, the town chaplain, Reverend Traske, staged an arranged marriage that the young witch loathed. Winifred rejected the authority of the Church, admitting that acts they considered profane (including kissing Billy Butcherson’s mouth) faced exile from Salem when the city took her sisters away from her. The three witches fled Traske and met their magical mentor and became the youth-stealing monsters of the myth.

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Related: Hocus Pocus 2 Cast & Character Guide

Initially viewed as pure evil and with more selfish agendas, Hocus pocus 2 gives the Sandersons a more sympathetic motive. While not necessarily innocent, the Hocus Pocus sequel provides insight to see where they came from and that their plot against the people of Salem wasn’t just about vanity or demon worship; it was about injustice. Hocus pocus 2 wanted his audience to see the Sanderson sisters in a different way, not just as villains, but as antiheroes.

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Why The Sanderson Sisters Wanted To Take Over Salem In Hocus Pocus

It was originally suggested that the Sanderson sisters sought revenge after being hanged for witchcraft in Hocus Pocus. The sequel reveals that witches always had a problem with the townspeople that didn’t start and end with stealing their children. Upon meeting the Witch Mother in the wilderness, it is explained that Salem was a place of strength for practitioners and “run by fools.” The Sandersons’ mentor makes it clear; that she wants to take the land for the witches and its magical properties. The Sanderson sisters wanted to take over Salem to become all-powerful, take revenge on the people who persecuted them and make sure no one could separate them. Hocus pocus 2 brought up the concept of retaliation numerous times, and it became a joke about how long Winifred could hold a grudge. However, the film’s finale also revealed how much the eldest Sanderson sister cared about the other witches, and their plans were as much about them as they were about Traske.

In Hocus pocus 2The Sanderson sisters were not benevolent, but their motives were sympathetic. Winifred, Sarah and Mary were tragically expelled and persecuted. Though he’s still done some twisted things related to the dark arts, Hocus Pocus sequel showed the Sandersons as a caring family who showed love in their own bizarre ways. In the finale, though not redeemed, Winifred was given a touching moment when she realized that her quest for revenge and power came with a price she was never willing to pay, the sacrifice of her two sisters. Hocus pocus 2 never intended for the Sandersons to be heroes or villains; they are antiheroes. People who the public likes to hate, but also pity them.

Mary, Sarah and Winifred are still the wonderfully evil witches that the public has always loved, but not without their reasons for their actions. The sequel’s origin story recontextualizes the characters of Hocus Pocus and did so in a way that put them in a new light. Through the three Sanderson sisters, Hocus pocus 2 showed that witchcraft is neither good nor bad, but rather comes down to a wizard’s intent and the prices they are willing to pay.

Next: Hocus Pocus 2 ending explained (in detail)

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