Actor Thora Birch
Actor Thora Birch on the red carpet during the 2022 Roger Ebert Film Festival on April 22, 2022 in Champaign, Illinois. Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images


  • Thora Birch said she had been working on another project when "Hocus Pocus 2" was filmed
  • She said she's excited for the sequel, which she teased has a "completely different, fresh approach" from the original film
  • Birch left "Wednesday" because she had to leave the set and couldn't return for production

Thora Birch has shared her feelings about her absence from the "Hocus Pocus" sequel and the reason she had to leave Tim Burton's "Addams Family" spinoff series about Wednesday Addams.

While working on her Lifetime true-crime film "The Gabby Petito Story," Birch, 40, opened up to Entertainment Tonight about her involvement in two upcoming projects, Disney+'s "Hocus Pocus 2" and Netflix's "Wednesday" series starring Jenna Ortega.

"I was just a little dismayed I wasn't able to make it," Birch told ET about the "Hocus Pocus" sequel.

In the 1993 film, Birch played the role of 8-year-old Dani Dennison, one of the Salem, Massachusetts, kids who get caught up in the mayhem after the resurrection of the Sanderson sisters, the three witches played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The trio is reuniting nearly 30 years later for a new tale about the three witches. Doug Jones is also set to reprise his role as "good zombie" Billy Butcherson for "Hocus Pocus 2." However, other original stars, including Omri Katz and Vinessa Shaw, are not among those returning for the sequel.

Birch told ET that she wanted to be on the "Hocus Pocus 2" set even just to show her support, but scheduling conflicts prevented that from happening.

"I was working on something else when they were filming," Birch said, adding that "otherwise I was definitely going to be there on set with the girls."

But despite not being part of the sequel, Birch is looking forward to watching the reboot. "I can't wait to see what they do with it. I know they're taking a completely different, fresh approach, so I'm excited," she shared.

Birch also told ET that she is anticipating the excitement surrounding the huge franchise's 30th anniversary. She confessed that she is still "recovering from the 20-year anniversary" of "Hocus Pocus" and said that she's "sure" the upcoming sequel "will be even more extra."

The "Ghost World" star was also supposed to be part of Netflix's "Wednesday," having been slated to play Tamara Novak, Wednesday's dorm mother at Nevermore Academy. Birch had already filmed the bulk of the role before having to leave the set.

A rep for series producer MGM confirmed to Deadline that Birch "returned to the States to attend to a personal matter and will not be returning to the production."

Birch explained to ET that the series "became such a fluid, moving situation artistically, creatively from episode to episode. I had filmed a certain amount and there were some questions about how much more to go with that character and there were just some changes and adjustments made."

Due to this, she said, "It didn't work out that I would be able to go back, so they are finding their own solutions."

Following Birch's exit, Netflix added Christina Ricci to the cast of "Wednesday" as an "exciting new character" named Marilyn Thornhill. The actress, who originated the Wednesday role in the 1991 film, was brought in as a replacement for Birch and will play a similar character, Deadline reported.

Ricci still has a lot of "sentimentality and affection" for the franchise, so she was thrilled and flattered when she was invited to join the series.

"Hocus Pocus 2" will exclusively stream on Disney+ starting Friday. "Wednesday" will premiere on Nov. 23 on Netflix.

Hocus Pocus
Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Thora Birch in a scene from "Hocus Pocus." Buena Vista Pictures/Andrew Cooper