The Exorcist reboot: Release date, cast, plot for upcoming sequel
Fifty years after The Exorcist terrified audiences around the world, Pazuzu will rise again
A new instalment in The Exorcist horror franchise is coming to cinemas in 2023, just in time for Halloween.
Long hailed as one of the greatest films of all time, The Exorcist shocked the world and pushed the limits of horror when it was unleashed on unsuspecting audiences back in 1973.
The first of its genre to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, William Friedkin’s controversial classic — adapted from William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name — has since garnered a massive following, cementing itself as a staple of pop culture to this day.
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Fast forward to now, where nearly fifty years have passed since it first traumatised audiences with its terrifying plot and nauseating set-pieces. Despite The Exorcist’s sequels flattering to deceive, the horror franchise is being revisited as a retroactive threequel by Blumhouse and David Gordon Green that takes place after the original.
Here’s everything we know about the untitled Exorcist sequel so far…
The Exorcist reboot release date
The first entry in Green’s Exorcist trilogy is slated for release in theatres on the 13 October, 2023. However, no details have been confirmed for the second and third films’ respective release dates at the moment.
Given Universal Pictures’ involvement in this new series, don’t bet against the studio releasing the subsequent sequels on their streaming service Peacock.
The Exorcist reboot director
David Gordon Green, who had already rebooted another iconic horror series with his successful Halloween trilogy, has been attached to direct the first film since December 2020.
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Eastbound and Down’s Danny McBride — who co-wrote Green’s Halloween films — is also reuniting with the director who began filming the reboot at the tail end of last year. Staunch sceptics may be aghast at the idea of another “remake” of such a seminal movie, but Green can point to the praise bestowed upon his modern-day Halloween series as proof that he can deliver another great homage to a timeless masterpiece.
However, according to the film’s cinematographer Michael Simmonds, we should expect a vastly different vibe from Green and co. with the new Exorcist movies.
While Green’s Halloween trilogy was largely faithful to John Carpenter’s groundbreaking 1978 slasher, each film was full of nostalgic callbacks and soap opera sensibilities. Simmonds told SyFy the new Exorcist will be “more suspenseful, claustrophobic, and true to the original material”.
Unlike Carpenter though, who was involved in scoring the Halloween threequel, original Exorcist director Friedkin dispelled any rumours that he would be working on the new sequels.
Talking to Yahoo about the reboot, producer Jason Blum told us: "We’re gonna surprise everyone with The Exorcist. I know there are a lot of sceptics out there, a lot of people who think this is sacred ground that we should not be treading on. But my job is to prove them wrong and I am confident. We have a terrific script."
The Exorcist reboot plot
Despite the first entry in this new trilogy being “90% done” at the time of writing, not much has been revealed about the film’s premise so far. What we do know is that Green intends on following up on the original’s story, which centred around a single parent’s efforts to save her possessed daughter Regan through a brutal exorcism performed by a pair of world-weary priests.
Furthermore, it seems that Green will consider the original Exorcist’s many sequels as canon, noting that “they can all fall into the acceptable mythology” for what he’s doing.
Despite his own Halloween projects completely disregarding everything that followed the 1978 original, Green reckons that the largely derided follow-ups to Friedkin’s magnum opus — including the two-season TV series that was first aired in 2016 — only extend and enhance his vision for the franchise.
The Exorcist reboot cast
Green’s plan became evident when it was confirmed that Ellen Burstyn — who played tormented mother Chris MacNeil in the original — will reprise her role in this year’s yet-to-be-titled iteration. In this version, Burstyn’s Chris holds the key to Leslie Odom Jr.’s (One Night in Miami) character’s quest to rescue his own child from a malevolent spirit.
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Alongside Burstyn and Odom Jr., Ann Dowd (Hereditary) and 16-year old Lidya Jewett (Hidden Figures) are also cast in undisclosed roles, and the foul-mouthed demon Pazuzu will make his return five decades after taking over Regan to shocking effect. Olivia Marcum was added to the cast in February, 2023.
While there hasn’t been a trailer released as of yet, the first part of Green’s Exorcist trilogy remains one of the most anticipated movies of 2023. With filming reportedly about to wrap up very soon, expect tons of hype for a reimagined sequel to arguably the scariest movie ever, and it’s sure to garner more hype and attention before its scheduled release later this year.
The untitled Exorcist film will arrive in cinemas on 13 October, 2023.
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