Everett; Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock Thora Birch in 2018 (R) and as Dani in Hocus Pocus (1993)
"There were three options we had for how to bring Dani back, all of which I was excited by," Birch, who starred as the young witch-obsessed heroine Dani in the original 1993 film, told Entertainment Tonight in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
But unfortunately, "By the time they got around to filming, I was already on something else," she said of why she didn't ultimately board the sequel, which is streaming now on Disney+.
Despite not being in the film, Birch, now 40, is "excited for the fans who have been begging for Hocus Pocus 2 for years."
"I'll be watching along with everybody else," the American Beauty actress told ET, adding that the first movie "holds such a special place in my heart."
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Everett Omri Katz (L) and Thora Birch in Hocus Pocus (1993)
Birch's onscreen big brother Omri Katz, who played Max Dennison in the first movie, gave similar quotes to Entertainment Weekly earlier this month, confirming that he wasn't in Hocus Pocus 2 but was eager to see it.
Katz, 46, said he "would have loved to be involved" in the sequel, adding, "I feel bad for the original fan base saying we aren't because I'm sure they wanted to see us reprise our roles."
But he's excited for the "new fan base" the movie will "attract."
"I think it'll be good for everyone who loved the original!" Katz told EW. "I hope fans will go see it. I know I will."
Back in October 2021, Vinessa Shaw — who played Max's love interest and Max and Dani's witch-hunting partner in crime, Allison, in the 1993 film — told ET that while she hadn't "heard anything" about the sequel, she "would love to do" it.
"It would be so much fun," added Shaw, 46. "I think there's just a different storyline with younger people, but why can't we all come back in some way?"
She also had a theory for where her character Allison would be almost three decades later, after originally teaming up with Max and Dani to save the children of Salem, Massachusetts.
"I feel like she and Max are still together but I think Allison's from Salem and he always wants to be in California. I think they did some sort of compromise and maybe she's in Salem when the witches come back, you know, visiting her mom or something," Shaw said.
Hocus Pocus 2 is now streaming on Disney+.