The Exorcist Legacy Sequel Director Confirms William Friedkin Has No Involvement

From one major horror franchise to another, Halloween Ends helmer David Gordon Green will very soon start work as the director of a new sequel to The Exorcist. In a way that’s reminiscent of Jamie Lee Curtis coming back for a new series of Halloween films under the direction of Green, the new Exorcist movie also sees the return of original star Ellen Burstyn. This marks her first appearance in the franchise since the original movie that was released back in 1973 by director William Friedkin.

Starring Burstyn and Linda Blair, The Exorcist is widely considered to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time. In addition to scoring big at the box office, the film was a darling at awards season as well, becoming the first genre movie to be nominated for Best Picture. The film also won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar and held the record as the highest-grossing horror movie until It came along in 2017.

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Though Friedkin was instrumental in helping The Exorcist find so much success, don’t expect him to come back for the upcoming legacy sequel for Green as John Carpenter did for the new Halloween movies. In a new interview with MovieMaker, Green confirms that Friedkin has no involvement with the movie, noting that the film won’t be the same stylistically as the original movie even if some characters return. He says the bigger focus is on how Burstyn’s character has evolved since the original movie, suggesting Friedkin’s input wasn’t quite as necessary with Burstyn on board.

“He won’t. On this journey, we picked Ellen Burstyn to be our spiritual guru. Our Exorcist is linked narratively by its characters, but it isn’t in terms of stylistic parallels. I’m not leaning into what Friedkin did, but it is going deep into who Chris MacNeil is and what she brought to the table. Without giving away too much, the tools and insights that she’s utilized over fifty years find a new application. Ellen’s the one we’ve brought on board, and we filmed eight days with her a year ago to do some technical and creative explorations, and next week we get back in the ring. So to answer your question, Friedkin’s not involved in this. If he’s as good as John Carpenter at making music we’ll get him to do a song in the movie. He can do a trombone version of ‘Tubular Bells.’”

William Friedkin Probably Wouldn’t Want to Be Involved

Warner Bros.

Back in 2020, before it was announced that David Gordon Green would be taking a stab at The Exorcist, there had been rumors swirling of a new reboot entering development at Warner Bros. At the time, William Friedkin made it clear with a post on Twitter that he was not involved with the rumored project, nor would he want to be no matter how much money he was offered. With this in mind, it’s not so shocking for Green to confirm that Friedkin isn’t involved with the new film.

“There’s a rumor on IMDB that I’m involved with a new version Of The Exorcist,” he tweeted. “This isn’t a rumor, it’s a flat-out lie. There’s not enough money or motivation in the world To get me to do this.”

The Exorcist reboot will hit theaters on Oct. 13, 2023.