The Exorcist Sequel: Plot, Cast, Everything Else We Know

A new The Exorcist trilogy is on the horizon. Based on the 1971 book of the same name by William Peter Blatty, the first The Exorcist film debuted in theaters nearly 50 years ago to positive reviews. Additional sequels and prequels were released in the decades that followed, including a short-lived television series on FOX.

While first advertised as a reboot, it was confirmed by Observer in December 2020 that the new project was actually a sequel to the original 1973 film, taking place in the present day. David Gordon Green is set to direct and help write the screenplay alongside Peter Sattler. Green is known for his work in Pineapple Express and the new Halloween trilogy, while Sattler’s most recent project is directing Broken Diamonds, which stars Ben Platt. Green is also slated to direct the other two films of the trilogy.

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Let’s dive into what we know about the new film so far. We should be careful, though; we don’t want to wake Pazuzu.

The Exorcist Sequel: The Plot

Warner Bros. Pictures

As a sequel and not a reboot, there is always initial concern about what canon will be kept and what will be thrown into the trash. Green spoke with Total Film about what franchise fans can expect on that front. His statement refers to the films and not the television series, which ignores everything else in the franchise besides the original film.

“I like all the Exorcist movies, and not only do I like them, I think they can all fall into the acceptable mythology for what I’m doing. It’s not like I’m saying, ‘Pretend that The Exorcist 2 never happened.’ That’s fine to exist. They’re all fine to exist, and I enjoy all of them.”

While this statement doesn’t give a ton of hints into the plot, it does give fans the reassurance they don’t have to try to ignore previously established information and the hope that favorite characters could come back. However, the film will likely retroactively impact the canon.

One character is already confirmed and has filmed her scenes as of early 2021. Ellen Burstyn, who played Chris MacNeil in the first film, is a part of the project, so fans will get to see what happened to her, and maybe her daughter Regan and her granddaughter Casey, who was the subject of the television series.

The premise given so far is that a father who is “desperate” for help after his daughter is possessed tracks down MacNeil. It is unclear if she will be able to help him or if his daughter will be saved. Will they need help from the church? Could MacNeil take matters into her own hands again to protect another family?

It is likely that the demon of the franchise, Pazuzu, will make an appearance. The show did include the demon, as he was still trying to get to Regan through her daughter Casey, eventually succeeding for a time. If the film includes the show in its canon, then the two could make an appearance to help the father, but the series could be ignored, which means Casey may not even exist. Because the series ignored the rest of the films, it is likely that the show will end up on the cutting room floor because Green has stated they aren’t disregarding the sequel films.

The Exorcist Sequel: The Cast

Warner Bros. Pictures

Ellen Burstyn is returning to play Chris MacNeil, the actress and mother the original film centered around. Since The Exorcist, she has been seen in Requiem for a Dream, Red Dragon, The Wicker Man, and Interstellar. Playing the father trying to help his daughter is Leslie Odom Jr. The actor is known for his work in Hamilton, the famous musical written by Lin-Manual Miranda following the life of Alexander Hamilton. Those that aren’t into theater may recognize him from Murder on the Orient Express, Harriet, or Smash. He is also part of the Knives Out sequel hitting Netflix this December, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

Ann Dowd rounds out the known cast members. The actress has been in a variety of projects over the years, with some of the most recent being The Handmaid’s Tale and Hereditary. Rory Gross is listed as playing a character named Tyler on the film’s IMDb page, but it is unclear what role this character could have in the film.

Jamie Lee Curtis, one of the most iconic scream queens, has expressed an interest in being the voice of Pazuzu in the upcoming sequel. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she discussed how much the demon had scared her as a teen, and felt that it would be a “full-circle” moment for her. Green and Curtis previously worked together on the new Halloween trilogy.

“Maybe I should be the voice of the devil like Mercedes McCambridge. You see, if David gives me a part in the new Exorcist trilogy as the voice of the devil, then it is a full-circle return for me, in a meta way. That would blow people’s minds.”

Release Date

The film is currently slated to be released on October 13, 2023, making it the perfect way to spend Friday the 13th. While it will be a bit before you can see the new film, you can rewatch some other great horror films from the ’70s in the meantime.