Having revitalised the “Halloween” franchise with 2018’s revival and its less well-regarded sequels, filmmaker David Gordon Green is now attempting to do the same for “The Exorcist” films.
It begins this Fall with “The Exorcist: Believer,” in which parents of two demonically possessed girls, desperate for help, go in search of someone who has had similar experiences.
The project will see Ellen Burstyn reprise her role as Chris MacNeil, tormented mother of Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), for the first time in fifty years – the actress having not played the role since the original.
Like 2018’s “Halloween,” the film will ignore the events of the other sequels. But it also raises the obvious question as to whether Linda Blair will return.
Blair reprised her role for John Boorman’s rather wild “Exorcist II: The Heretic” in 1977 and even sent up her role in the 1990 Leslie Nielsen comedy “Repossessed”. She’s not listed as part of the cast but was said to be on set in some capacity. Green explains her involvement to EW:
“The film alludes to her character in a number of ways. We were lucky and had Linda as a technical advisor. She helped us bring excellent performances out of young actresses. It was really valuable having a relationship with her and being able to get her as a part of this conversation.”
Green also spoke some more about why they chose to avoid the sequels of the 1970s and 1980s, saying:
“To be honest, I’m not avoiding any of them, but I don’t know them very well. I’ve seen all of them. I’ve seen Exorcist III more than any of them. I know that one very well. Say what you will about Exorcist II, but it ain’t shy. It is a fearless epic of ideas, but [we’re] not necessarily following a character from Exorcist: The Beginning. We’re not looking into that. It’s not that type of a franchise that needs to check boxes.”
The new film already has its first sequel, “The Exorcist: Deceiver,” in the works with an April 18th 2025 release date set for that. “The Exorcist: Believer,” meanwhile is on track for an October 13th release.