When The Exorcist premiered in 1973, it was cemented in pop culture and film history as one of the most disturbing and terrifying movies ever made. Now, decades after the original movie comes a sequel, The Exorcist: Believer, with a familiar character reappearing for a new horrific possession.
Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming The Exorcist: Believer.
The First Film in the Sequel Trilogy
Nearly 50 years after The Exorcist comes The Exorcist: Believer, which is the first of a sequel trilogy of films. Universal and Blumhouse have already given a title to the second Exorcist movie, The Exorcist: Deceiver. The second sequel has a premiere date of April 18, 2025.
The first trailer for the upcoming film was released on July 25, 2023, teasing a lot of scares and the return of Chris MacNeil, played by Ellen Burstyn. A second trailer for the sequel dropped on September 5, 2023, which showed Chris MacNeil confronting one of the possessed girls.
A few weeks later, on September 20, a featurette for The Exorcist: Believer was released, setting up Chris MacNeil’s first possession encounter after nearly 50 years. The featurette also teased how the movie will incorporate other religions.
The Exorcist: Believer is directed by David Gordon Green, who recently helmed the latest sequel trilogy to Halloween. Blumhouse’s Jason Blum serves as producer alongside James Robinson and David Robinson of Morgan Creek. Morgan Creek holds the rights to the Exorcist franchise. Danny McBride and Couper Samuelson of Blumhouse also serve as executive producers with Green. The project is also overseen by Ryan Turek.
Green, McBride, and Scott Teems developed the story for The Exorcist: Believer. The trilogy is also co-written by Peter Sattler. Green told Collider in October 2021 that the second and third films were being outlined after confirming that the script for The Exorcist: Believer was written.
“So we’ve got a ways to go on that, but we know where we’re going,” said Green. “It’s a new journey with some familiar characters and some new ones as well.”
Green revealed that making the upcoming Exorcist films in the same interview with Collider involves a change from the Halloween remakes.
“They’re just so unbelievably different. One is very primal and the other is very academic. So it’s just trying to switch gears there. I’m sure I’ll know more a year from now when I’ve gotten a handle on what Exorcist is. The script’s written. And it was a very, entirely different writing process,” said Green at the time.
The official synopsis of The Exorcist: Believer was also released.
Since the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 12 years ago, Victor Fielding (Tony winner and Oscar nominee Leslie Odom, Jr.) has raised their daughter, Angela (Lidya Jewett) on his own.
But when Angela and her friend Katherine (Olivia O’Neill), disappear in the woods, only to return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, it unleashes a chain of events that will force Victor to confront the nadir of evil, and in his terror and desperation, seek out the only person alive who has witnessed anything like it before: Chris MacNeil.
For the first time since the 1973 film, Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn reprises her iconic role as Chris MacNeil, an actress who has been forever altered by what happened to her daughter Regan five decades before.
The Exorcist: Believer Cast
As said earlier, Ellen Burstyn is reprising her role as Chris MacNeil from the original Exorcist film. Chris MacNeil is the mother of the possessed girl Regan MacNeil. Burstyn received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her performance in the movie.
Joining Burstyn as Leslie Odom, Jr. as Victor Fielding, the father of a possessed child who asks Chris MacNeil for help. Jennifer Nettles will play the mother of another possessed child who teams up with Victor. Norbert Leo Butz plays the husband of Nettles’ character.
As for the two girls who will be possessed in the movie, they are played by Lidya Jewett and Olivia O’Neill as Angela and Katherine, respectively.
Also joining the cast for the sequel are Ann Dowd, Raphael Sbarge, and Okwui Okpokwasii, but their roles are undisclosed. It remains to be seen if Father Merrin and Father Karras will be reappearing in the coming sequel. It seems unlikely as the original actors passed away since the first film. Linda Blair is also rumored to be reprising her role as Regan MacNeil in the upcoming sequel. Blair received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for The Exorcist.
Green didn’t confirm whether Blair reprised her role but revealed that the actress was on set in a consulting capacity.
“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,” said the director.
What Happened in the Original Exorcist
In the 1973 Exorcist, a girl named Regan MacNeil is displaying unusual and disturbing behavior for a child her age. Following countless doctors’ tests that said nothing, including the infamous arteriogram scene, Regan’s mother Chris seeks the help of Jesuit priests. Regan reaches beyond the point of ruining her dinner parties, and Chris begins to suspect that she may be responsible for the death of a family friend.
Enter Father Merrin and Father Karras, who answer Chris’ call and visit the MacNeil residence. The two priests perform an exorcism on Regan.
The original film was criticized for its R-rating compared to the more appropriate X-rating. This was simply because there would be a better return on the money that was spent on the film’s production costs. Nevertheless, The Exorcist won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The Exorcist: Believer Release Date
The Exorcist: Believer premieres on October 6, 2023, exclusively in theaters. The film will be opening at the same time as the musical-comedy Dicks: The Musical, the science-fiction drama Foe, and the psychological thriller Cat Person. The first sequel’s premiere was moved a week earlier to avoid competition with Taylor Swift’s Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert film.
The Exorcist: Believer isn’t the only horror movie that will come out in October. Pet Sematary: Bloodlines will premiere on Paramount+ in the same week. Three weeks after will be the Five Nights at Freddy’s film adaptation.
Where Will You Be Able to Stream The Exorcist: Believer
Following the theatrical release, The Exorcist: Believer will be available to watch on Peacock. The same will go for the second and third Exorcist sequels. This is reportedly due to a partnership between NBC Universal and Peacock for the Exorcist sequel trilogy.
According to the New York Times, the price of the deal was estimated to be over $400 million. However, producers and those involved in the project, as well as its fanbase, are confident about the franchise’s future.