Universal Pictures' The Exorcist: Believer, which is a sequel to the 1973 film, The Exorcist, is going to go through some changes from its predecessor according to director David Gordon Green.
The Exorcist: Believer is set to be released in theaters on October 13 and it will serve as a direct sequel to the original film that came out in 1973. It is the first of three titles that will come out in The Exorcist franchise and was originally planned to be a full reboot in August 2020.
However, decisions were made to scrap that idea and turn it into a sequel, with Blumhouse's Jason Blum saying that "it's going to be like David's Halloween sequel."
A trailer for the upcoming movie was recently released, allowing fans to get a glimpse of the horror that is to come. Ellen Burstyn, who portrayed Chris MacNeil in the original movie, is set to reprise her role, and there were rumors that Linda Blair could even make an appearance seeing as how she was on-set, but Green wouldn't confirm if she will show up on-screen or not.
How The Exorcist Sequel Will Differ From the Original
In the latest issue of Empire Magazine, The Exorcist: Believer director David Gordon Green (who also directed the most recent Halloween trilogy) explained all of the different ways that the new installment will divert from the original film.
Overall, Green confirmed that "radical choices" were made for the upcoming film, and alluded that strict "fan service" wouldn't be present:
"I think every filmmaker should make radical choices. If you’re just trying to do fan service, you’re gonna get lost."
Most fans will remember just how much the demonic presence of Pazuzu was featured in the original film. Green explained that, while Believer will contain a lot of possession as well, it will be more "human and relatable" as opposed to "supernatural:"
"The DNA of this movie is parenting: your home life getting rocked by your child not acting like your child. My effort is to make it as human and relatable as we can, and not get so caught up in the far-out supernatural of it."
The director did address the return of actress Ellen Burstyn and explained the importance of it, mentioning how "connective tissue" is integral in a sequel:
"It brings connective tissue that weaves us into what Friedkin did. She steps into our story, and has some opinions and ideas."
Green also talked about where the crew is in the film's "process," explaining that they are focusing on the voice of the demon. He teased that "the demon" could "be a lot of things:"
"We’re in the demon-voice part of the process now, and we’re exploring various processes. The other day I brought five very, very different people into a room, with a microphone and asked them to say things. Maybe I want it to be each of these voices and more. Maybe I want the demon to be a lot of things."
Green then went on to talk about how Believer will really bring a different approach to religion and exorcism than other horror films have in the past:
"One of the things we do is bring a lot of different religious perspectives into the discussion of exorcism. It’s not just assuming that Catholics are in charge of demonic possession as a ritual. We need to acknowledge that there’s other ways out of this catastrophe than just one, and that’s where it gets complicated."
In the original movie, the two priests that performed the exorcism on Regan were a major aspect of the film as a whole. However, fans may be surprised to hear that Green may go down a different route with his approach, and the director even mentioned that "it's not so clearly defined in" Believer:
"It’s not so clearly defined in this movie. We don’t have Max Von Sydow show up at the 11th hour. We don’t have that type of character in this one."
Is The Exorcist: Believer Too Different?
Based on the trailer that was recently released and David Gordon Green's comments, The Exorcist: Believer will be unlike anything horror fans have ever seen before.
Green mainly just discussed the changes made from his upcoming movie and the 1973 film, but judging by the trailer, there are still going to be a lot of similarities and callbacks to the original.
For example, it seems as though Regan's struggle and possession will be studied and used as a resource by everyone in Believer, and of course, Ellen Burstyn's involvement is that "connective tissue" that Green was mentioning.
Therefore, while The Exorcist: Believer is going to be quite a bit different from its predecessor, it will still include some key elements that make it truly feel like a sequel.
As the October 13 release date gets closer fans will be able to see if there are any other elements from the original film that are brought into Believer, but as of right now, it seems like the movie will have the perfect balance between bringing in older elements and introducing new and different ideas.
The Exorcist: Believer is set to be released in theaters on October 13.