- Producer Ryan Turek confirms that The Exorcist: Believer is a direct sequel to the original movie, retconning previous installments.
- While director David Gordon Green may playfully reference other movies in the franchise, Turek sees Believer as a companion piece to William Friedkin’s original.
- The upcoming movie has already retconned The Exorcist TV show with Burstyn’s return as Chris MacNeil, suggesting that other poorly received sequels may also be ignored or retconned.
With the movie already acting as a sequel to the original, producer Ryan Turek reveals how The Exorcist: Believer is retconning previous installments. The upcoming movie will pick up 50 years after the horror genre classic, seeing two families desperately looking for a way to save their daughters from the malevolent figure possessing them, turning to Ellen Burstyn’s Chris MacNeil for help. Co-written and directed by the recent Halloween trilogy helmer David Gordon Green, the star-studded cast for The Exorcist: Believer also includes Leslie Odom Jr., Ann Dowd, Jennifer Nettles, Lidya Jewett, Olivia Marcum and Norbert Leo Butz.
While speaking with Inverse for the upcoming sequel, Turek discussed how The Exorcist: Believer connects to the larger horror movie franchise. Though acknowledging that Green has been “playful” about its canon ties, the producer did seemingly confirm that the movie will retcon prior installments, with the team all having an agreement that “this is a direct sequel to William Friedkin’s original“. See what Turek explained below:
The agreement we all had was this is a direct sequel to William Friedkin’s original film. But obviously, we’re living in a post-Scream 5 world and talking about requels and stuff like that. So is it a requel? Sure you can call it that because it’s both a sequel and kind of a reinvigoration of the franchise. Is it directly connected to Exorcist II? Exorcist III? The prequels? In my heart, I don’t connect Believer to those. However, I’m sure if you spoke to David Gordon Green, he’d say that The Exorcist II was a very interesting movie, and you never know whether it was connected or not because he’s playful like that. But no, I feel this very much sits as a companion piece to William Friedkin’s film.
The Exorcist: Believer Has Already Retconned One Prior Installment
This isn’t the first time Green’s love for The Exorcist II has been acknowledged by a member of Believer‘s team, with the co-writer/director sharing his appreciation for the 1977 sequel upon confirming the script for the new movie was finished. Interestingly, with that announcement in mid-2021, Green also indicated that all of the previous installments were part of “the acceptable mythology” he worked in for developing the legacy sequel, seemingly assuring that it wouldn’t follow the exact same path as his Halloween trilogy of retconning everything that came before.
Even if Green does find a way to make most prior installments work, the upcoming movie has already retconned out The Exorcist TV show that ran for two seasons on Fox. Season 1 acted as a surprise sequel to the first two movies, with Geena Davis’ Angela Rance revealed to be an adult Regan MacNeil whose family was being tormented yet again by Pazuzu. In addition to recasting Linda Blair with Davis, the show recast Burstyn with Burn Notice alum Sharon Gless as her mother Chris, who had become estranged from her daughter when she went into hiding, returning when her possessed granddaughter went missing.
After seemingly saving her granddaughter, Gless’ Chris would meet her end when Regan became re-possessed, breaking her mother’s neck. With Burstyn back as Chris for The Exorcist: Believer, it confirms that at least the TV show is being retconned out of existence for Green’s timeline, thus making Turek’s indication of these changes likely leading to the critically panned The Heretic and The Exorcist III being ignored or retconned as well. Given 2018’s Halloween was met with largely positive reviews from longtime franchise fans for its retcons of the poorly received sequels, this may be met with enthusiasm, and could help keep the canon cleaner for Green’s planned trilogy.