Believer Will Avoid Fan Service, Director Details “Radical Choices” Made In Horror Sequel

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Summary

  • Director David Gordon Green plans to make radical choices in “The Exorcist: Believer,” avoiding fan service and focusing on the theme of parenting.
  • The upcoming sequel will embrace diverse religious perspectives, moving away from the dominance of Catholicism in previous films.
  • Green aims to make the movie relatable and human, not overly supernatural, and will not include iconic characters from previous films, such as Max Von Sydow.


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The Exorcist: Believer director David Gordon Green reveals that his upcoming sequel will seek to avoid relying on fan service. Prior to being tapped to helm the latest continuation of The Exorcist franchise, Green previously co-wrote and directed the most recent Halloween trilogy which followed on directly from John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic. Originally intended to be a fresh reboot of the property, The Exorcist: Believer was similarly retooled as a direct sequel to its own 1973 movie and will also serve as the first entry in a new trilogy of movies.

Speaking with Empire (via The Direct), Green explains why it was necessary for The Exorcist: Believer to make “radical choices” with the source material and not merely rely on fan service, such as having “Max Von Sydow show up at the 11th hour”. The director also revealed that his sequel will move to embrace more diverse religious perspectives, as opposed to the predominance of Catholicism featured in the previous movies. Check out his comments below:

I think every filmmaker should make radical choices. If you’re just trying to do fan service, you’re gonna get lost. 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. 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.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.

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, and the movie covered here would not exist without the labor of the writers and actors in both unions.


How The Exorcist: Believer Will Still Honor The Franchise’s Roots

Linda Blair as Reagn MacNeil in The Exorcist

While Green’s comments might point toward a potential reinvention of The Exorcist franchise, it is also clear that his forthcoming movie will seek to honor the legacy of the one that began it all. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s most influential works of supernatural horror, the original The Exorcist would go on to set a box-office record for R-rated horror movies that would stand for decades and even continues to rank well above most other well-known horror properties to this day.

Though later attempts to produce both sequels and prequels would ultimately fall well short of the success of the original, there is still a great deal of interest in seeing what Green will do with his latest franchise installment. Featuring the return of Ellen Burstyn’s Chris MacNeil, a role she has not played since the first movie, The Exorcist: Believer will still directly link to the events of young Regan MacNeil’s demonic possession during the 1970s. Moreover, Green has also revealed that Regan actress Linda Blair was brought in during production to advise his two new young stars, Olivia Marcum and Lidya Jewett.

Moving beyond a reliance on Catholic views of demonic possession and exorcism seems like an interesting way for Green to inject fresh life into the franchise, and it will be intriguing to see what impact other religious belief systems may have on the film. Whether this approach will see The Exorcist: Believer enjoy the same kinds of success as the original movie remains to be seen, but attempting to balance new ideas with a healthy respect for the franchise’s history is a laudable strategy.

Source: Empire (via The Direct)

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