The Exorcist: Believer director David Gordon Green on coaxing Ellen Burstyn to return as Chris MacNeil for the sequel movie.

The Exorcist: Believer, Ellen Burstyn

Much like Jamie Lee Curtis returning to play Laurie Strode in the recent Halloween trilogy, the upcoming Exorcist sequel also features an actor returning to one of their most iconic roles. The Exorcist: Believer sequel finds Ellen Burstyn returning to play Chris MacNeil fifty years after last playing the role.

While speaking with Total Film, The Exorcist: Believer director David Gordon Green discussed getting Ellen Burstyn to return to the franchise she helped start all those years ago. “It’s incredible. I read her biography, and then it became like a mission: could I invite one of the Hollywood icons to step into this role that she hasn’t been in, in 50 years?” Green said. “That’s a true undertaking.

After getting to know Ellen Burstyn and swapping literature and ideas, David Gordon Green took steps to evolve her character in a way that would be “meaningful for Ellen, beyond just a Chris MacNeil revisit.” Although Burstyn earned an Oscar nomination for her work on the original Exorcist movie (directed by the late William Friedkin), she never had the desire to return for any of the sequels.

Since the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 12 years ago, Victor Fielding has raised their daughter on his own,” reads the official synopsis for The Exorcist: Believer. “But when Angela and her friend Katherine, 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.

It will be interesting to see Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil again after all these years and learn how she factors into the events of The Exorcist: Believer. Universal and Blumhouse have already slated another sequel, The Exorcist: Deceiver, which is set to hit theaters on April 18, 2025. While it’s expected that Green will return to direct the sequel as well, nothing has been confirmed. Green has said that they’ve got “scripts, outlines, and things like that” for the second and third films, but he’s waiting to see how the first one is received before making any big decisions.

The Exorcist: Believer will hit theaters on October 13th.