- With Halloween around the corner, there’s nothing better than binging one of the Disney Channel’s best holiday franchises, Halloweentown. Fans agree that the first and second movies were some of the best, while movies three and four declined. Questions like “does Marnie have powers in Halloweentown? Or why was Sophie barely in Halloweentown High?” are continuously asked while rewatching. This leads to small observations that were missed when viewers were younger and no longer make sense as adults. Nevertheless, Halloweentown is one of those cult classics that’s rewatched every fall.
In 1998, Disney Channel aired Halloweentown, which would eventually become a cult classic and ongoing franchise. Three follow-up films came afterward, and for years since, audiences have been captivated by witches, warlocks, trolls, and the knowledge that “Being normal is vastly overrated.” The first movie introduced the core characters and Halloweentown’s magical world while also revealing that the Piper family were witches and warlocks.
The movies that followed the original added to the already existing content, including more rules and secrets about the town’s mysterious past. But, not everything about the franchise made sense. Years after Return To Halloweentown aired, there are still questions or things that feel unresolved about the popular series, whether it be details that break continuity or the reduction of a character’s role; not every part of the franchise made sense.
Updated on October 7, 2022, by Lynn Gibbs:
With Halloween around the corner, there’s nothing better than binging one of the Disney Channel’s best holiday franchises, Halloweentown. Fans agree that the first and second movies were some of the best, while movies three and four declined. Questions like “does Marnie have powers in Halloweentown? Or why was Sophie barely in Halloweentown High?” are continuously asked while rewatching. This leads to small observations that were missed when viewers were younger and no longer make sense as adults. Nevertheless, Halloweentown is one of those cult classics that’s rewatched every fall.
Halloweentown’s Time Difference Between Worlds
Aggie tells Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie that two hours in the mortal world can be the equivalent of two days or weeks in Halloweentown. That rule justifies that the kids could stay and help Aggie defeat the darkness and get home before midnight in the mortal world. But, outside Halloweentown, that rule doesn’t hold up. In the sequel, time seems to be the same in the two worlds as Kal’s spell takes over.
It also forces questions about if Halloweentown had existed for a millennium in Return To Halloweentown, had it been a thousand years for the mortal world as well? Aggie had supposedly been over 1,000 years old and lived in one house for 200 years. It would be unpopular to go against Aggie’s logic, but some things just don’t add up.
Sophie’s Reduced Screen Time Was A Low Blow To Her Character
In Halloweentown and Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge, Sophie has an intuition that allows her to know that bad things are occurring. She is an integral part of the Cromwell family and has a natural ability to perform magic, until the third film.
Sophie’s role is drastically reduced in Halloweentown High to the point where she is less essential than a supporting character. Sophie doesn’t hold any significance to the plot and seems to be there to remind fans she exists. Sophie’s most significant ability to detect if something is wrong appears to have gone away. When the Cromwell witches lose their magic, Sophie isn’t even present. In Return to Halloweentown, Sophie is mentioned to be traveling with Aggie but never appears. Halloweentown is one of the Disney Channel’s best Halloween movies, but it still has noticeable flaws like this.
Dylan’s Magic Was Brushed Under The Rug
Like Sophie, Dylan’s role got lost in translation. Dylan shows his first signs of magic in the final moments of Halloweentown. Although Dylan never loved to do magic like his siblings, the sequel is aware that Dylan has powers too, and he uses magic to help his family open a portal after midnight on Halloween.
In Return To Halloweentown, Dylan reveals that he doesn’t use magic for anything other than speed reading, once again acknowledging Dylan’s powers. But, Halloweentown High treats Dylan as if he’s mortal. Dylan can’t get himself down from the ceiling, and when Marnie and Aggie lose their powers, Dylan doesn’t.
Aggie’s Reduced Role Was A Mistake
One of the things that fans didn’t know about Return To Halloweentown was that Disney made several controversial decisions, and one of them was reducing Aggie Cromwell’s role. She is meant to be working on interdimensional time travel with Sophie.
Fans of the previous three films knew Aggie to be a vital part of the story. But, Return To Halloweentown makes the mistake of writing Aggie out of the movie, only having her appear just long enough to reveal Marnie’s college plans and give a vague hint about a mysterious past. Aggie’s legacy and history hold a vital part of the film, but it doesn’t make sense to take out one of the franchise’s most significant characters.
Halloweentown isn’t the scariest Disney Channel Halloween movie, but it did have a complex backstory that fans liked. Aggie has referenced the dark days of Halloweentown before and that there had been conflicts with mortals. Aggie is an influential part of Halloweentown, but her backstory added into the final film seemed as if it existed to try and explain Aggie’s influence, give Marnie a destiny, and describe why the Cromwells were so powerful.
Gwen supposedly knew nothing of her mother’s past, but if witches can live a long life in Halloweentown, and Gwen grew up there, it doesn’t make sense that Gwen wouldn’t know her mother’s history.
Gwen opposes magic in Halloweentown, and although she never gave up her powers, she never uses them. Gwen decided to renounce her family’s history and raise her children as mortals. Her plan backfires after the kids learn the truth about magic. By the end of the first film, Gwen appears to let go of her hatred of magic, deciding to train Marnie. Gwen didn’t have the strongest powers in Halloweentown, but fans wouldn’t know because she was reluctant to use them.
By the second movie, Gwen is back to hating magic. She views it as the opposition, and while Gwen isn’t against her kids using it all the time, there is a feeling of resentment. In some ways, it’s as if her growth at the end of Halloweentown never happened. However, in the final two movies, Gwen has moved on from hating magic, using it herself to expand their house and magically bring groceries to her at the store.
Recasting Marnie Was A Huge Mistake
For those who had loved the Halloweentown movies, they had a big surprise coming when Return To Halloweentown premiered. Instead of Kimberly J. Brown, the beloved main character Marnie had been replaced by Sara Paxton. Fans of the series agreed that the main character should have never been recast.
The choice to recast the main character in the last movie of the series doesn’t make any sense. Return To Halloweentown is not looked at as a fan-favorite of the series. Between recasting Marnie, reducing Aggie’s role, removing Sophie, and creating an entirely different tone, the final film did not have the same feel as the three before it.
What Happened After Halloweentown High?
One of the most massive moments of Halloweentown High shows mortals discovering that magic, witches, warlocks, and other creatures are real. Knowing that humans have changed proved Marnie’s argument that the portal could remain permanently open rather than closed. In Return To Halloweentown, Ethan fills in some blanks, explaining that many in Halloweentown went to college in the mortal world, which was why Witch University opened itself to non-witch students.
But, they never show how the mortals handled such a reveal. Marnie continued to go to school with her classmates, knowing she was a witch, but they never show what happened next.
Marnie’s Parents Introduction Doesn’t Add Up
Marnie mentions that her mom and dad met on Halloween. Later, Aggie says that the portal connecting the mortal and magical worlds only appears on Halloween. But, since Gwen’s backstory is not fully fleshed out, there are some questions regarding how Gwen chose to stay in the mortal world.
She had gone to a Halloween party and met her husband, but since she could not return home on any other night, what did Gwen do? Did she reunite with the man the following year? Did she decide to stay in the mortal world from that night on? Gwen clarifies that she prefers the mortal world, but the films never give a firm backstory into her reasons to remain there.
What Happened To Kal?
The final moments of Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge makes a big deal about Kal. He doesn’t die at the end of the movie and escapes instead. Luke mentions that Kal would be back, and Marnie says they would be ready when he returns. But, Kal never comes back and is never mentioned again.
For a villain meant to be such a major threat, it doesn’t make sense that he never comes back or plays any role again. Even if the films didn’t need Kal to return to the franchise, his story is left unresolved. But his plan also didn’t make sense. His father had wanted to give the mortal world back to the creatures of Halloweentown, but Kal’s plan doesn’t even do that. Instead, he wanted to turn humans into monsters and monsters into humans, but that doesn’t appear to benefit anyone.
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