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New 'Exorcist' trilogy will have Ellen Burstyn, but not Linda Blair

Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair starred in 1973's

Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair starred in 1973's "The Exorcist." Credit: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

While Ellen Burstyn will return in a new movie trilogy continuing the story of the classic horror film "The Exorcist," Linda Blair, the former child star who was indelible as a demonically possessed girl, at this point will not.

"To all my fans asking about my involvement in the new Exorcist reboot" that NBCUniversal announced Monday, "as of now there has not been any discussion about me participating or reprising my role," wrote Blair, 62, on Twitter and Instagram. "I wish all those involved the best and I appreciate the loyalty and passion that fans have for The Exorcist and my character."

Blair starred in both director William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" (1973), earning an Academy Award nomination for her role as 12-year-old Regan MacNeil, and in John Boorman's poorly received "Exorcist II: The Heretic" (1977). She went on to become a horror icon and the founder of an animal-welfare organization, the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation. The original "Exorcist" franchise additionally spawned a second sequel, two prequels and a Fox TV series.

Fans on Blair's Twitter account were vocal about wanting her involved. "It won't be the same without you! Linda Blair IS the exorcist movie. I hope that at least they call you for a cameo," wrote one. "I can't BELIEVE you have not been contacted. My god your role is the seminal role of the movie," said another.

Burstyn, an Academy Award winner for "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," will reprise her Oscar-nominated role as Regan's mother, Chris MacNeil. Joining in an unspecified role is Oscar nominee Leslie Odom Jr. ("Hamilton"). Neither Burstyn nor Odom have commented publicly on their casting.

Universal and its streaming service Peacock, which acquired the rights to create the new "Exorcist" property, has partnered with the production companies Blumhouse and Morgan Creek on the trilogy. The first film will be directed by David Gordon Green (2008's "Pineapple Express," the 2018 continuation of the "Halloween" franchise) and is set for theatrical release Oct. 13, 2023.

Morgan Creek president David Robinson said in a statement that Green had collaborated with comedian Danny McBride, with whom he wrote the "Halloween" reboot, Scott Teems, with whom he wrote the upcoming "Halloween Kills," and Peter Sattler, writer-director of Kristen Stewart's 2014 Guantánamo Bay drama "Camp X-Ray," who "have put together a compelling continuation of this iconic tale and I can't wait to bring this to fans around the world."

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