This is the only film in the Halloweentown series not to feature Kimberly J. Brown as Marnie. Brown herself has claimed that not only was she available, but she wanted to finish out the series. Instead, series creator Sheri Singer would just state that Disney and Brown’s camp couldn’t come to terms and make a deal work. That said, Joey Zimmerman, Debbie Reynolds, Judith Hoag and Lucas Grabeel did all come back for the film. Sophie, who was played by Emily Roeske in the previous Halloweentown installments, is mentioned but does not appear. It was directed by David Jackson, who also made the Yasmine Bleeth-starring The Lake.
Marnie decides that instead of college that she’ll attend Witch University in Halloweentown on a full scholarship. But when she starts classes, she learns that all they do is study Shakespeare and the history of magic. She makes a new friend — Aneese the Genie — while reconnecting with Ethan and running afoul of the Sinister Sisters, the daughters of Silas Sinister.
The reason why magic is no longer taught? It’s all Marnie’s fault. Witch University was originally established exclusively for warlocks and witches to learn how to use magic. But Marnie destroyed the portal between the worlds, most of the magical children went to college in the mortal realm.
There’s also the matter of a locked box in the dungeon of the school that only Marnie can open, with a sinister group called the Dominion working to force her to break open its seal. Once open, it allows the Sinister Sisters to control Halloweentown. As you can imagine, everything works out — this is a Disney Channel movie, not the usual Filmirage gorefests we watch around here and even sets up future tales.
Due to the recasting, most fans of this series kind of wish this movie never existed.