Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Halloweentown’: Why Disney Replaced Kimberly J. Brown as Marnie Piper 

‘Halloweentown’: Why Disney Replaced Kimberly J. Brown as Marnie Piper 

Nearly 20 years after Disney released the final installment of the Halloweentown franchise, Return to Halloweentown, fans of the original Disney channel movies are still wondering exactly why Disney decided to replace Kimberly J. Brown with Sara Paxton as Marnie Piper. 

Brown opened up about the situation in a 2018 Q&A video. The actress explained that she was originally in talks to star in the final Halloweentown movie. However, she admitted whenever found out why she was actually replaced. 

“The answer to that is, I’m not really sure,” Brown noted. “Some people asked me or said that they heard I was working on something, which was not the case at the time. I was available and ready to do it, and had talked to them about possibly – about doing it. But Disney decided to go in a different direction and recast the role.”

The Halloweentown star pointed out that she was definitely bummed about the situation, but said she understands “that’s the way it goes” when it comes to acting. 

Halloweentown first premiered on the Disney Channel in 1998. The film follows Marnie and her siblings as they figure out that their family is made up of witches. They follow their grandmother, Aggie Cromwell (played by the late Debbie Reynolds) to Halloweentown where they help stop the key villain/warlock Kalabar. The other films were released in 2001, 2004, and 2006. 

Sara Paxton Has Also Spoken Up About Replacing Kimberly Brown As Marnie in ‘Halloweentown’ 

While chatting with fellow Disney star, Christy Carlson Romano, in 2021, Sara Paxton opened up about being approached with the role of Marnie in Return to Halloweentown. “I watched all those movies, I loved those movies,” Paxton gushed. “So I was asked and I was like, ‘Hell yeah! I’m so excited.”

However, Paxton acknowledges that she does get criticized every year for replacing Brown in the famous Halloweentown role. “Like, every Halloween, I prepare myself,” Paxtom admitted. “Because I know that on Twitter and Instagram, there’s gonna be a lot of people hating on me.” 

Despite the situation, Paxton noted that she has met Brown in person and shares “nothing but love” for the Halloweentown alum. “I’ve met her a handful of times and she’s so sweet, and… I wanna be like, ‘There’s no beef! I’m a fan!’”

Although Brown didn’t make an appearance in Return to Halloweentown, Joey Zimmerman, Debbie Reynolds, Judith Hoag, and Lucas Grabeel reprised their roles. However, Emily Roeske, who played Sophie Piper in the first three films, was mentioned but didn’t appear either.