SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for The Exorcist: Believer. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed at your own risk!
It was back in July 2021 that Universal Pictures first announced plans to revive the Exorcist franchise, with writer/director David Gordon Green set to helm a full new trilogy of films to follow up the filmmaker’s continuation of John Carpenter’s Halloween. Over two years later, The Exorcist: Believer is now playing in theaters everywhere, and it has quite an unexpected ending to go along with its story of demon possession.
What happens at the end of The Exorcist: Believer, what is the fate of the two possessed girls at the center of the plot, and where does the trilogy go from here? All of that and more is spelled out in this ending explained feature. To start, let’s do a recap of what it is that happens at the conclusion of the new film…
What Happens At The End Of The Exorcist: Believer
At the beginning of the end of The Exorcist: Believer, things go from bad to worse as Father Maddox (E.J. Bonilla), late to joining the exorcism due to fear of excommunication, is killed by having his head turned 180 degrees on his neck. Victor (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Tony and Miranda (Norbert Leo Butz and Jennifer Nettles) struggle to reconcile with the continued demonic possession of their daughters, Angela (Lidya Jewett) and Katherine (Olivia O’Neill), and they quickly start to get desperate when it doesn’t seem that any of the religious rituals are working.
Victor’s move is to find the scarf that Angela wanted to bring to school (the one that belonged to her deceased mother) and give it to her – despite the fact that he was told not to make physical contact with his child. This seems to have an effect, as the girls’ heartbeats start to get out of sync… but things go to hell when Katherine starts crying and begging, not wanting to die. Frantically, Tony goes to the girls and accepts the demon Lamashtu’s deal offering that one of them will live, and one will be killed. He calls out, “I choose Katherine” – willing to sacrifice Angela for the safety of his own daughter.
Angela screams and Victor goes flying across the room as the lights in the room flicker. The young girl levitates and vomits black liquid before flat-lining, and while she seems to be dying, Katherine seems to get back to normal. This is only temporary, however, as the monitors flash and suddenly Katherine is the one who doesn’t have a heartbeat. As she dies, Angela wakes up in Victor’s arms. CPR and a defibrillator are used on Katherine, but they are no use. She is dead.
In the aftermath, the cops arrive. We see shots of the characters’ lives after their experience with demonic possession: Tony and Miranda meet at a restaurant alone, Victor visits the grave of his wife, and Angela goes to school and can’t help but see that Katherine’s chair is empty.
At the hospital where Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) is recuperating from being blinded by Katherine, her daughter Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) arrives, and they cry and embrace.
Why The Demon Lamashtu Kills Katherine
I could perhaps sum up this section with “Demons are assholes,” but let’s dig a bit deeper.
By itself, Lamashtu killing Katherine after her father “chooses” for her to live is a classic evil move. Tony gives into the seduction of the bargain, and he does a horrible thing by doing so: he is willing to sacrifice Angela’s life so that he can save the life of his own daughter. The reward for making this terrible agreement is the worst punishment imaginable.
At the same time, one can also see the parallel that is constructed between what happens in the first act versus the third act. At the start of The Exorcist: Believer, Victor is given the choice to either save his wife or their unborn baby when she is injured during an earthquake, and while he chooses his spouse, medical complications see his wife die and Angela survive. Lamashtu taunts Victor with this knowledge, and it turns out to be foreshadowing for what Tony does.
How Does This Set Up Things Up For The Exorcist: Deceiver?
One of the standout trends this year is the heavy lean into cinematic serialization. The summer was a season of “Part Ones,” with Fast X, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning each only executing half of a larger planned narrative. Given the announcement that The Exorcist: Believer was kicking off a full trilogy, there existed a possibility that the film would have an open-ended conclusion that would only be satisfied through two more movies… but that’s definitely not the case.
Unlike, for example, the ending of 2018’s Halloween, which provides a cliffhanger regarding the fate of Michael Myers, The Exorcist: Believer doesn’t have any obvious loose plot threads as far as the possession is concerned. There isn’t any specific indication that Lamashtu has stuck around, and while Victor, Angela, Tony and Miranda will have to deal with the trauma they endured, there’s nothing in the movie to suggest that they will have more demon-related issues in the future.
The story of Chris MacNeil also appears to be wrapped up now that she has been reunited with Regan. There’s obviously the possibility that the characters will return in The Exorcist: Deceiver, but the movie answers all raised questions (namely “Is Regan still alive?” and “Will she be able to forgive her mother for writing her book?”).
It’s entirely possible that the second chapter in the new Exorcist trilogy will be an independent narrative that isn’t built to be a continuation of what plays out in The Exorcist: Believer, and perhaps the third movie will be the one that ties everything together. It won’t be long before we find out more, as The Exorcist: Deceiver is scheduled to be released on April 18, 2025 – meaning that production will likely start in the first half of next year.
Starring Leslie Odom Jr., Lidya Jewett, Olivia O’Neill, Jennifer Nettles, Norbert Leo Butz, and Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist: Believer is now playing in theaters. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for all of the latest updates and news about the development of The Exorcist: Deceiver, and check out our Upcoming Horror Movies guide to learn about all of the scary features on their way to the big screen and streaming in the coming months.