Return to Halloweentown is a Disney Channel Original Movie that premiered on October 20, 2006. It is the fourth and final installment in the Halloweentown series. In this sequel, Marnie Piper (Sara Paxton) and her brother, Dylan Piper (Joey Zimmerman), go to Witch University to attend college in Halloweentown. While at college, dark forces try to control her magic. The premiere scored 7.8 million viewers. The DVD was released on August 28, 2007.
Marnie and Dylan are are going to follow their dreams to go to college, at Halloweentown University, which is also known as Witch University. Marnie is offered a full scholarship for her good deeds and for her work in the previous years. Much to her mother Gwen's, dismay, Marnie goes, and her brother Dylan reluctantly forced along by Gwen, to keep an eye on her. The school is not what it seems. At the school, witches and warlocks can't use magic, instead they learn about Shakespeare and old magic history. Marine had thought she was going to learn how to use her magic and is now crestfallen. She runs into her old friend Ethan (Lucas Grabeel) and makes a new friend in Aneesa the Genie (Summer Bishil). She also makes three new enemies in the Sinister Sisters, a triad of malevolent witches with whom Dylan is immediately infatuated and are the daughters of Silas Sinister (Keone Young).
Sadly, Marnie discovers that she in fact is responsible for the restriction on the use of magic at the University. The University was originally established only for Warlocks and Witches to learn how to use magic, but when the portal was opened, most of them went to college in the mortal realm. Because of that, Witch University had to let several different creatures come to the school so that the teachers would actually have students to teach. Since then, the school has allowed mortals and other magical beings to attend. The classes are boring for Marnie until a box, with the name "S. Cromwell" inscribed on it, magically appears in front of her. Most people at the school believe that Marnie used her magic to conjure up the box, but it was brought to her by fate, and was therefore out of Marnie's control. Marnie meets with one of her professors, Miss Periwinkle, and asks for an explanation. Miss Periwinkle tells Marnie that the S. stands for Splendora, but not a word more about it is mentioned. Chancellor Goodwin tells Marnie that she believes that she did not conjure up the box, and that it was indeed fate which brought it to her.
Marnie and Dylan attempt to discover the secret of the box, and he reveals that he used magical speed reading at home to skip a grade. He uses it again secretly and learns that the box contains the Gift, though the Gift itself remains unknown to them. Meanwhile the Sinister sisters use Dylan's infatuation with them to make him do their homework for them.
Later, Ethan tells Marnie about a mysterious group known only as the Dominion and realizes that the Gift is near and they will try to use Marnie to open the box. Marine tells Ethan that they are the good guys and tells Ethan he's not a good boyfriend. Marnie decides to go into the past to meet Splendora and learn about the true nature of the enigmatic gift. Splendora explains that the power of the Gift is the power to control anyone by the force of will, a power that witches are forbidden to use. Marnie realizes that her principal and Dr. Grogg are in the Dominion and Splendora bestows upon her the key to the box containing the Gift. Also, Splendora is revealed to in fact be Marnie's grandmother Aggie. Agatha is her middle name and she hates the Splendora part so she eventually dropped it. Marnie returns to the present to open the box, but before she does, she creates the Halloweentown giant pumpkin for Splendora, telling her she'd need it. Surprisingly, stated by Splendora, Marvin (Merlin's cousin), is Marnie's great-grandfather. This is given as a hint when Splendora tells Marnie, "...even King Arthur said that the whole royalty thing was harder than it looked."
Chancellor Goodwin steals the Gift for the Dominion and the Sinisters, in order to use it to take over Halloweentown. Knowing that only a Cromwell can use the Gift, the Sinister Sisters (working with the Dominion) transform Dylan into a dog to compel Marnie to comply with their demands. If the Sinisters and the Dominion don't turn him back he will stay that way forever after Halloween passes. They agree to return him to his natural form if Marnie controls Halloweentown for them. While it seems that she has agreed to aid them in their heinous plot, she is really fooling them, and turns on them once her brother is released from the dog transformation spell. Together Marnie, Dylan and Gwen destroy the Gift with help from Aneesa, Marnie's genie friend. The Dominion, having been discovered for the evil ones that they are, attempt an escape, but are apprehended by none other than Professor Periwinkle who has revealed herself to be an undercover detective of the Halloweentown Anti-Dominion League. She imprisons them in a Witch's Glass where she has stripped them of their magic and arrested them for treason.
The malevolent Sinister Sisters lose their powers, but Marnie learns that Ethan has willingly gave his powers up. Marnie and Ethan begin a new relationship and leaving on a date. The movie ends when Dylan discovers that Marnie didn't destroy the Gift, but instead left it for him in a book. Since spells cast on the grounds of Witch University become permanent at the stroke of midnight, the Gift belongs to him, the only person Marnie trusts with its power. Saving the power of the Gift for important uses only, he puts the book back showing a glowing, red S at the end of the film.
- Sara Paxton - Marnie Piper (credited)/Young Splendora Agatha "Aggie" Cromwell (uncredited)
- Judith Hoag - Gwen Piper
- Lucas Grabeel - Ethan Dalloway
- Joey Zimmerman - Dylan Piper
- Kristy Wu - Scarlett Sinister
- Keone Young - Silas Sinister
- Millicent Martin - Professor Periwinkle
- Summer Bishil - Aneesa
- Leslie Wing - Lwaxana Goodwin
- Debbie Reynolds - Splendora Agatha "Aggie" Cromwell
- Scott Stevensen - Dr. Ichabod Grogg
- Katie Cockrell - Sage Sinister
- Kellie Cockrell - Saphire Sinister
- Christopher Robin Miller - Young Troll/Burp-Urp-Snurt-Pfsfsfsfst III.
Legendary Creatures seen at Witch University
- Witch or Warlock
- Were Cat
- Jack -O-Lantern
- It was originally entitled Halloweentown IV: Witch U.
- In this movie, the role of Marnie Piper is played by Sara Paxton, who took over the role from Kimberly J. Brown.
- Emily Roeske's character, Sophie does not make an appearance in this movie, as she is in witch training with Debbie Reynolds' character Aggie who only appears briefly in this movie.
- It is reveals that Marnie's grandmother's full name was Splendora Agatha Cromwell but after stopping the Dominion's plan to take over Halloweentown, she shortened her name to Agatha "Aggie" Cromwell.
- Aggie is 1018 years old because Halloweentown was created 1000 years ago and she was 18 at the time.
- A cast member of the cult-horror film Troll 2 makes a small cameo in the film. Actor Darren Ewing plays the Morose Cashier in the grocery store.
- Dylan is revealed to have used his powers to speed-read in High School: this is why he skipped a grade and is in college. He claims this is all he uses them for though. Besides using them to help apparently destroy the Gift, he does not use them at all. Before this he only ever used his powers on screen to help destroy Kalabar after he gained them, and to open the portal between the two worlds.
- This movie also reveals the origin of the Halloweentown giant pumpkin: Marnie created it in the past for Splendora to use.
- There was to be a fifth movie starring Kimberly Brown but she didn't sign for the movie roll which was eventually dropped.
- The Halloweentown giant pumpkin and Benny's taxi are different in this movie.
- Time Travel Spells are used for the second time, the first time being in Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge.
- Kimberly J. Brown stated "Well, Let me just say that I wanted to do the fourth one and was fully available for the shoot — Nothing makes me happier than playing Marnie. Disney decided not to use me for the fourth one, I’m don’t know why. I was definitely disappointed not to do it," despite claims that she was unavailable for filming.
- Kimberly J. Brown has also publicly stated her disappointment with the recasting. BuzzFeed stated the first three movies are the best thing about Halloween, and that the fourth film was "best left ignored", while MTV said everyone should pretend Return to Halloweentown never happened, due to the recasting.