Beetlejuice fans have waited more than 30 years for director Tim Burton to say “It’s showtime!” on a sequel to the 1988 classic. Although it was originally released in March, Beetlejuice has since become a Halloween favorite. In fact, it’s one of the rare “old” movies that tweens and teens seem to love as much as adults. With more and more nostalgic parents introducing the Michael Keaton-fronted horror comedy to their kids each year, now feels like the perfect time for the long-gestating Beetlejuice 2 sequel to finally happen — but will it? The uptick in fake promotional posters making the rounds on social media certainly has fans feeling like we’re getting closer than ever.
The good thing is Keaton is in the midst of a career renaissance. Not only did he recently win an Emmy for the Hulu limited series Dopesick, but he also reprised his role as Batman in the sadly shelved Batgirl movie. While it seems unlikely Batgirl will be released anytime soon, the 71-year-old actor’s willingness to revive the role of Batman is enough to give Beetlejuice fans hope that Keaton might don his striped suit one more time.
Rumors that Beetlejuice 2 is in the works have been swirling for years, but the truth is murkier than the rules of the Neitherworld Waiting Room.
Is Beetlejuice 2 in the works?
Back in February, Deadline reported that Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B was onboard to produce a Beetlejuice sequel. Unfortunately, there have been no further updates since then. At this time, no actors have been announced (although Keaton and Winona Ryder were rumored to star), there’s no writer attached, and there are zero details about when/if the movie will make it out of development purgatory.
What’s been said about a Beetlejuice sequel?
In a 2016 interview with Variety, Keaton suggested the time for a sequel may have passed. “It’s possible that ship has sailed,” he said at the time. “The only way to do it is to do it right. So much of it was improvised, and so much was beautifully handmade by the artist that is Tim Burton. If you can’t get close to that, you leave it alone.”
For her part, Ryder, who played the disaffected teen Lydia in the original, was more optimistic when she was asked about a potential sequel on Late Night with Seth Myers in 2015. “I think I can confirm it, because Tim Burton did this interview — like, it was very hush-hush, top secret … and then he was doing some press for Big Eyes and he did an on-camera interview, and he said, ‘Oh yeah we’re doing it and Winona’s going to be in it,’ and I was like [shocked face],” she said.
While the sequel Ryder spoke off has yet to materialize, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter writer Seth Grahame-Smith was attached to write Beetlejuice 2 at one point. In a 2021 interview with Collider, he shared why his version of the story didn’t make it to the big screen.
“It’s funny, when I had met with Tim about it last, and we’re talking about five years ago at this point, the reason that it’s so hard to get going is because so many people love it and because there are 10 million ways to get that sequel wrong and four ways to get it right,” he told the publication. “It’s such a very fine needle to thread that I certainly like didn’t get it there, on the script side. I didn’t thread the needle. There are things that were cool and some interesting ideas. I’ve certainly emotionally moved on from it and just said, ‘If it happens someday, it happens.'”
What would a Beetlejuice sequel be about?
As far back as 1990, Hollywood tried to crack the code to create a hit Beetlejuice sequel. The most famous failed attempt at a sequel was Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. As reported by Screenrant, the script was written by Mars Attacks! writer Jonathan Gems, and it followed the Deetz family (played by Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, and Ryder) as they attempted to build a resort on an ancient burial ground in Hawaii, which leads Beetlejuice to rouse the slumbering spirits.
However, Burton and Keaton opted to make a Batman sequel together instead. That might be for the best, given the cheesy vibes of the movie’s premise.
If Beetlejuice 2 ever happens, the story needs to stay true to the wonderfully weird spirit of the original. Just as importantly, it needs Keaton, Burton, and Ryder to all be game to return. Until then, it might be better to just enjoy the ’80s perfection of the original.