It’s been thirty years since Tim Burton’s iconic horror comedy classic debuted, and fans have been clamoring for a sequel ever since. Now, in the modern era of reboots and legacy sequels, there might finally be something to look forward to—but what is actually happening with Beetlejuice 2? Let’s take a look at the latest news surrounding the much-anticipated sequel.
The Hiatus Explained
Beetlejuice 2 has been in development limbo for so long that it’s become almost impossible to remember why it hasn’t already made its way into cinemas. The main cause of this delay has been difficulty in securing a script that both suits the original movie and is worthy of its own release. Over the years, Tim Burton has gone back and forth on his ideas for where the story should go—often citing creative differences as the reason he kept shelving proposals.
Finally, some progress has been made! After many false starts and months of speculation, Beetlejuice 2 officially entered pre-production in 2019. Sony Pictures is said to be behind the project, although no official announcement has yet been made. There are also rumors that Michael Keaton will once again take on his iconic role as Betelgeuse, but an official statement from Keaton himself on whether or not he’ll reprise his role is still pending.
The Return of Tim Burton?
One of the most exciting developments regarding Beetlejuice 2 is that Tim Burton may be returning to direct—or at least produce—the project. While Burton was originally attached to direct the film in 2011, he eventually left due to creative differences with Sony Pictures over casting choices (specifically concerning Keaton). However, it appears that these issues have since been resolved and Burton may now have a greater hand in production than initially anticipated.
The Beetlejuice sequel is rumoured to be under production at Warner Bros. as of February 2022. Most of the photography was intended to take place during the year, but since the spring, nothing has been said about it. Tim Burton was not expected to be the director, but Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder were expected to reprise their roles. He suggested that his involvement might have occurred in October, but no further word on that subject has yet to be. Other than the primary actors, Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B are the only names associated with a potential Beetlejuice sequel. The short version is that they launched the initiative about a year ago and then stopped talking about it. It’s entirely feasible that the actors and crew have been working silently for close to a year without producing even a single show. It’s also possible that the idea is still in its early stages of conception, but it’s taking longer than expected. Sadly, it’s also conceivable that the project has stagnated since the announcement was made too soon.
After Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’s enormous success, Tim Burton’s attention was initially drawn to the 1988 film Beetlejuice. Burton had already begun production on his Batman film, but studios were unwilling to grant him the required funding and rights to complete it. The acclaimed critical and financial failure Hot to Trot, which later went on to win many Razzie Awards, was among the many scripts the filmmaker received. Burton and screenwriter Michael McDowell collaborated on an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Burton found his concept far more compelling. The movie’s production was a fiasco. It was challenging to cast performers because the script turned off several Hollywood heavyweights. McDowell was ultimately fired over creative issues, which resulted in a completely different screenplay. A whole new film was shelved while Beetlejuice was being made, yet the finished product was a success. Its future successor will experience some difficulties.
There have been at least two earlier attempts at the Beetlejuice sequel. To create Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian in 1990, Burton hired Jonathan Gems, the screenwriter of Mars Attacks! The proposal feels like a spoof of the plethora of pointless sequels. For a Munster episode, it’s a mediocre concept. The Deetz family would have relocated to Hawaii, where Charles, played by Jeffery Jones, would have started work on constructing a resort. A strong Hawaiian native spirit would have been awakened by the construction and would start wreaking havoc. By defeating the new vindictive spirit in a surfing competition, Betelgeuse could portray himself as the victor. This was Burton’s original thought. He was captivated by the notion of making a beach movie like German Expressionism since it would purposefully look absurd. Because the now-defunct Geffen Film Company possessed the rights, this idea was never meant to be. Whatever the case, academics will always disagree on whether the project’s cancellation was good or bad.
More recently, in 2011, a fresh idea for follow-up was born. WB hired the author Seth Grahame-Smith to create the script and produce the movie. At the time, the return of Ryder and Keaton was dependent upon a strong hand, and Burton’s return was dependent upon their returns. Over the next eight years, there were intermittent news releases. Grahame-Smith said on television in early 2015 that the script was ready and that production would shortly start when producer Mike Vukadinovich of the film Kidding was enlisted to rework the script in 2017, which turned out to be inaccurate. The following two years were silent again. WB shelved the project in 2019. The second attempt to create a Beetlejuice sequel ended there. “It’s not the kind of movie that begs for a sequel,” said Burton in 2016.
Beetlejuice 2’s third attempt once showed signs of life, but things have been tranquil since. The well-liked stage production that debuted in 2018 rekindled enough enthusiasm for the setting to drive things over the top. Finally, WB assembled the ideal cast and team to revive the brand. Fans shouldn’t hold their breath at this time. Although Beetlejuice might rise from the dead, don’t be surprised if this prolonged death ends up being the one that endures.