It’s difficult to say, for the time being, if everyone should be more excited or nervous about Tim Burton directing Beetlejuice 2, given his mixed filmmaking output in recent years.
Fortunately, the quirky director has a few intriguing projects lined up for him to make before he resurrects The Ghost with the Most, drawing from a script that was penned by Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). If Burton is able to maintain his current stride, then he could build on the momentum he gained from last year’s well-received Frankenweenie; and thus, get everyone more enthused about seeing a Beetlejuice sequel in the near future.
Assuming that Burton’s negotiations result in a deal, the plan is for him to steer the ship on Beetlejuice 2, with Michael Keaton once again playing the title character – who, after 25 years, is still perhaps the most widely recognized pale-faced Burton protagonist (not played by Johnny Depp, that is). But will a 42-year old Winona Ryder also reprise her role from the original film as Lydia Deetz, the (former?) Goth who narrowly avoided becoming a wedded teenager back in the day to a much older man (scandalous, to say the least).
“I’m kind of sworn to secrecy. But it sounds like [‘Beetlejuice 2’] might be happening.”
It was well over a year ago that Ryder said that she was headed to meet up with her Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands director, in order to find out for herself if there was any fire behind all this sequel talk smoke. Judging by her latest comments (combined with the recent updates on the project), it’s safe to say the answer was “yes”; moreover, that Ryder will be involved with the Beetlejuice sequel, if it does in fact come to fruition.
Ryder, like everyone else associated with Beetlejuice 2 to date, knows that she’s treading on sacred ground her, as she admitted to The Daily Beast that “It’s a very precious movie to people. So there are a lot people like, ‘DON’T.'” Indeed, as was discussed on a past episode of the Screen Rant Underground Podcast, the original Beetlejuice movie was an exotic bird in the 1980s – a PG-Rated comedy with F-bombs, freaky creatures that gave many a kid nightmares and twisted skewering of yuppie culture – today, it’s difficult to imagine such a movie ever managing to get a green light (from a lesser-known director, anyway).
However, the fact that Beetlejuice 2 is not a remake/reboot of the franchise, but instead a genuine continuation of the original film, is part of what many people find intriguing about it, Ryder included:
“It’s not a remake. It’s 27 years later. And I have to say, I love Lydia so much. She was such a huge part of me. I would be really interested in what she is doing 27 years later. That’s one of those movies where little kids stop me. I’m so associated with it. I think it gave me my career. I was such a weird looking kid.
“I would never go near [a sequel] if it was not Tim and Michael. Because those guys, I love.”
Ryder has been playing second fiddle to other actors in her recent live-action films (Star Trek, Black Swan, The Iceman) – she was also part of the voice cast on Frankenweenie – so it would be a welcome change of pace for her to play a more central role, especially in a quality Beetlejuice sequel. As mentioned before, though, Burton has some other items on his plate to finish before that can happen, including the true-story memoir Big Eyes and novel adaptation Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars.
More on Beetlejuice 2 as it becomes available.