Beetlejuice 2 is a sequel that’s been rumored to happen pretty much ever since director Tim Burton’s original film hit theaters in 1988, shortly before becoming a horror/comedy classic in its own right. Discussions of the Beetlejuice followup becoming a reality were rejuvenated after years of little to no progress in 2011, when author/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith (who wrote Burton’s Dark Shadows) was recruited to put together a fresh Beetlejuice 2 script draft.
Michael Keaton’s return to the spotlight, thanks to his performances in the Best Picture Oscar-winning films Birdman and Spotlight, gave the press many an opportunity to ask the actor if he would, in fact, be reprising his role as “The Ghost With the Most” in the future. Keaton confirmed the possibility, while Beetlejuice costar Winona Ryder likewise revealed to the public that she, Burton, and Keaton have been talking about the sequel again.
Burton, who produced the upcoming Alice Through the Looking Glass and directed this fall’s new release Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, offered an update on Beetlejuice 2 to Collider during the press day for Miss Peregrine’s. As you can see from his quote below, the sequel may yet happen – but it’s best that fans not start holding their breath until the film’s release.
“This is the thing, it’s something that I’m interested in, but there’s so many stories [online], dumping Michael Keaton for Johnny Depp and this or that, and I’ve talked to these people and they didn’t wanna hear this so they just made up a story. But the fact of it is I have talked to Michael and I have talked to Winona, I’ve talked to a few people. It’s something that I really would like to do in the right circumstances, but it’s one of those films where it has to be right. It’s not a kind of a movie that cries out [for a sequel], it’s not the Beetlejuice trilogy. So it’s something that if the elements are right—because I do love the character and Michael’s amazing as that character, so yeah we’ll see. But there’s nothing concrete yet.”
Reports that Beetlejuice 2 had been green-lit were quickly denied by Burton’s rep this past March, though throughout 2014 and 2015 Burton, Ryder, and Keaton alike indicated that said sequel is closer than ever to actually becoming a real thing. However, scheduling is probably part of the issue here, as Keaton has been been keeping busy starring in the biopic The Founder and may begin filming American Assassin later this year. Meanwhile, Burton is currently set to direct a live-action Dumbo movie for Disney and that particular Mouse House live-action fairy tale film is expected hit theaters in either 2017 or 2018 (meaning Burton should be starting production on the film within the next 6-12 months).
The other (and, arguably, the bigger) issue, as noted by Burton, is that Beetlejuice isn’t necessarily a movie series that demands further franchising at this stage. Most of the belated comedy sequels released in recent years (such as Dumb and Dumber To and Zoolander 2) have left the moviegoing masses feeling like the original films should have been left alone as products of their time and not revisited in the first place. Moreover, whereas fellow ’80s property Ghostbusters may yet find new life by going the “hard reboot” route (though, that’s a hot debate topic), a Beetlejuice followup without the original players involved isn’t something that most people seem to have any interest in. So, until Burton and co. are fully onboard, it’s probably best that Beetlejuice 2 stay in development purgatory.
We will bring you more information on Beetlejuice 2 as it becomes available.