Word that Beetlejuice 2 - a followup to director Tim Burton's beloved 1988 horror-comedy - is actively being developed leaked out a couple months back... and the general reaction to this news, (as is to be expected) was mixed at best, hostile at worst. If there is one matter that most people seem to agree on, though, it's that Michael Keaton ought to be brought back to reprise his famous turn as the "ghost with the most" in a Beetlejuice sequel.
However, according to the project's scribers/producers David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith, that is exactly what they are planning to do.
When Katzenberg and Smith (a.k.a. KatzSmith) struck their deal with Warner Bros. to pen Beetlejuice 2, the plan was to craft the film as a semi-reboot that still advances the plotline of Burton's original movie. In a recent interview with EW, the two reiterated that idea - since, according to KatzSmith, many a person has (angrily) been under the mistaken impression that the two were essentially working on a Beetlejuice remake.
Here is what the duo had to offer, on the topic of Beetlejuice 2:
"When Warner Bros. came to us about it, we said the only way we’d do it if we got Tim [Burton’s] blessing and involvement, and we got that, and the star of the movie has to be Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice, and it’s a true continuation 26 years later. Not just throwing him in as a cameo going, 'Hey, it’s me. I endorse this movie.' We’re not there yet [with Keaton] because we don’t have a film to present to him."
Keaton had somewhat of a comeback year in 2010, between his voicing Ken in Toy Story 3 and amusing supporting turn as a TLC-quoting police captain in The Other Guys. However, whether or not he's particularly interested in reprising his role as the eponymous "freelance bio-exorcist" is another matter.
Similarly, although Grahame-Smith has seemingly established a good working relationship with Burton - seeing how he scripted the director's upcoming Dark Shadows movie and was able to get his "blessing" to work on Beetlejuice 2 - that doesn't guarantee the Gothic filmmaker is actually interested in helming the sequel... or being creatively involved with the project in any meaningful sense.
It's difficult not to feel like a Beetlejuice sequel - which reunites Keaton and Burton - is basically past its expiration date, at this point. Even so, the prospect of Keaton donning ghastly makeup and iconic black-and-white striped suit again is definitely one a lot of fans will like. Plus, based on his most recent work, Keaton is arguably still up to play Beetlejuice with as much manic energy and panache as he did all the way back in 1988.
Perhaps the bigger issue right now is whether or not KatzSmith can actually pound out a worthwhile screenplay for Beetlejuice 2. Like the currently-in-development Dumb and Dumber 2, that could be the key element that allows this project to become the rare good belated sequel to a comedy classic.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of Beetlejuice 2 as more information is released.