The long-gestating sequel to director Tim Burton's hit fantasy comedy Beetlejuice is moving forward with a new writer. Released in 1988, Beetlejuice quickly became and has remained a favorite of Burton fans, thanks in large part to the helmer's unique directorial sensibilities and the high-energy performance by Michael Keaton, who starred as the titular character. A ghost hired by a recently deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) to scare away the humans occupying their home, Beetlejuice boasted a brilliant ensemble that also included Winona Ryder and Catherine O'Hara.
The teaming of Burton and Keaton in the film led to director to cast his star to play the lead in the blockbuster big screen adaptation of Batman the following year, and while the dynamic duo re-teamed for a sequel with Batman Returns, the specter of a Beetlejuice followup has been floating around in the ether for years yet has never been able to find solid footing. Hope for Beetlejuice 2 sprung from the hiring of author and screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith to write a screenplay around the time the scribe and Burton teamed together to make the big screen adaptation of Dark Shadows in 2012, but since that point, plans for proceeding with the sequel have not yet materialized.
Beetlejuice 2 got a huge shot of life on Thursday, however, as Deadline reports screenwriter Mike Vukadinovich has been hired to rewrite the script at Warner Bros., the studio that produced the original film. Grahame-Smith is remaining with the project, and will produce the film with David Katzenberg under the duo's KatzSmith Productions banner. Deadline says no deals are in place yet for either Burton or Keaton. In 2016, Burton said he'd "really like to do in the right circumstances," but there was nothing "concrete" with the project at the time. Burton also confirmed at the time that he's talked with Keaton and Ryder about the prospects of a sequel.
While Vukadinovich's sole screenwriting credit to date is this year's sci-fi mystery Rememory starring Peter Dinklage and the late Anton Yelchin, clearly KatzSmith and the studio saw tremendous promise in the writer to bring him on-board the hotly anticipated project. The timing certainly seems to favor the production moving forward, given that Burton and Keaton reunited for the first time in 25 years to film the helmer's live-action version of Walt Disney's Dumbo. On top of that, KatzSmith is coming off the monolithic success of producing Stephen King's IT, which recently became the top grossing horror movie of all-time and the first horror movie ever to cross the $300 million plateau at the domestic box office.
The hiring of a scribe to rewrite the Beetlejuice 2 script will no doubt be received with open arms by fans of the cult classic. If it proceeds with Burton, it will mark a rare occasion for the director, who generally avoids making sequels, save the production of Batman Returns.
We'll keep you updated on Beetlejuice 2 as more information becomes available.