The ghost with the most is returning to the realm of the living
Fri, 12 May 2023 at 11:57 am BST
Someone must have said his name three times because everyone’s favourite bio-exorcist is returning to the big screen in Beetlejuice 2.
It’s been 35 years since Tim Burton’s sophomore movie Beetlejuice first hit cinemas, with stand-up comedian-turned-actor Michael Keaton stealing scenes as the film’s titular ghost with the most.
In the intervening years, Keaton’s showstopping and highly-quotable performance has become one of his most beloved and well-remembered, which is saying a lot for the same guy who went on to deliver a truly iconic Batman.
A sequel to Burton’s movie — which also starred Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara and a hauntingly-memorable use of Harry Belafonte’s earworm track Day-O — has been long-rumoured ever since, with many potential ideas kicking around with various writers attached.
However, after 2023’s CinemaCon appeared to confirm its existence, it’s now official: Beetlejuice 2 has been conjured into the realm of the living. Here’s what we know about it so far.
Beetlejuice 2 release date
On Tuesday, 9 May, Warner Bros. finally shared a release date for Beetlejuice 2, though fans of the franchise will have some time to wait because Keaton’s beloved character won’t return until 6 September 2024.
Beetlejuice 2 plot
If you’re somehow unaware of 1988’s original, it followed Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis), a young couple who move into a new house and proceed to quickly kick the bucket. As if coming to terms with being dead wasn’t bad enough, the duo are further distraught when they discover a new family has moved into their recently-purchased family home.
In order to help usher Delia (Catherine O’Hara), Charles (Jeffrey Jones) and Lydia (Ryder) out, Adam and Barbara call upon the help of infamous bio-exorcist and undead nuisance Beetlejuice — but their scheme doesn’t exactly go to plan.
Ideas for Beetlejuice 2 go way back to 1990 when Burton reportedly hired the help of Mars Attacks! screenwriter Jonathan Gems to pen a sequel entitled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian.
Gems later told horror movie mag Fangoria that “Tim thought it would be funny to match the surfing backdrop of a beach movie with some sort of German Expressionism, because they’re totally wrong together.”
Plot-wise, this undeveloped follow-up was said to follow Lydia in Hawaii where her parents are hoping to open a resort before Beetlejuice returns, foils their plans and wins a surfing contest using supernatural magic. Thankfully, this exotic sequel never panned out, with Burton instead shifting his focus onto 1992’s Batman Returns instead.
That’s not to say the director gave up on the concept though. Over the years, a number of writers were hired to retool the same idea, including Clerks director Kevin Smith before Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter scribe Seth Grahame-Smith was hired to dream up an entirely new vision for Beetlejuice 2.
Having previously worked with Burton on his 2012 Dark Shadows adaptation, Grahame-Smith was reportedly determined to write a film that wasn’t just a cash-in exercise and even met with Keaton to discuss returning to the role.
“We talked for a couple of hours and talked about big-picture stuff. It’s a priority for Warner Bros. It’s a priority for Tim. [Michael’s] been wanting to do it for 20 years and he’ll talk to anybody about it who will listen,” he told Shock Till You Drop in a since-archived interview.
This new idea was reportedly set in real-time, 26 or 27 years after the events of 1988’s original. Ryder threw further fuel on the sequel speculation fire in 2013, telling The Daily Beast that: “I’m kind of sworn to secrecy but it sounds like it might be happening. It’s 27 years later. And I have to say, I love Lydia Deetz so much.”
However, despite promising statements from Grahame-Smith, Ryder and Burton in the years following, the project remained unmade and was ultimately shelved for good in 2019.
This changed in early 2022 when Brad Pitt’s company Plan B Entertainment announced that Beetlejuice 2 was back from the dead. Not long after, Burton teased his return with the project scheduled to start filming in summer 2023.
Alongside the release date announcement in May, Warner Bros. also confirmed that the forthcoming sequel’s script was being penned by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the creative minds behind Netflix’s Wednesday which Burton also worked on.
At the time of writing, little is known about what the finalised plot of Beetlejuice 2 will be and whether or not it will incorporate any elements of previous incarnations.
Beetlejuice 2 cast
Though the plot of Beetlejuice 2 is buried deeper than a long-forgotten crypt, it has now been revealed who will star in the sequel and fans will be delighted by how many will be familiar to them.
Luckily, Beetlejuice 2 will not be without Beetlejuice himself as Keaton is now confirmed to be returning to the franchise — and considering previous statements praising his partnership with Burton, it’s good too that the original director will also be back.
Ryder will also be returning as Lydia, while the star of Burton’s most recent TV series project Wednesday, Jenna Ortega, has also been cast as Lydia’s daughter.
According to Variety, Justin Theroux has also joined the cast but his role in the movie is being kept a secret for the time being. In addition, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Spectre star Monica Bellucci has been cast as Beetlejuice’s wife.
It is not yet known if other cast members of the original, like O’Hara and Baldwin, will also be returning for the sequel, but news is likely to be shared once production begins.
Beetlejuice 2 trailer
Sadly, with the film still in its early days of production there’s no trailer available for Beetlejuice 2.
The original Beetlejuice is available to buy or rent on VOD.