If you’ve been waiting for the long-rumoured Beetlejuice sequel, we have some bad news. It seems that Tim Burton is finally ready to admit that the beloved “ghost with the most” might never be resurrected on film. When asked by USA Today for news about the sequel during press for Dumbo, Burton had little more to say beyond “Nothing, nothing”, followed by “I don’t know. I doubt it.” when asked if the sequel would even happen. He declined to discuss the topic further.
This news comes as a disappointment for Beetlejuice fans, but hardly as a surprise. In the past three decades, the tentatively-titled Beetlejuice 2 has had more than a few false starts. After the first film became a hit, a sequel was greenlit. An early script known as Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, penned by Jonathan Gems, gave us Betelgeuse and Deetz family antics as the Deetzes attempt to build a Hawaiian resort atop ancient burial grounds. That film never went into production, so we’ll never get to see Betelgeuse win a surfing competition, or if Lydia gets a tan. More than a few Beetlejuice 2 scripts have been written since Gems’s (the Hawaii angle was dropped around 2011 when Dark Shadows collaborator Seth Grahame-Smith was asked to work on a direct sequel to Beetlejuice. Grahame-Smith’s script was said to be completed and ready to enter production around 2015, but ultimately it never took off). Most recently in 2017, Mike Vukadinovich (Rememory) was reportedly tapped to rewrite.
And so over the past thirty years, it seems that interest has ebbed and flowed, but Beetlejuice 2 just either never picked up enough steam or never found the right angle to become the Beetlejuice sequel we’ve been anticipating. We’ll never know which (or if there’s another, entirely different reason) and that’s okay. Surely fans would agree that, after all this time, our expectations for a Beetlejuice sequel would be high and hard to meet. At least we have the classic 1988 film, fond memories of the animated series, and a live musical adaptation hitting Broadway.