It appears that Beetlejuice 2 isn’t dead just yet. There’s been talk of doing a sequel for years, going back to Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian which was put into development directly after the success of the 1988 Tim Burton original. But that talk heated up quite seriously a few years ago when Seth Grahame-Smith was working with Burton on Dark Shadows and pitched the filmmaker on writing a script for Beetlejuice 2. Grahame-Smith got the go-ahead, then Burton, Michael Keaton, and Winona Ryder entered talks to return. But the whole thing kind of went quiet after a while, and last May Burton seemed to have somewhat cooled on it, saying he’d love to make Beetlejuice 2 but only under the right circumstances.
Well it looks like the fire has been lit once again, as Deadline reports that Mike Vukadinovich, who wrote the Sundance sci-fi indie Rememory, has been tasked with rewriting Grahame-Smith’s original script for Warner Bros. Grahame-Smith is still onboard to produce through his KatzSmith Productions, and Deadline says that Burton and Keaton have become excited at the thought of making Beetlejuice 2 while working together on Disney’s live-action Dumbo, which Burton is directing. However, firm deals are not in place for Burton or Keaton, so this is far from officially happening.
But yeah, it sounds like the juices are flowing again and Burton is keen on making this work. For prudence, here’s what Burton said in May 2016 about the status of the sequel:
“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.”
Beetlejuice remains one of Burton’s best films, and his latest efforts have lacked some of that mischievousness, so I’d be eager to see how he’d frame the character and story all these years later. Perhaps we’ll find out.