In news that may be a genuine but perhaps welcome surprise to fans of Tim Burton’s dark comedy cult classic, it looks like, after all of these years, Beetlejuice may actually be getting a sequel, and with some high profile cred attached to it. According to Deadline, Plan B, the production company run by Brad Pitt (yes, that Brad Pitt), has signed on to Beetlejuice 2, a project that has apparently been long rumoured but which may not finally be coming to fruition.
With that said, the production is still in the very early stages of development. There isn’t yet a script or any other names officially attached yet. We don’t know if any of the original classic cast are considering signing on. Will Winona Ryder (Stranger Things) return as gothy Lydia Deetz? Catherine O’Hara as her evilish stepmother, especially now that she’s found fame to a whole new generation via Schitt’s Creek? Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin as the poor, dearly departed Maitlands? And, of course, Michael Keaton as the raunchy demon/self-proclaimed ‘Bio Exorcist’ himself, whose name has to be said three times to make him appear?
And perhaps even more importantly, will Tim Burton come back as director? In recent years, while Burton has gotten a great deal of work, fans have come to grow tired of his tepid remakes of Disney films. A return to the darkly whimsical world of his early films could be a good opportunity to breathe fresh life into a career that’s grown a bit stale over the years.
The original Beetlejuice was highly acclaimed upon its original release, and took in a worldwide gross of about $75 million in 1988, and even won a Best Makeup Oscar in 1989, in addition to two BAFTA nominations for Best Makeup & Hair, and Special Visual Effects.
This also wouldn’t be the first time Beetlejuice was revived in some form. Not long after the original film, it was spun off into an animated series that ran for four seasons, beginning in 1999, and producing 94 episodes overall. In this version, Beetlejuice became a more likeable character who acted as a sort of mischievous guide for Lydia to navigating the wacky world of the supernatural.
And only a few years ago, in 2019, Beetlejuice became a Broadway musical that scored 8 Tony nominations and, despite not winning any, inspired its own passionate but loyal fan base. It was particularly praised for not being an exact replica of the original film, as many stage adaptations are, but instead more a thematic tribute that took the basic concept of the film and restructured it to focus more on Lydia and her grieving process for her deceased mother, while also being just as cheeky as the original film.
It will be interesting to see whether the sequel can pull off a similar trick of finding a fresh spin on this much beloved classic film without feeling like too much of a retread trading on nostalgia over finding new substance.
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