Wasn't the whole moral of Beetlejuice not to raise unnecessary spirits from the grave? Well, according to Jeff Sneider of The Wrap, Tim Burton is not taking that lesson to heart. Sneider reports that Burton is "officially in talks" to direct the sequel to his 1988 film, and that Michael Keaton is likely to reprise his role as the troublemaking "bio-exorcist."
Now, it's not like this is completely out of the blue as there has been talk of a Beetlejuice sequel for years. The earliest example we could find was a 1988 press release from The Geffen Film Company (which produced the original) claiming it had "definite plans to make a sequel to Beetlejuice." The archives of the trades are littered with various reports of writers being hired to take a crack at a script. In a 1992 Miami Herald story about how Daniel Waters came to write the script for Batman Returns, he explains that he first met with Burton about the Beetlejuice sequel.
"Tim had this attitude that he was deathly afraid he was going to have to make this movie," said Waters. "It was like, 'I dare you to write a script that will rouse me from my Batman stupor.'" In a 1996 Liz Smith column for Newsday, Michael Keaton was quoted at the premiere of Multiplicity as saying Burton was still looking for a writer. "I'd love to do a Beetlejuice' followup. It's something Tim Burton and I have discussed endlessly," Keaton said 17 years ago. "It's a matter of the right script, but I hope it happens." Interviewed by Vulture in January, Burton himself said he'd "have to see what the script was like and if it was worth doing."
So, this has been a long time coming. The latest report Seth Graeme-Smith, who wrote Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, taking a crack at the script. Apparently, Burton was impressed. Maybe also helpful is that Graeme-Smith is partners in production company KatzSmith with David Katzenberg, the 30-year-old son of Jeffrey Katzenberg who founded DreamWorks with David Geffen and Steven Spielberg.
So, who knows if this will get any further than the past attempts. But we share Burton's wariness: with new Jurassic Park and Terminator films are on their way out and it's long odds that they will recapture the magic of the originals from the 80s and 90s. But if it does come to pass, we can only hope it involves bringing Winona Ryder back to play an adult version of her teen goth role and returning Alec Baldwin to his younger, hunkier self. Cue the Harry Belafonte.