A favourite movie for this time of year is Beetlejuice — Tim Burton’s 1988 horror comedy featuring Michael Keaton as a raunchy, wisecracking bio-exorcist. And while watching Beetlejuice for the 20th or 30th time this Halloween, you may find your thoughts drifting to a certain subject in between Harry Belafonte sing-alongs: whatever happened to that Beetlejuice sequel Hollywood kept trying to make?
In a new interview with Collider, scriptwriter Seth Grahame-Smith (whose current project is Disney+’s R.L. Stine-inspired Just Beyond; he’s also working on HBO Max’s Green Lantern series) offered what almost passes for an update. Turns out he hasn’t talked with Tim Burton about Beetlejuice 2 in five years — and there’s a very good reason the film has taken so long to get off the ground, and may never get made at all, from his point of view. “The reason that it’s so hard to get going is because so many people love it and because there are 10 million ways to get that sequel wrong and four ways to get it right,” he said. “It’s such a very fine needle to thread that I certainly … didn’t get it there, on the script side. I didn’t thread the needle. There are things that were cool and some interesting ideas. I’ve certainly emotionally moved on from it and just said, ‘If it happens someday, it happens.’”
That certainly makes it sound like Grahame-Smith won’t be involved with Beetlejuice 2 moving forward, but he added a shred of optimism that if someone could make the busy duo of Keaton (who’s currently in Hulu’s new drama Dopesick and has Morbius and The Flash coming up) and Burton (whose last feature was Dumbo with Keaton; he also has Netflix series Wednesday on the way) intrigued by the story, it still might happen. Maybe. Possibly. “Michael Keaton is just as relevant as ever and, and Tim Burton is just as relevant as ever, but you have to have both of those people excited about something to do it,” he said. “I couldn’t get it there personally, as a writer, but maybe somebody else can,” he said.