Somebody said the B-word. Warner Bros. has announced that a sequel to Beetlejuice is happening, and it now has a release date: September 6, 2024, the same day as Marvel’s Blade reboot (as of now; we’ll see what happens with that one). Tim Burton will return to direct, as will Michael Keaton in the title role (albeit with an alternate spelling) and Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz. Jenna Ortega will join them as Lydia’s daughter, as will Justin Theroux in an undisclosed role. Alfred Gough and Miles Millar will write the script, and Danny Elfman will be back to compose the score. There’s no word on what the plot will be yet.
That’s swell, I guess. I love Beetlejuice – I was able to see it in a theater this past October, which was a ton of fun, especially seeing little kids in costume and knowing that some of the greats still transcend generations – but I really don’t want this sequel. Beyond the track record of revisiting movies made over thirty years ago, Beetlejuice doesn’t need a sequel. It’s a singular story about this undead couple learning to live with the new owners of their home, with a trickster god villain caught in the middle. It’s hilarious, it’s spooky, it’s more heartfelt than you’d think, it’s wildly imaginative, and it’s awesome. This movie will have almost none of those characters; Adam and Barbara Maitland won’t be around because they died in their early 30s and Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are now in their 60s, and while Catherine O’Hara is still doing stuff, Jeffrey Jones is… unavailable. On the one hand, that’s good because their arcs were completed in Beetlejuice; on the other, the movie was mostly about them, with Betelgeuse as the catalyst for chaos. Lydia is an adult now, which can go horribly wrong if this isn’t written extremely well, and Alfred Gough and Miles Millar do not exactly have an impeccable track record. Jenna Ortega’s casting makes sense because she looks like a mini Lydia, but will she just feel like a Lydia knockoff? I’m glad Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, and Michael Keaton are all involved, but there’s only so much even these guys can do with a movie that probably shouldn’t exist. I’d rather see them all team up again for something original instead of reliving their past. But Beetlejuice was next on the list, so this was inevitable one way or another. It’ll be funny if this thing destroys Blade at the box office, though.