Everything We Know About Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice

It’s been on and off so many times in the past but Beetlejuice 2 is finally happening. Here’s everything we know about Tim Burton’s sequel.

Say his name three times. Do it. Unlike Candyman, most people would love to summon Beetlejuice. He’s the Ghost With The Most. The film Beetlejuice became an instant classic when it haunted theater screens in the spring of 1988. Burton’s visual aesthetic, along with the amazing performances by Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder, captivated audiences. The film easily grossed over $75 Million at the box office on a $15 Million budget. People loved the character, and he even got a Saturday morning cartoon spin-off that kids loved, but it’s taken thirty-five years for them to get Beetlejuice 2 (or as it’ s now called, Beetlejuice Beetlejuice) off the ground!

While, after many false starts, the Beetlejuice sequel has just about finished shooting, believe it or not, work on Beetlejuice 2 began not long after the original movie premiered! We did a whole video that dived into the production history that you can watch here, but here’s the gist of it:

what we know about beetlejuice 2 aka beetlejuice beetlejuice

Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian?

In 1990 Tim Burton was riding high on his Batman film breaking all sorts of records at the summer box office. He had a golden ticket to work on anything he wanted. As he was finishing up work on Edward Scissorhands, he began to turn his attention to what his next projects would be. He had another Batman film on the horizon but wanted to get working on one of his other projects. Burton hired British playwright Jonathan Gems to work on a script for Beetlejuice 2 called Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian.

Tim Burton wanted to take the character out of the dreary underworld and put him in the colorful and sun-filled islands. The Deetz family was going to move there to open a new resort. Turns out Charles didn’t do any research and ended up building it on the resting place of a great Hawaiian Kahuna. The spirit would come back to the world of the living and cause problems for the family and surrounding citizens causing them to call in the big guns. At one point Beetlejuice even wins a surfing contest by using his magic. It seems strange but Jonathan Gems said Burton loved the idea. “Tim thought it would be funny to match the surfing backdrop of a beach movie with some sort of German Expressionism because they’re totally wrong together,”

Keaton and Ryder both agreed to return on the condition that Burton would again be directing. Before work could get started on it Burton and Keaton got busy with Batman Returns. A few years later producer David Geffen would hire writer Pamela Norris to take a shot at rewriting the script. It eventually fell into development hell. Famously Kevin Smith was offered a chance to take a shot at it. He turned it down in favor of writing Superman Lives. When asked why he turned it down he replied, “didn’t we say all we needed to say in the first Beetlejuice? Must we go tropical?”

Eventually, the project died. When he was asked about the Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian script, Jonathan Gems said it was too late to make the film as Ryder had aged out of the part as it was written. They would have to recast and no one really wanted that.

what we know about beetlejuice 2

New After-Life

After two decades of sitting on the shelf, in 2011 Warner Bros. approached Seth Grahame-Smith about writing a new sequel and even producing it. He had worked with Burton on Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter previously. Smith said he signed to make sure it was “a story that is worthy of us actually doing this for real, something that is not just about cashing in, is not just about forcing a remake or a reboot down someone’s throat.” He said he had met with Keaton about doing the film, and he was on board.

They had gone over the story and Keaton seemed to be really excited to finally get back to the character. Ryder herself said that she was excited to return to the role but only if Burton and Keaton were involved. She stated that Lydia was an important part of her that she wanted to explore again 27 years later. Burton said that they had been working on the script and were excited to get started in 2014.

It seemed that the sequel was moving forward and everyone was happy . . . but that window came and went and no movement happened on the film. In 2015 Ryder was on a talk show and said she was for sure coming back to the role and that she couldn’t wait to get started. By 2017 screenwriter Mike Vukadinovich was hired to do a re-write of the script. In 2019 Warner Bros. confirmed that the project was in fact sitting in the waiting room of the afterlife. Burton and Keaton eventually did reunite, for the Disney remake of Dumbo in 2019.

michael keaton and Winona Ryder

Our only hope is . . . Brad Pitt?

With the project once again dead on arrival there looked like no hope of ever seeing a Beetlejuice 2… until Brad Pitt stepped in. Well, not Brad Pitt personally but his production company Plan B Entertainment. In February of 2022, his company announced its producing the new film, and sure enough – it actually happened this time.

Beetlejuice 2: The Cast

Burton has stated in the past that he would only do the film if Keaton agreed to return, but the stars aligned and it finally happened, We never thought we would see him back in the Batsuit either but hey, that happened too.

Costume designer Colleen Atwood confirmed that Keaton would be wearing his iconic black and white striped suit again, although she admitted that Keaton has more of an affinity for the Burgundy tux.

Other confirmed cast members include Winona Ryder, who’s reprising her role as Lydia Deetz opposite Catherine O’Hara, who also returns as her mother. I wouldn’t expect Jeffrey Jones to return as her father, following his infamous arrest many years ago – but we won’t go into that here…

Jenna Ortega, who previously teamed with Burton on Netflix’s wildly popular show Wednesday, plays Lydia’s daughter. Monica Belluci, who in real life is dating Burton (lucky guy!), is also in the cast, apparently as Beetlejuice’s wife, while Willem Dafoe apparently plays a dead B-movie action star, which sounds kind of hilarious. There’s also a rumour that Jean-Claude Van Damme has a cameo. Maybe as a former co-star of Dafoe’s?

When Will We See It?

As of now, Warner Brothers have set the release of the film for September 6, 2024. They recently put out the first poster, which also confirmed the new title, Beetlejuice Beetlejuice as well as the release date:

beetlejuice 2 poster

When will we get a trailer?

It’s highly likely that WB is planning to roll out a trailer, or at least a teaser, close to CinemaCon in April, although it could very well arrive sooner. Whatever the case, our first official look at Keaton in character probably isn’t far off.

Are you excited to see Beetlejuice Beetlejuice? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Bryan Wolford is a feature writer for JoBlo, and also writes scripts for both JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals, including a multi-part retrospective on the Highlander franchise. When not writing for the site, he’s an avid podcaster.