Beetlejuice 2: Will Michael Keaton Return For A Sequel?

There has been talk of a Beetlejuice 2 with Michael Keaton interested, but he has not officially signed on for a sequel

By Doug Norrie | Published

It’s now been well over three decades (35 years in March 2023, actually) since we’ve seen the black-and-white striped suit, green hair, and demonic clown face of everyone’s favorite house haunter: Beetlejuice. Michael Keaton’s famous character was first introduced way back in 1988 and quickly became part of the zeitgeist thanks to a career performance from the lead, a dark script, excellent direction, and a goth vibe that played a bit differently at the time.

Well, now it’s looking like we might finally get a Beetlejuice 2 all of these years later and some original cast members might even be returning. Let’s take a look at everything we know about Beetlejuice 2. 

MICHAEL KEATON HAS NOT OFFICIALLY SIGNED ON FOR BEETLEJUICE 2

michael keaton beetlejuice 2

This is the operative question, almost more than anything else. While we are definitely in the era of the reboot, with old ideas recycled into new versions, it’s still tough to imagine a Beetlejuice 2 without Michael Keaton who was basically the driving force in the success of the first movie.

While not the only piece that made it a classic, Keaton’s acting turn here was brilliant, bringing out every bit of the psychotic, though an extremely cerebral version of the character. That Keaton was basically able to embody all the chaos of a demon while also going out his business in a somewhat “normal” way was one of the keys to the movie’s success.

As of this writing, Michael Keaton had not officially signed on for Beetlejuice 2. There have been rumors along these lines though with Small Screen reporting an exclusive last year that the actor would return for the next story. Time has passed without any other confirmation along these lines, but there’s at least some reason to believe it will happen.

But in terms of official casting, Keaton has only two projects set in stone on the docket right now. Those are with him reprising another iconic character when he dons the cape and cowl again as Batman in The Flash and then in Batgirl within the DC Extended Universe. UPDATE: Unfortunately, the Batgirl film has since been shelved with Warner Bros saying it will never see the light of day. The Flash, though, still remains a possibility even with star Ezra Miller’s ongoing troubles.

GEENA DAVIS IS READY FOR A RETURN, EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE UNDERLYING FACT

Ghosts, as far as we can tell, do not age. When Geena Davis was cast as Barbara Maitland, she was coming off a wonderful turn as Veronica Quaife opposite Jeff Goldblum’s Seth Brundle in David Cronenberg’s gory, yet effective, remake of the 1950s classic, The Fly. At the time, Davis was a 32-year-old young pup with many more movies to come.

Today, Davis is 66 years old and while she would love nothing more than to make a Beetlejuice return, the 34-ish year difference between Barbara then and Barbara now may be too much to overcome.

“I want to play every character I’ve ever played again,” Davis told PEOPLE, but then she continued on, raising the question many would have. “I have a feeling that ghosts don’t age,” she muses. “How would they explain that they’re older?”

Of course, the filmmakers could always go the same route Martin Scorsese took with Robert DeNiro in The Irishman and de-age Davis. With the technology getting better and better, there is a chance she could look more realistic. They are, in fact, also using this technology for flashback scenes in the upcoming and untitled Indiana Jones 5 film that will see the now 80-year-old Harrison Ford don his famous brown Fedora-style hat for the last time.

BEETLEJUICE FIRST CAME OUT IN 1988

michael keaton beetlejuice 2

The character was first introduced back in 1988 and was played by the great Michael Keaton. The actor was already pretty well established in the comedic landscape, but this movie was definitely a departure from the norm even at the time. The titular flick, directed by the great Tim Burton was a dark comedy through and through. Whether Beetlejuice 2 picks up along the same lines, remains to be seen, but there is good reason to think we’d be getting something like a full reset with this one.

That’s because Beetlejuice was a particular play on the haunted house theme, giving us a new window into how these movies could be comedic. Essentially a couple, Adam and Barbara Maitland are killed in a car crash only to find out they are meant to haunt their former home. A new family buys it though is stereotypically impossible with a rich businessman, his joke of a wife, and their goth daughter, Lydia Deetz. 

Lydia is the only one who can see the Maitlands in their ghostly presence. The latter, wanting to run the Deetz’s out of the home call upon Beetlejuice, a demon with a penchant for destruction, to do the job. But it all goes pretty haywire with the Beetlejuice getting a little too into the work and falling in love with Lydia along the way.

It’s a fantastic movie and considering the nature of the character, a Beetlejuice 2 could definitely work, even bringing back some of the original characters for an updated story.  

WINONA RYDER HAS EXPRESSED INTEREST IN BEETLEJUICE 2

It might be easy to forget, but from a creative and casting standpoint, the original Beetlejuice was just stacked even outside of Michael Keaton. For starters, Winona Ryder played teenager Lydia Deetz. It was a breakout performance from the actress, one that really set her career into hyperdrive. One would have to think we’d be able to catch up with this character as an adult. 

We’ve talked about Geena Davis’ desire to return, but what about Alec Baldwin? With his legal troubles in his accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, in which a settlement has been reached between Baldwin and Hutchins’ husband, would producers even go there? Chances are likely not.

 Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hare played the elder Deetzes and could be in line for a return. Not everyone makes it through this original movie, but remember we are talking about the dead here and a world in which the afterlife has been turned essentially into a DMV-like government bureaucracy. There is a lot of latitude for how one could bring characters back into the mix if they saw fit.

TIM BURTON WILL DIRECT IF MICHAEL KEATON RETURNS

tim burton

Almost as much as Michael Keaton, the question of whether Tim Burton would return to the director’s chair for Beetlejuice 2 weighs heavily on the prospects for this film. It’s worth mentioning here that there have been a number of starts and stops along the way in bringing about a sequel for this film.

The idea has been bandied about, and even put into motion numerous times basically ever since the original hit the big screen in 1988. The first iteration was a plan for Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian back in 1990. It was going to involve the Deetz family again, reprising the original roles and calling on Michael Keaton to join them in the tropics to help solve a demonic dilemma in the hotel they are building. But that one died on the production vine.

Then things kicked back into gear in the 2010s when Seth Grahame-Smith was tasked with developing another script for Burton. Over the course of the decade, there were a few little odds and ends suggesting it was getting close to actually being greenlit. Even Johnny Depp was rumored to be coming into the title role and since that rumor, another has taken its place (that we reported on) is that Tim Burton has reached out to Depp for an undisclosed role in the film.

The latest news here is that, according to Deadline, Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B has taken over some of the reins, though in what respect isn’t totally clear. 

BEETLEJUICE, BEETLEJUICE, BEETLEJUICE

The stars are starting to slowly align, so the answer to the most important question (will it happen?) is: it’s looking like it can happen. But considering how many years it’s been since the original and how many speed bumps it has hit along the way, it’s hard to put a lot of faith in a Beetlejuice 2 happening with Michael Keaton back in the lead role. That being said, we are in a different day and age when it comes to content, especially in terms of movies.

With the streaming wars at full throttle and every platform looking for as much content (especially legacy content) they can find, the hopes of reboots and sequels have never been higher. We will have updates on Beetlejuice 2 as they come in. Just don’t say that name three times.