Why Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice 2 Is Such A ‘Hard’ Film To Make, According To The Sequel’s Former Writer

Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

It’s been 33 years since Beetlejuice hit theaters, and the film has enjoyed an enduring legacy ever since. From taking on a cult-like status to laying claim to one of the best musical movie moments in history, the horror-comedy classic left fans wanting more. While there have been rumors for years that a sequel was on its way, Tim Burton has yet to start rolling cameras again. And according to a screenwriter who was once tasked with creating a script for a sequel, there’s a reason why it’s been such a hard movie to make.

While many classic films of the ‘80s have had sequels or reboots, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice remains a bit of a rarity. Several years ago Seth Grahame-Smith started working on a script for Beetlejuice 2. While the announcement of a potential sequel - finally - had the internet abuzz, he made some significant progress, to the point that he even met with Tim Burton and Michael Keaton to discuss the direction he could take. 

Fast forward a few years later, and it seemed as though the sequel plans had been abandoned. The screenwriter didn’t reveal all the details as to what happened when he recently spoke with Collider -- but he did share why he thinks it’s so difficult to get the film off the ground: 

It’s funny, when I had met with Tim about it last, and we’re talking about five years ago at this point, 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. It’s such a very fine needle to thread that I certainly like 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.’

Knowing that the reality of the follow-up is more “if” than “when” might be disappointing for some fans. Seth Grahame-Smith later made it clear that one thing in particular has to align in order for the sequel to happen:

Yeah. 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. I couldn’t get it there personally, as a writer, but maybe somebody else can.

One thing is for sure -- it’s impossible to imagine a Beetlejuice sequel without Michael Keaton, who seems to be busier than ever these days. So it makes sense why his approval is a must-have, even though that means we might be waiting forever. 

Still, there may be some hope for fans. Earlier this year, there was speculation once again that a sequel was in the works -- this time with an added rumor that frequent Tim Burton collaborator Johnny Depp would be on board. Until something more concrete is announced, just keep saying “Beetlejuice” three times and hoping for the best. 

Katherine Webb