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Though we've been hearing about Tim Burton's Beetlejuice 2 for years now, the truth is that we really don't know much about the film's plot. Of course, we will see the return of Michael Keaton's titular ghost with the most, and reports have even confirmed the return of Winona Ryder's Lydia Deetz, but any details beyond that are a mystery. As a result, any new info is kind of newsworthy, including the time period setting for the film.
The Hollywood Reporter recently had the chance to sit down with Beetlejuice 2 screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, and while he couldn't say much about what we can expect from the sequel or the plot, he did confirm that the film will be set in present day. The trade doesn't have any direct quotes from the filmmaker, but he also apparently confirmed that the film will be taking a Michael Keaton-suggested "less is more" approach with the eponymous character (noting that the original didn't have the obnoxious, disgusting freelance bio-exorcist appear until the middle of the story).
So what exactly does Beetlejuice 2 being set in present day actually mean? It's somewhat hard to say. Part of the charm in the aesthetic of the original is that it has a strong timeless quality, with Tim Burton's bizarre style suggesting that the story could very well be taking place on a whole other planet. So does this mean that the sequel will be a bit more modernized? It will be interesting to see if the setting has any really significant effect on the story outside of explaining why all of the characters are older.
Word of Seth Grahame-Smith's involvement with Beetlejuice 2 first popped up all the way back in 2011 when he was hired by Warner Bros. to work on the screenplay. The time since then, however, has been a bit rough for the screenwriter. His first collaboration with Tim Burton, 2012's Dark Shadows, was torn apart by critics and wound up flopping hard (partially thanks to it being released one week after Joss Whedon's The Avengers). A few months later, cinemas saw the release of Timur Bekmambetov's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - a film adapted by Grahme-Smith based on a novel he wrote - and that too experienced the same fate of its box office predecessor. The performances of these two projects haven't seemed to phase either Tim Burton or the folks at Warner Bros., as both still seem to have confidence in his vision for Beetlejuice 2.
Those starting to really look forward to the Beetlejuice sequel may not want to start holding their breath just yet. As of one month ago, Michael Keaton was still telling people that the script is still being worked on, and Tim Burton currently has Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children lined up as his next project. So when will we actually get to see the present-day set Beetlejuice 2? I would put my bets on sometime in 2017.