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Just like the real R.L. Stine, Jack Black's version of the author in the 2015 Goosebumps movie wrote a number of children's horror stories, only in this world, the monsters from his mind were real. So when Goosebumps 2 was confirmed to be in development at the beginning of this year, one wouldn't have been foolish to think that Black would reprise Stine. However, apparently an reprisal from Black isn't as concrete as previously believed, because it's being reported that that the sequel could move forward without him.
Rob Lieber, who has written Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and the upcoming Peter Rabbit, has been tapped to a Goosebumps 2 script, although there are several scripts that Sony is keeping around, so there's no guarantee that this is the one the studio will select. In any case, Lieber's treatment reportedly doesn't have a role for Jack Black's R.L. Stine, although this could change down the line if the actor doesn't have any scheduling issues with the sequel. As it stands now, Black doesn't have a deal set in place to return.
As the Variety report noted, excluding Jack Black from Goosebumps 2 could be a way for Sony to keep costs down, as the actor's salary is supposedly between $6 million to $8 million, and Goosebumps movie was made off a $58 million budget. The movie went on to make over $150 million worldwide, but it's safe to say that keeping Black as a lead would continue to be an expensive decision. However, other Goosebumps 2 scripts at Sony do have Black's R.L. Stine in the story, so there's always the chance tat one of these stories will be selected for filming instead.
In the Goosebumps movie, Jack Black's R.L. Stine wrote the Goosebumps stories when he was young as a way to frighten the people who made fun of him, but when the monsters became real, he locked them away in manuscripts. But such a method of imprisonment only works for so long, and when the monsters were freed during the movie, Stine, his daughter Hannah, new neighbor Zach and Zach's friend Champ had to quickly work to trap them once more. Given that Stine, be it the real man or Black's fictional version, is responsible for all the Goosebumps creatures, it's hard to imagine a follow-up story without his presence, whether he's directly seen or indirectly felt within the narrative. Rest assured, we'll keep you updated on Jack's involvement, or lack thereof, in Goosebumps 2 when more information comes in.
Previously scheduled for January 26, 2018, Goosebumps 2 is now expected to be released on September 21, 2018, although given that Sony reportedly hasn't selected its script yet, not to mention hasn't begun casting, don't be surprised if the sequel is delayed again. As we wait for more updates on Goosebumps 2, make sure to look through our 2018 premiere guide to find out what else is coming out next year.