Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Halloween! Proceed with caution.
Even before David Gordon Green's Halloween reboot-quel hit theaters, there was speculation about a possible sequel. So far there hasn't been any firm confirmation that such a sequel is happening. Producer Jason Blum seems open to the idea and rumors indicate that a sequel could be on the way sooner rather than later, but that is different from an official announcement.
That said, The Shape may not talk, but money does, and given the record-breaking success that Halloween enjoyed this past weekend (a franchise best opening at $77.5 million), a sequel seems inevitable. So with a sequel all but certain, we can begin to muse about where a Halloween 2 could go and what characters will be a part of it.
To that end, there is one Halloween character that I don't want to be a part of the sequel. There's one character that this franchise needs to leave behind and who needs to stay dead. It's Michael Myers.
Before I elucidate the reasoning behind this blasphemous assertion, let's take a look at where the new Halloween leaves the Boogeyman. At the end of the film, after another murderous rampage on All Hallows' Eve, Michael Myers at last bites off more than he can chew when he faces the three Strode women.
A well-placed shot from Judy Greer's badass Karen, some quick knifework from Andi Matichak's Allyson and the fierceness of Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode best the killer and trap him in the basement of Laurie's home. This clever trap is more than a prison; it's an execution chamber. Gas is pumped in to the basement and Laurie Strode sets the entire home ablaze.
With no escape from the basement, this is seemingly the end of Michael Myers. However, there is a shot showing the stairs in the basement on fire with Michael no longer on them, so there is some ambiguity about whether or not he truly met his end. Then, as the credits roll, you hear the killer's signature breathing within his mask, the implication being that Michael Myers will live to kill again. That would be a mistake.
If Michael Myers were to survive, the question is how. That basement was designed as a trap, with no way out. Sure there were small windows, but they were surely too small for Michael Myers to fit through. It was underground, so he wasn't punching through a wall to get out either. Based on what we know about the basement and Michael Myers, he should not have made it out. The shot with him missing on the stairs could be chalked up to him going to another part of the room in an attempt to escape.
Laurie Strode has been living with the specter of Michael Myers for 40 years. Her obsession over his potential return and killing him was her guiding principle. Her relationship with her daughter was damaged because of her single-mindedness about surviving the Boogeyman. So after all that hardship and preparation, you mean to tell me that there was a Death Star-esque fatal flaw in her basement trap? I don't buy it.
Beyond that, if Michael Myers somehow managed to find an escape, that cheapens the ending of Halloween. David Gordon Green's film ends with the three women, all wounded but breathing, riding away from Laurie's house, which was a training ground, an armory and a prison, but never a home.
This ending represents a hard won victory over the villain that has haunted Laurie Strode for decades, overcoming the trauma through confrontation. To have this victory undone in a sequel would retroactively diminish this film, the journey of the Strode women, the brilliance of the trap and the elation of the triumph.
The other thing to remember is that Halloween retcons everything after the original 1978 film. The Halloween franchise has dabbled in the supernatural before, but that has been erased from the current canon. So this pair of films stands as a somewhat grounded horror story. If Michael Myers were to escape death this time, it wouldn't be.
He is a force of nature that is pure evil, but ultimately Michael Myers is still a man. The opening of the original film and Michael Myers' first kill at the age of 6 proves as much. Although his strength and ability to survive multiple wounds pushes against the border of supernatural abilities, he is still firmly on the human side. If he were to either survive being roasted alive or to have powered out of that basement, that would push this franchise over the edge into the supernatural.
Part of what makes Michael Myers so scary is that he isn't some demonic entity or supernatural being. He's just an evil human that only knows one thing, and that's killing. This representation of evil is scary because it can arise in the most unlikely of places, like within a child. This evil doesn't require satanic rituals or ill-placed graveyards, and it isn't the work of some 'other', a physically normal person can be the Boogeyman, and that is infinitely more unsettling.
Those are the problems with bringing Michael Myers back for a sequel, but it's unfair to highlight a problem without even trying to offer up a solution. So where does a Halloween 2 go without Michael Myers? I know the very idea seems antithetical but I think there are some options.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch attempted to turn the franchise into an anthology series of horror films, moving beyond Michael Myers. Regardless of that film's shortcomings, this isn't the worst idea. Halloween could turn into a series of horror films simply set on the titular holiday.
Having said that, I think that people like the slasher aspect of Halloween, and even without Michael Myers, some of the franchise's DNA must be left behind. If Michael Myers proved that true evil can exist in the hearts of men, who is to say that he's the only one? A sequel could see a new killer in the mold of Michael Myers begin his own rampage. Heck, he or she could even keep using the same mask.
Halloween explored the trauma such malice leaves behind in its victims, and there is material worth exploring there, as we see whether Karen and Allyson react the same way Laurie did. Halloween also showed that evil takes many forms, and the way Dr. Sartain was willing to kill to study it shows another direction that a sequel could go by following someone like him or the foolish podcasters that provoked Michael.
I don't know the perfect answer, but I think if you set the sequel on Halloween and keep it a slasher, there are ways Halloween can move beyond Michael Myers. A Halloween sequel may not seem like Halloween without the iconic killer, but to stay grounded and honor David Gordon Green's film, Michael Myers needs to stay dead.