In the intervening years, Keaton’s showstopping and highly-quotable performance has become one of his most beloved and well-remembered, which is saying a lot for the same guy who went on to deliver a truly iconic Batman.
A sequel to Burton’s movie — which also starred Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara and a hauntingly-memorable use of Harry Belafonte’s earworm track Day-O — has been long-rumoured ever since, with many potential ideas kicking around with various writers attached.
However, after 2023’s CinemaCon appeared to confirm its existence, it's now official: Beetlejuice Beetlejuice has been conjured into the realm of the living. Here’s what we know about it so far.
When will Beetlejuice Beetlejuice be released?
Beetlejuice Beetlejuice is coming to UK cinemas on Friday, 6 September. The movie's title was revealed in February, teasing fans to say its star's name just one more time to return him to the land of the living.
While remaining relatively tight-lipped on the movie's production during production, Burton took to his Instagram page on in November 2023 to celebrate the end of the film's shoot.
Showing Burton reclining in death's waiting room - a scene first glimpsed in his original movie - Burton provided the caption "Just finished shooting Beetlejuice. Thank you to everyone involved."
What is the plot for Beetlejuice Beetlejuice?
As if coming to terms with being dead wasn't bad enough, the duo are further distraught when they discover a new family has moved into their recently-purchased family home.
In order to help usher Delia (Catherine O’Hara), Charles (Jeffrey Jones) and Lydia (Ryder) out, Adam and Barbara call upon the help of infamous bio-exorcist and undead nuisance Beetlejuice — but their scheme doesn’t exactly go to plan.
Ideas for Beetlejuice 2 go way back to 1990 when Burton reportedly hired the help of Mars Attacks! screenwriter Jonathan Gems to pen a sequel entitled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian.
Gems later told horror movie mag Fangoria that "Tim thought it would be funny to match the surfing backdrop of a beach movie with some sort of German Expressionism, because they're totally wrong together.”
Plot-wise, this undeveloped follow-up was said to follow Lydia in Hawaii where her parents are hoping to open a resort before Beetlejuice returns, foils their plans and wins a surfing contest using supernatural magic. Thankfully, this exotic sequel never panned out, with Burton instead shifting his focus onto 1992’s Batman Returns instead.
That’s not to say the director gave up on the concept though. Over the years, a number of writers were hired to retool the same idea, including Clerks director Kevin Smith before Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter scribe Seth Grahame-Smith was hired to dream up an entirely new vision for Beetlejuice Beetlejuice.
Having previously worked with Burton on his 2012 Dark Shadows adaptation, Grahame-Smith was reportedly determined to write a film that wasn’t just a cash-in exercise and even met with Keaton to discuss returning to the role.
"We talked for a couple of hours and talked about big-picture stuff. It's a priority for Warner Bros. It's a priority for Tim. [Michael's] been wanting to do it for 20 years and he'll talk to anybody about it who will listen,” he told Shock Till You Drop in a since-archived interview.
This new idea was reportedly set in real-time, 26 or 27 years after the events of 1988’s original. Ryder threw further fuel on the sequel speculation fire in 2013, telling The Daily Beast that: "I'm kind of sworn to secrecy but it sounds like it might be happening. It's 27 years later. And I have to say, I love Lydia Deetz so much."
However, despite promising statements from Grahame-Smith, Ryder and Burton in the years following, the project remained unmade and was ultimately shelved for good in 2019.
This changed in early 2022 when Brad Pitt’s company Plan B Entertainment announced that Beetlejuice Beetlejuice was back from the dead. Not long after, Burton teased his return with the project scheduled to start filming in summer 2023.
Alongside the release date announcement in May, Warner Bros. also confirmed that the forthcoming sequel's script was being penned by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the creative minds behind Netflix's Wednesday which Burton also worked on.
At the time of writing, little is known about what the finalised plot of Beetlejuice Beetlejuice will be and whether or not it will incorporate any elements of previous incarnations. During a chat with Empire, Keaton shared his excitement about the sequel and reassured fans that "we're doing it exactly like we did the first movie."
“Beetlejuice is the most f***in’ fun you can have working. It’s so fun, it’s so great. And you know what it is? We’re doing it exactly like we did the first movie,” he told the outlet.
“There’s a woman in the great waiting room for the afterlife literally with a fishing line — I want people to know this because I love it — tugging on the tail of a cat to make it move.”
He added: “We’ve both said we’re doing it many times. We both agreed, if it happens, it has to be done as close to the way we made it the first time. Making stuff up, making stuff happen, improvising and riffing, but literally handmade stuff like people creating things with their hands and building something.
"F***in’ great. It’s the most fun I’ve had working on a movie in I can’t tell you how long.”
Keaton doubled down on these thoughts in a chat with People in early 2024, saying that making the sequel was "the most fun I’ve had on set in a long time," adding “On one hand, you’d go, ‘Well, of course it’s the most fun. It looks like fun.’ As you know, it doesn’t always work like that."
He also hit home the movie's dedication to practical effects, saying "The one thing that [Tim] and I decided on early, early, early on from the beginning, if we ever did it again, I was totally not interested in doing something where there was too much technology. It had to feel handmade. It’s the most exciting thing. When you get to do that again after years of standing in front of a giant screen, pretending somebody’s across the way from you, this is just enormous fun.”
Keaton, continued explaining that “What made it fun was watching somebody in the corner actually holding something up for you, to watch everybody in the shrunken head room and say, ‘Those are people under there, operating these things, trying to get it right,’
“We thought, ‘You got to get this right. Otherwise, just don’t do it. Let’s just go on with our lives and do other things... So I was hesitant and cautious, and he was probably equally as hesitant and cautious over all these years. Once we got there, I said, ‘OK, let’s just go for it. Let’s just see if we can do it, if we can pull this off.’”
A few weeks later, the sequel's cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos let a few more details slip whilst promoting his work on Kenneth Branagh's A Haunting in Venice. “At its heart ‘Beetlejuice [Beetlejuice]’ is a story about a family,” Zambarloukos explained via The Wrap.
“And now it’s 30 years later and what are the intricacies and the human condition in keeping a family together all that time set in the craziest world possible? That’s why I choose projects. That human connection for me is always at the forefront.”
Who is in the Beetlejuice Beetlejuice cast?
Though the plot of Beetlejuice Beetlejuice is buried deeper than a long-forgotten crypt, we do know who will star in the sequel and fans will be delighted by how many of its actors will be familiar to them.
Luckily, the film will not be without Beetlejuice himself as Keaton is now confirmed to be returning to the franchise — and considering previous statements praising his partnership with Burton, it’s good too that the original director will also be back.
While not strictly a castmember, it's also good to know that Beetlejuice's iconic black and white striped suit will be returning from the dead as well, with costume designer Coleen Atwood revealing that: “Beetlejuice has to have a striped suit."
Interestingly, she also noted that Keaton believed the character was better known for the burgundy tux he wore during the climactic moments of Burton's original but Atwood reminded him that "The world happens to disagree... it's a funny thing."
Ryder will also be returning as Lydia, while is set to O’Hara reprise her role as Delia. The star of Burton’s most recent TV series project Wednesday, Jenna Ortega, has been cast as Lydia's daughter, Astrid.
Speaking about the role, Ortega said “I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say, but I am Lydia Deetz’s daughter, so I’ll give that away.
"She’s weird, but in a different way and not in the way you’d assume, I would say. The relationship between Lydia and Astrid, my character, is very important.
"And it’s also really strange because it’s a lot of catching up and putting the pieces together of what’s gone on in Lydia’s life since, which is nice, I think, for anybody who loves the character and is excited to see her again.”
Ortega also said she hopes Beetlejuice Beetlejuice will help introduce younger viewers to "weird, strange off-putting stories."
"I feel like studios nowadays, of course, they want people in seats, and you’ve got to do reboots or sequels or things like that to get people entwined, but to bring 'Beetlejuice' back — of all of the stories — is so good because people need to revisit weird, strange, off-putting stories again," she told Vanity Fair.
"We need to introduce the younger generation that’s always on the phone to new artistic and creative ideas.
"The weirder you get with it, the more people you can get to see it, I think will probably do a lot for film in general.”
According to Variety, Justin Theroux has also joined the cast but his role in the movie is being kept a secret for the time being. In addition, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Spectre star Monica Bellucci has been cast as Beetlejuice's wife, while Willem Dafoe will play a "law enforcement officer in the afterlife".
Speaking of his role, Dafoe told Variety "I haven’t seen any footage yet, but it was fun to do. I play a police officer in the afterlife, so I’m a dead person. And in life, I was a B-movie action star, but I had an accident and that’s what sent me to the other side.
"But because of my skills, I became a detective character in the afterlife. So that’s my job. But it’s coloured by the fact of who I was [when I was alive]: a B movie action star."
Dafoe later suggested that he perhaps shouldn't have let these details slip, saying: "It occurs to me that Tim Burton is probably one of those people who doesn't like people to talk about the movie...I think he probably thought, 'That f*****, he should have kept his mouth shut!' I had a weak moment, ya know! I spilled the beans, as they say."
It is not yet known if other cast members from the original, like Davis and Baldwin, will also be returning for the sequel.
Is there a trailer for Beetlejuice Beetlejuice?
Sadly, there is currently no trailer available for Beetlejuice Beetlejuice.
Beetlejuice Beetlejuice will be released on Friday, 6 September.