Tim Burton loved making Beetlejuice. The 1988 ghoulish comedy, starring Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Michael Keaton as the ghost with the most, was his first big hit and the movie that established the director’s reputation as an eccentric master of the fun-house macabre that would soon blossom in Batman and Edward Scissorhands. In recent years, while promoting films like Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie, Burton often fielded questions about making a sequel, and he’s consistently expressed enthusiasm for the idea and revealed that he even tasked screenwriters Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg to come up with some new Beetlejuice ideas.
Now Warner Bros. is officially inviting Burton to direct the long-awaited follow-up, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Though Warner Bros. and Burton did not respond to requests for comment, sources have confirmed that discussions are happening. Still, the forward motion shouldn’t exactly be confused for downhill momentum. First off, Burton seems set to next direct an adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children for Fox. Secondly, Grahame-Smith and Katzenberg were intent on making their script a true Beetlejuice sequel centered on Michael Keaton’s character with Keaton. “The star of the movie has to be Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice, and it’s a true continuation 26 years later,” Grahame-Smith told EW in 2011. “Not just throwing him in as a cameo going, ‘Hey, it’s me. I endorse this movie.’”
Alas, Keaton hasn’t even read the most recent Beetlejuice script, according to a source. So you can keep humming along to “Jump in the Line,” but it seems like everyone’s feet are still planted firmly on the ground right now. At best, it feels like it’s almost shoooowtime.