Michael Keaton Revives Iconic Role in 'Beetlejuice 2' Sneak Peek at CinemaCon

Winona Ryder reprises her role in a supernatural sequel.

by Nouman Rasool
Michael Keaton Revives Iconic Role in 'Beetlejuice 2' Sneak Peek at CinemaCon
© Jerod Harris/Getty Images

And he resurrected a cult classic for a new generation, making a triumphant return that sees Michael Keaton's jolt of electricity deliver with all he had to promise fans eagerly awaiting the sequel to their iconic film "Beetlejuice." More than three decades since he wowed audiences with his irreverent mix of comedy and the macabre, Keaton joined the original creative genius Tim Burton and his "Beetlejuice" co-star Catherine O'Hara in a surprise at CinemaCon, being held at Caesars Palace.

The ensemble cast took time to tip their hat towards the fans and theater owners from the stage, saying the sequel isn't a nostalgic trip but a fresh, exciting journey into the netherworld. Keaton, who reprises his role as the mischievous poltergeist, said with a sense of optimism that turned to excitement for the "Beetlejuice 2" development: "It's really fucking good." All the hallmarks of Burton as a filmmaker, humor, horror, and the surreal, were up front as the trailer showed a first look at the film.

The sequel, penned by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, of "Wednesday" fame adds Jenna Ortega to the mix, bridging past and present with a story that puts the gray area between the living and the dead at the fore.

Lydia's Haunting Return

The film also features the return of Winona Ryder in the role of Lydia, bridging the legacy from the original to this new story, of a single mother who unwittingly calls on Keaton's character from the afterlife.

Before a story where the boundary of the living and the dead blurs, Ryder teases with the profound question in the trailer: "The living. The dead. Can they co-exist? The cast is rounded out by Justin Theroux, Monica Bellucci, and Willem Dafoe, all bringing their unique talent to the haunted landscape of "Beetlejuice Beetlejuice." Neither Ryder nor Ortega was able to get out to CinemaCon because of the work on filming engagements, but watching the members work, you would never know that given the chemistry, let alone their comedic tang.

As Keaton said about their combined performance, "so friggin' funny." But reflecting on the original "Beetlejuice," which went on to be not only a box-office sensation but served as the source inspiration for a Broadway musical, the sequel is rising from years of speculative development once envisioned by Burton in his usual cheeky, contrary sense to move the storyline from New England's Gothic feel to the tropical set points of Hawaii—a concept since shelved for returning to the film's roots.

Keaton and Burton picked up where it left off, their prime concerns aimed at rekindling the charm of the first by emphasizing the magic of the detail-oriented sets, make-up, and props that birthed its whimsically haunting aura.