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Beetlejuice 3 Can’t Be Avoided Now Due To 36-Year-Old Franchise Rule (Even If Tim Burton Doesn’t Want It)


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  • Beetlejuice 3 seems likely to happen due to the franchise’s own “Rule of Three” and the potential for the title “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice.”
  • If Tim Burton directs Beetlejuice 3, it would be his first-ever trilogy and make history for the filmmaker.
  • While the return of the characters after Beetlejuice 2 seems inevitable if it’s a box office hit, Burton will likely only make Beetlejuice 3 if there is a more captivating reason to continue the story.



With Beetlejuice 2 already underway, one of the franchise’s original in-universe rules suggests that Beetlejuice 3 will be impossible to pass up. While it took 36 years for Beetlejuice 2 to finally happen after Tim Burton’s 1988 horror-comedy, the sequel actually coming to fruition wasn’t too surprising. Beetlejuice’s original ending left open the possibility of Michael Keaton’s titular ghost returning, with countless opportunities for him to keep wreaking havoc on the living and dead alike. The cult classic has also maintained a strong place in pop culture over the past 36 years, with a new generation being added to the focus of Beetlejuice 2 through Wednesday‘s Jenna Ortega, whose character provides an enticing future for Burton’s franchise.

Burton’s Beetlejuice 2 premieres on September 6, 2024, yet the franchise’s future prospects are already being discussed. Despite helming or producing several iconic movies with the potential for follow-ups, such as Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton has only directed two sequels across his entire filmography. Before Beetlejuice 2, the last sequel Burton directed was Batman Returns (1992), the acclaimed successor to his 1989 Batman movie. However, despite how selective Burton has been about making even one sequel to his movies, it seems Beetlejuice 3 will be too tempting to avoid.

Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, and Catherine O’Hara will reprise their original roles in Beetlejuice 2. Jenna Ortega and Willem Dafoe have joined the sequel as Lydia’s daughter and an afterlife detective, respectively.

Beetlejuice’s Rule Of Three Makes Beetlejuice 3 Way More Likely

Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis & Alec Baldwin) sitting in Juno's office with Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice in the middle

Among the most important features of the original Beetlejuice movie is its “Rule of Three.” Throughout the film, it becomes apparent that most elements of the afterlife are associated with the number three, such as ghosts only getting three appointments with a caseworker, needing to knock three times to enter the Neitherworld, the Maitlands being in the waiting room for three months, and, most memorably, needing to say “Beetlejuice” three times to summon or expel the titular character. Even one cut line from an early Beetlejuice script reveals, “Rule Number Three. Everything comes in threes” (via Script Slug).


Tim Burton’s New Beetlejuice 2 Detail Reveals A Harsh Reality About Returning Characters

Tim Burton’s photo on the set of Beetlejuice 2 reveals the return of an iconic location, but doesn’t bode well for some original characters.

With three being such a powerful number in the franchise, it makes it difficult to ignore the long set-up for Beetlejuice 3. Furthermore, from a marketing perspective, using “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” for a third movie’s title would be hard to pass up for Warner Bros. While Tim Burton making Beetlejuice 3 would seem unlikely given his history with sequels and franchises, such as Burton not wanting The Nightmare Before Christmas 2 despite the original’s lasting success, an exception could be made given its perfect trilogy formula. Should Beetlejuice 2 become the box office hit that it’s expected to be in 2024, the push to develop Beetlejuice 3 is bound to grow even stronger.

Beetlejuice 3 Happening Would Make Unlikely History For Tim Burton

This collage shows Delia, Beetlejuice, and Jenna Ortega's unnamed character which all have a green overlay with a purple outline in Beetlejuice.

If Tim Burton were to direct Beetlejuice 3, the follow-up would make history as the filmmaker’s first trilogy. Burton has never directed three movies in a series, though he came close to helming more DC-related films after his unmade Catwoman spinoff and Superman Lives movies. With Beetlejuice arguably being the movie that launched Burton into the mainstream as a highly talented gothic horror-comedy filmmaker, it would be an unexpected move to see him turn it into a full-fledged movie franchise over 36 years later.

Furthermore, while Beetlejuice 3 seems inevitable due to the iconic “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” line and the franchise’s own Rule of Three, just because it can happen doesn’t mean it should. Burton has seemingly only returned to Beetlejuice‘s characters because enough time has passed to warrant a follow-up with a compelling story, so he’s not likely to make Beetlejuice 3 simply because a clever title or in-universe rule makes it more tempting. Rather, unless Beetlejuice 3 has a captivating reason to continue Beetlejuice and the Deetzes’ tales, it may be best to conclude the franchise with the highly-anticipated story of Beetlejuice 2.

Source: Script Slug

Beetlejuice 2 Poster

Beetlejuice 2

Beetlejuice 2 is the sequel to the original Tim Burton classic that starred Michael Keaton and Wynona Rider in a horror-comedy that involved ghosts trying to scare off new homebuyers from taking their house. The sequel brings back Michael Keaton as the hilarious and sleazy ghost with selfish intentions, now joined by Jenna Ortega in a new role.

Release Date
September 6, 2024

Warner Bros. Pictures

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