- Beetlejuice 2 finally arrives after a 35-year wait and will be released on September 6, 2024, with some original cast returning.
- Cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos revealed that Beetlejuice 2’s story revolves around family themes and explores the complexities of keeping the Deetz family together after the events of the original film.
- The absence of characters Barbara and Adam Maitland, who played pivotal roles in the first film, is hard to fathom given Beetlejuice 2’s family history.
Beetlejuice 2’s new teaser for what the long-awaited sequel’s story will entail is thrilling, but also debunks the absences of two original characters. After 35 years of waiting, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice 2 is finally here, with the comedy horror set to hit theaters on September 6, 2024. As well as attracting new faces such as Jenna Ortega, Willem Dafoe and Justin Theroux, Beetlejuice 2 brings back some cast members from the original 1988 film, including Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara.
While most story details for the upcoming sequel have been kept under wraps, cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos said Beetlejuice 2’s story revolves around family themes. The cinematographer noted that “at its core, Beetlejuice 2 is a family story,” exploring the “intricacies” of keeping the Deetz family together over the past 30 years after the bizarre events of the original film. Beetlejuice 2’s family theme bodes well for Winona Ryder’s story of Lydia Deetz and her daughter, played by Jenna Ortega, but simultaneously makes the missing returns of two classic characters harder to understand.
Beetlejuice 2’s Family Themes Make Adam and Barbara’s Absences Weirder
Besides Charles Deetz, the only original main characters missing from Beetlejuice 2 are Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin). The two ghosts were the main protagonists of 1988’s Beetlejuice, as the pair died in the opening sequence before being assigned to haunt the living Deetz family outside their home. Throughout the wild events of Beetlejuice, Adam and Barbara form a close family bond with Lydia Deetz, Winona Ryder’s teenage goth. The film essentially establishes Barbara and Adam as Lydia’s surrogate parents given her unloving relationship with Charles and Delia, while Lydia becomes the ghosts’ surrogate child after the film’s implication that the Maitlands could not have of children.
Given that Lydia, Adam, and Barbara become their own family in the original Beetlejuice ending, it’s odd that the two ghosts don’t return for Beetlejuice 2’s family-centric story. Geena Davis has previously remarked that she wasn’t involved in Beetlejuice 2, which was already a disappointing update regarding the return of beloved characters. Considering the Maitlands are to remain in their home for 125 years after their death, set photos have teased the return of the Maitland/Deetz home, and the sequel is a story of family at its core, the absence of Adam and Barbara in Beetlejuice 2 is hard to explain. .
How Beetlejuice 2 Can Still Explain Adam and Barbara Are Not Returning
If House Deetz/Maitland is back in Beetlejuice 2, then explaining Barbara and Adam’s absences becomes much more complicated. The ghostly couple are only around 35 years old in the afterlife, so they still have 90 years left in their home. As such, one of the few plausible ways to explain Adam and Barbara’s departure during the events of Beetlejuice 2 is that they are in the waiting room of Neverworld. The couple’s first trip to the afterlife office revealed that the wait time is excruciating, and even a short wait time in Noworld could amount to months in the world of the living. Therefore, if the Maitlands are back in the waiting room, then they could reasonably be missing for the duration of Beetlejuice 2.
A more upsetting option for Barbara and Adam’s absences would be for the ghosts to be accidentally exorcised. The pair nearly disappeared into Beetlejuice when Otho accidentally performed an exorcism instead of a seance. It is therefore possible that this error has been made twice in the last 30 years. It would be hard to remove Adam and Barbara from a story centered on Lydia Deetz’s family and her own journey as the mother of a teenager. So Beetlejuice 2 must provide some compelling in-universe reason for their demise.
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