Movies

First look at 'Beetlejuice' sequel shows Michael Keaton back in action

Don't say it three times! Our first look at the sequel reveals that a death might kick off Beetlejuice's return.

A shot from "Beetlejuice Beetlejuice" is shown.
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Fans of Tim Burton's cult-classic movie "Beetlejuice" are getting a special treat this fall: Thirty-six years after the release of the 1988 original, Burton has filmed a sequel, and Michael Keaton is back in the title role. 

Based on the trailer, the follow-up appears to be every bit as kooky, funny and horror-tinged as the first one. It's set to hit theaters on Sept. 6.

The official title is "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice," which is no doubt a nod to the way you summon the ghastly lead character — one more utterance of that word makes it three times, which is when Beetlejuice appears.

Original "Beetlejuice" cast members — including Winona Ryder and Catherine O'Hara, who played Lydia and Delia Deetz, respectively — are also returning. 

There's also a new family member: Lydia's daughter, Astrid, who is played by Jenna Ortega. She's an apt pick, since she's already played another comedy/horror heroine, Wednesday Addams, in Burton's TV show "Wednesday."

The original "Beetlejuice" centered around a couple named Barbara, played by Geena Davis, and Adam Maitland, played by Alec Baldwin, who lose their lives in a car accident. Now they're ghosts haunting their old house, and they're unable to leave the premises when the insufferable new owners, the Deetz family, move in. They solicit help from the devilish Beetlejuice, who (comically) makes everything worse.

Since Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are not returning, we're expecting to learn that they made it out of the house, somehow. But there are some other new cast members arriving, including Willem Dafoe as a cop and former B-movie action star in the afterlife. Monica Bellucci (Burton's real-life love) will play Beetlejuice's wife, and Justin Theroux will play a mysterious character named Rory.

The sequel's first-look trailer gives a hint at what might kick off the new story. Delia, Lydia and Astrid stand by a gravesite with somber faces; could the story open with the death of Delia's husband, Charles, played by Jeffrey Jones in the original? 

Entertainment Weekly asked Burton about the opening scene, and he skirted the question, saying, "There's something that happens that sets things in motion."

In the moment we've been waiting for, Keaton appears as Beetlejuice at the end. Take a look:

The white-robed choir at the funeral sings strains from Harry Belafonte's "Day O," summoning one of the funniest scenes in the original movie. Though the trailer doesn't reveal much, it does seem like the sequel will also put a silly spin on death, which is what the original did best.

This story was originally published by Jennifer Graham Kizer on Simplemost.com.