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Beetlejuice’s original ending has been revealed – and it’s seriously dark

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Kayleigh Dray
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Daylight come and me wanna go home…

Everyone who’s anyone has seen Beetlejuice by this point. For those who haven’t, however, the concept is pretty easy to get on board with: Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) are very happily married. So, when they die in a car accident, they initially assume they’ve found their very own version of heaven when they wind up as ghosts in their beautiful country residence.

While Barbara and Adam enjoy one another’s company, though, are driven bonkers when the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the house. After all, watching someone rip apart the home you dedicated years of your life to and fill it with frighteningly modern art is, understandably, the stuff of nightmares.

As such, the Maitlands attempt to scare the Deetzes away… without success. And it isn’t long before their “spooky” efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a sleazy spirit whose “help” quickly becomes incredibly dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia.

Thankfully, all ends well: not only do the Maitlands forge an alliance with the Deetzes, but they also become something like surrogate parents to the previously suicidal Lydia.

It is this unusual friendship that encourages her to forge new friendships with her peers, apply herself academically and, y’know, dance a spiritual jig whilst levitating.

However, screenwriter Larry Wilson has since revealed that the film was not supposed to have such a happy ending. 

That’s right: some three decades after the film’s release, Wilson has explained to Yahoo! that, instead of finding happiness in the realm of the living, Lydia was originally supposed to die in a pretty horrific way.

“Our first ending was Lydia – she died in a fire and was able to join Barbara and Adam in the afterlife,” he said.

“A couple of people said to us, ‘Do you really think that’s a good idea? Is that really the message you want to be sent to the teenagers of the world? Die in a fire?’ So, yeah, it probably was darker.

Wilson also let slip that the movie almost had a completely different title.

“The title that I remember being suggested, pretty much before the release, was House Ghost,” Wilson explained.

“I bet it was David Geffen who said no to that, and a big firm no. There were marketing people within Warner Bros. who thought no one would know what Beetlejuice was, but they’d know what a house ghost was. Thank God [they went with Beetlejuice]. I would not like to be here talking about House Ghost the movie.”

Of course, rumours have been swirling about a possible Beetlejuice sequel for some time, but there’s still no confirmation.

Last year, Winona Ryder told Collider: “I don’t really know what’s going on with that.

“Obviously, it was an iconic film. The only way it could really ever be done is with Tim [Burton] and Michael [Keaton]. I don’t know. There’s something that really resonates with all ages, with that film. It’s interesting.

“I think it would be great if it happened, if it was the right circumstances. Gosh, you know you’re getting older when they’re making TV shows, sequels or plays for things that you did. It’s very flattering and very humbling, indeed. I heard they were making another Little Women. Mine was the fifth one, so that’s kudos to Louisa May Alcott. It’s just very flattering.”

Tim Burton also commented on the project, with him expressing keen interest for a sequel.

Speaking to ShowbizSpy, Burton said: “The film is a go and has been approved by the Warner Bros. team, we have talked with the cast members we wanted for the film and they are all on board, this includes both Winona and Michael. We have the script in hand everything is in place all we need to do now is get ready to start filming.”

However, Deadline later reported that neither Ryder nor Burton had officially signed on to the project – and that writer Mike Vukadinovich had been brought on board to rewrite Seth Grahame-Smith’s script for the sequel.

Image: Warner Bros

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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