What’s this, what’s this? There must be magic in the air Nightmare Before Christmas fans, because we’ve got some seriously shriek-worthy news for you.
That’s right, prepare to lose your heads (Mayer of Halloween Town-style) as the 1993 stop-motion animation classic is finally getting a sequel… just not in the way we expected.
The original film, which was adapted from a poem written by Tim Burton in 1982, tells the story of Halloween Town’s Pumpkin King/Jack Skellington, who has come to grow tired about all of the spooky hi-jinks associated with his town’s holiday.
So, when he discovers the glittering lights of Christmas Town, he becomes obsessed with stealing Santa Claus’ role for himself. However, Jack’s misguided attempts to help make the 25 December celebrations bigger and better than ever don’t exactly go to plan – and it’s not long before everyone’s hopes of a “Merry Christmas” is left dangling from a precipice...
The film was a surprise cult hit – not least of all because of its badass feminist undertones and outrageously catchy songs – and, for years, fans have begged and pleaded and bartered for a sequel.
Now, Jack’s reunion with his creepy crew has been confirmed, although it won’t be taking place on screen.
The illustrated series, Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey, will follow the undead duo as they re-visit the magical Christmas Town – and, while no other characters are confirmed for a return, our hopes are high for Sally to make her big comeback.
The rag doll’s backstory is a dark one: Sally was created by mad scientist Dr Finklestein in a bid to create his perfect Stepford-esque wife. However, she fights against his controlling and abusive behaviour, eventually escaping from the tower he keeps her locked in.
Finally free from his clutches, Sally forges a friendship with Jack, providing him with a constant voice of reason throughout the story – and, when the wicked Ooogie-Boogie Man kidnaps Santa, it’s none other than Sally who rushes to the rescue.
All in all, hers is a part that definitely deserves a spot in the sequel.
Levy didn’t comment any further on the story line for the comics, however he did throw us a bone about how many installments of the story we can expect, telling fans and press that Tokypop intends to create 20 singular issues, ready to launch in May 2018.
Explaining the production of comic books, he said, “We're going to have 20 issues total, and then just like with a comic, we're also going to have a trade paperback.”
“We're going to have four total trade paperbacks. The first trade paperback will come out next Halloween, so one year from now, the first trade paperback will be available.”
As any true Nightmare before Christmas fan knows, the poignant songs that feature in the film are part of what makes it truly special, evoking a magic that feels fantastically bizarre in the best possible way.
And, while the comic books won’t be able to carry a tune (although we’d love it if they could, a la singing-birthday-card style), they will have lyrics for new music written throughout the story, which Levy says is a ploy to tempt Burton back into working on the title.
When asked if the lyrics included in the comics would be turned into a soundtrack, Levy commented on his dreams of the original producer getting involved, “No music because it's a book, but my dream is that maybe he'd go, 'Wow, these are so awesome, I'm gonna write music for this'. Probably won't happen, but you never know."
So far, the news of a sequel has had mixed responses on social media, with lots of fans voicing their disappointment that another film isn’t being made.
One Twitter user didn’t sound too thrilled by the idea, writing, “Can't believe there's going to be a Nightmare Before Christmas 'sequel' and it's just a comic book about the bloody dog”.
Another admitted they felt rather let down by the announcement, tweeting: “Thought my all time favourite film had a sequel coming out, but it turns out it's a comic book series, not a film”.
Although we must admit we’re disappointed not to be (trick or) treated to another stop-motion version of Jack Skellington’s adventures, this timely announcement has given us plenty of inspiration for our Halloween costumes,
After all, life’s no fun without a good scare. Roll on the 31 October and the new sequel, already.
Images: Rex / Buena Vista Pictures