Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice is now officially 30 years old and it’s been revealed that the original ending of the beloved film was much darker than the song and dance routine that we’re all so familiar with. Beetlejuice is the project that officially gave Tim Burton his original voice and style that many have copied since. The bizarre mix of horror and comedy is a common fixture throughout all of the director’s projects, even if it’s subtle.
In a new interview, Beetlejuice co-writer Larry Wilson says that the original ending was much different. The happy ending is wonderfully bizarre and only fits because, well, it’s a Tim Burton project. However, Wilson reveals that the ending wasn’t always so uplifting and happy. Wilson explains.
“Our first ending was Lydia, she died in a fire and was able to join Barbara and Adam in the afterlife. 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 sending to the teenagers of the world? Die in a fire? So, yeah, it probably was darker.”
Even with the dark ending, Beetlejuice would have still been a hit. And though it may have seemed dark on the page, Tim Burton and the crew more than likely would have made it less morbid, and more cheerful like the ending of the film that made it. On the other hand, one can see why people were a little put off by the idea of Wynona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz passing away at the end of the movie. It’s tough to look back, but it’s doubtful that the original ending would have hurt the popularity of Beetlejuice.
In other Beetlejuice news, it was recently announced that instead of the often talked about sequel, we’re getting a musical. The music and lyrics are currently being written by Eddie Perfect from a story that Michael McDowell wrote based off of Tim Burton’s original movie. The Beetlejuice musical is expected to do a pre-Broadway run at Washington, D.C.’s National Theater in October of this year. It’s not Beetlejuice in Hawaii, but it is a way to keep the spirit of Tim Burton’s classic alive in a different medium.
Tim Burton and the crew deserve a lot of the credit for Beetlejuice, but it’s Michael Keaton’s performance that sticks with us all of these years later. According to co-writer Larry Wilson, the only direction that Keaton was given was a note telling him that his character was basically “Groucho Marx from hell.” Michael Keaton took it from there and ended up improvising most of his dialogue and made the character his own. Even though the original Beetlejuice ending was a little bit dark, it would probably still have been a hit that people are still talking about 30 years later. You can read more about the original ending of Beetlejuice over at Yahoo.