Movie Reviews

New Beetlejuice 2 Reveal May Have Just Retconned A Huge Winona Ryder Detail After 36 Years

Summary

  • Winona Ryder’s Lydia reveals an alternate explanation for her ghostly abilities in
    Beetlejuice 2
    to Astrid in new footage from CinemaCon.
  • Beetlejuice 2’s
    explanation retcons the original’s worldbuilding about how a living person can see ghosts.
  • The sequel may betray the central theme of self-acceptance by retconning the meaning behind Lydia’s iconic line “I myself am strange and unusual.”



SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Beetlejuice 2‘s Lydia Deetz reveal may retcon an important detail about Winona Ryder’s character 36 years later after the figure was introduced. The Tim Burton sequel seems to be retaining the overall tone of the original film alongside its central cast, albeit with many of them, including Lydia Deetz (Ryder), having aged and changed offscreen. Despite this, some aspects of her original characterization seem to have remained as well as been passed down to daughter Astrid (Jenna Ortega).


Both women within Beetlejuice’s Deetz family clearly have a strong connection to the supernatural, as Astrid will encounter Michael Keaton’s titular movie ghost just as her mother did decades prior. However, the original film established Lydia’s connection to ghosts in a very specific way, giving the movie a unique identity from other supernatural franchises. That identity, in the sequel’s footage, might be getting rewritten through Beetlejuice 2s characters as Lydia tells Astrid about her first ghostly encounter as a teen in a new way.

Related

Beetlejuice vs. Betelgeuse: What The Real Name Of Michael Keaton’s Poltergeist Is & What It Means

Michael Keaton’s iconic mischief-maker is referred to by multiple names, and his name’s origin provides further potential insight into the character.


Lydia Tells Astrid She Got The “Ability” To See Ghosts As A Teenager In Beetlejuice 2

Jenna Ortega as Astrid Deetz riding her bike in Beetlejuice 2
Image via Universal Pictures


Lydia’s explanation to Astrid about her first encounter with Beetlejuice in Beetlejuice 2 reveals that Ryder’s character was able to see and summon the bio-exorcist due to having the specific ability to do so. In the CinemaCon footage (via Entertainment Weekly), Lydia tells Astrid “This ability didn’t exactly come with instructions; it happened when I was about your age.” This is before Lydia summons Beetlejuice in the next scene, adding a new wrinkle to the sequel’s main plot and furthering that supernatural connection as Lydia specifically asks herself why she is doing this, implying she and possibly Astrid are the only ones who can.

This seems strangely out of character for Lydia, considering the circumstances of Beetlejuice’s defeat in the original Keaton film and her clear hesitation to even discuss the incident with Astrid. However, her summoning works, throwing her, Astrid, and the rest of the Deetz family back into the Afterlife for another adventure as they try to wrangle old and new ghosts. But that particular bit of phrasing, “this ability”, could cause inconsistencies in Beetlejuice 2’s internal logic as it retcons an important detail of the original film.


Lydia’s “Ability” Line May Retcon The Reason She Could See Ghosts In The Original Beetlejuice Movie

Lydia Did Not Need A Specific Ability To See Ghosts In Beetlejuice

the sequel seems to be transitioning
Beetlejuice 2
‘s Deetz’s family onto the more traditional path of being specifically gifted in supernatural communication

This new explanation for Lydia’s encounter with ghosts could retcon the reason stated in the original movie, endangering the film’s worldbuilding and characterization. In the original 1988 movie, there was no strict rule for who could see ghosts and who could not. Rather, it was a matter of someone embracing the strange and unusual, as the ghosts of the film’s world embraced those ideals themselves, which is reflected in their Afterlife as well as their abilities, such as Beetlejuice’s iconic scary face.


The implication of the original was that anyone could see and communicate with the dead, but most simply choose not to, as seen in the iconic dinner scene. However, the sequel seems to be transitioning Beetlejuice 2‘s Deetz’s family onto the more traditional path of being specifically gifted in supernatural communication, which contradicts the first film’s internal logic. This may cause more retcons within Beetlejuice 2′s story, making the narrative drift further and further away from Burton’s original worldbuilding. Not only that, but it also hurts the original outright, as it shifts an important aspect of Lydia’s character.

Beetlejuice 2 Retconning This Detail Would Betray Winona Ryder’s Most Iconic Beetlejuice Line

This Retcon Could Also Rob Beetlejuice Of Its Iconic Film Identity

Close up of Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice


Through this shift in explanation, Beetlejuice 2 not only betrays one of Lydia’s iconic statements about herself but also the film’s central themes. Lydia’s line “I myself am strange and unusual” in Beetlejuice shows who Lydia is at her core, while also giving a succinct explanation for her ghostly vision without the film derailing the narrative’s momentum. She connects with Adam and Barbara in the original Beetlejuice because she knows what it is like to feel isolated from what is considered “normal.” Rather than trying to change herself, she embraces it, showcasing the film’s main theme of acceptance.

The 1988 film is remembered for its iconic jokes and Tim Burton’s trademark style. However, at Beetlejuice’s core is a story of accepting one’s self, no matter who that may be, as well as accepting that some things cannot be changed, no matter what someone may try to get back to the status quo. By shifting the ghost explanation, this important aspect of Lydia’s character and the film’s legacy gets stripped away to fit a more classic horror film’s idea of needing to be specifically gifted to interact with the supernatural, potentially erasing that main theme from Beetlejuice 2‘s narrative.


Source: Entertainment Weekly

Beetlejuice 2 movie poster

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice is the sequel to the original Tim Burton classic that starred Michael Keaton and Wynona Rider in a horror-comedy that involved ghosts trying to scare off new homebuyers from taking their house. The sequel brings back Michael Keaton as the hilarious and sleazy ghost with selfish intentions, now joined by Jenna Ortega in a new role.

Release Date
September 6, 2024

Distributor(s)
Warner Bros. Pictures

Writers
Mike Vukadinovich

Back to top button