The upcoming Beetlejuice 2 will feature rising star Jenna Ortega in a leading role - here‘s everything you need to know about her casting.
More than 25 years after Tim Burton brought the 1988 cult classic Beetlejuice to the big screen, the iconic director helped develop the story for a long-awaited sequel, officially announced in May 2023.
Before that announcement, The Direct exclusively revealed that Catherine O’Hara would reprise her role as Delia in the sequel, leading many to wonder how much of the original cast would return and who would join them.
Who Is Jenna Ortega Playing in Beetlejuice 2?
In March 2023, Jenna Ortega was first rumored to have signed on for a role in Beetlejuice 2, which then became official shortly after.
Set photos from early production for the film then showed her character wearing a wedding dress, teasing a potential marriage plot for her in Beetlejuice 2. There have been no further reports regarding this wedding scene or its place in the plot.
Theorizing what could happen, Ortega’s character could end up being forced or persuaded into marriage with somebody associated with Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice himself to prevent something terrible from happening.
Another idea is that this is simply the perfect opportunity for Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice to strike on Ortega’s character’s big day after escaping his imprisonment at the end of the original Beetlejuice.
It could also depend on her backstory regarding who her father is in Beetlejuice 2.
Speaking with BFI, Burton praised Ortega for her work on the Netflix series, giving her credit for the “clarity and purity and strength” that she brought to Wednesday Addams:
“When I did ‘Wednesday,’ the reason I loved it is I just related to the character so much. But to me, it could not have been done without her. You can write it good, you can do whatever you want to do, but that kind of a character would need such clarity and purity and strength. A person has to have that. So for me, she basically made the show that way.”
While plenty remains to learn about Ortega’s Beetlejuice character, she’ll help add to the legacy of the franchise with Lydia’s family being expanded.
How Will Jenna Ortega Impact Beetlejuice 2’s Plot?
Considering Ortega’s growing star power after her work in Wednesday, along with her place in the Scream franchise, she’ll be a big reason fans head to the theaters to see Beetlejuice 2.
Considering she’ll be utilized alongside classic actors from the original like Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, and Catherine O’Hara, her presence alongside them will make an impact.
More than likely, Ortega will take on a leading role alongside Keaton similar to what other legacy sequels from recent years (e.g. Top Gun: Maverick, Creed) as Ryder and O’Hara play supporting roles.
This also ties back to quotes from Beetlejuice 2 director of photography Haris Zambarloukos given exclusively to The Direct, who described the “natural progression” that the story is taking for Burton and company:
“I think there is the same kind of passion and that's what is the kind of ignition behind all of this. We've been working with Neal Scanlan on incredible puppeteering and in-camera effects. And there's just an element of that storytelling--It's a natural progression. It's a very, very personal intimate story for Tim [Burton].”
Outside of her character, Burton noted in the same prior interview how special of a talent she is, highlighting all of the horror movies that she has on her resume as she has “a special place in [his] heart:”
“She’s one of the most aware, not only as an actress, but everything, around the camera, the set. She’s a very special talent. And she’s done a lot of horror movies, which I love too. That gave her a special place in my heart. 'Oh, you’re doing another horror. Good.'”
Beetlejuice 2 is currently set to release in theaters on September 6, 2024, with almost all of filming completed before the writers’ and actors’ strikes.