Nightmare Before Christmas 2: Will It Ever Release?

By Klein Felt Updated:
Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skeleton

After more than 30 years since the original film's release, fans are getting ravenous for a potential The Nightmare Before Christmas 2

Originally directed by Henry Selick with a story developed by gothic horror mastermind Tim Burton (of Beetlejuice and Batman fame), The Nightmare Before Christmas became a cult classic after its 1993 release. 

The film seamlessly blended its holiday theming with stunning Burton-led world design in a musically engaging stop-motion package. 

While plans for a sequel have come and gone over the years, a full-on movie sequel has yet to happen. 

Is Nightmare Before Christmas 2 Ever Coming Out?

The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington, Zero

As it stands, a full-blown Nightmare Before Christmas 2 seems unlikely. 

After the success of the first film's home release in the late '90s, Disney actually planned to greenlight a sequel to the original, with the follow-up going with the burgeoning computer animation of the time rather than expensive and extremely time-consuming stop-motion.

Director Henry Selick addressed Disney's proposed plan from 2002, telling in 2006 "There has been discussions over the years about a possible sequel," but nothing ever came to fruition then or afterward:

"There has been discussions over the years about a possible sequel. When those discussions came up about seven years ago, it was unsettling that it was suggested this time it would have to be done in CG. I'm glad that did not happen. But as far as coming up ideas for a sequel, you have to admit there are a lot of other great holidays for Jack Skellington to take over."

Since the first film's release, Burton has remained adamant that a sequel should not happen. The renowned filmmaker has said sequels in general have the potential to "eat away at why people like [the film] to begin with," and because of that, he has been "very protective of ['Nightmare']" and keeping the "purity" of the '93 original (via MTV):

"I was always very protective of ['Nightmare'], not to do sequels or things of that kind. You know, 'Jack visits Thanksgiving world' or other kinds of things, just because I felt the movie had a purity to it and the people that like it. Because it's not a mass-market kind of thing, it was important to kind of keep that purity of it. I try to respect people and keep the purity of the project as much as possible."

Despite these comments from Selick and Burton, star Chris Sarandon (the speaking voice of protagonist Jack Skellington) shared in 2019 that he would love to return, should a sequel materialize. He enthusiastically told that he would "crawl on my hands and knees, from the east coast to the west coast, in the spring or the fall, to do it again:"

"I'd crawl on my hands and knees, from the east coast to the west coast, in the spring or the fall, to do it again. Of course I would. I love that character and I love that I'm part of a legacy of that character as well."

In 2009, Selick said to Blastr he would be interested in doing a sequel if Burton were on board with the idea and there was "a great idea:"

"It would have to depend. It's a hard thing to top in terms of story. That particular collision of nightmares is perfect. I don't know if Jack Skellington trying to take over President's Day weekend would be as good [laughs]. If there's a great idea, I would certainly love to [do it]. The film has a long life."

Disney continues to be interested in the property, as it is one of the studio's biggest merchandising machines throughout its stores and parks globally. 

In 2019 it was reported the Hollywood giant was considering either a live-action or stop-motion follow-up to the first film (per Moviehole), but no more info on the project has been given since then. 

2022 saw the release of a technical sequel to the film in the form of Long Live the Pumpkin Queen, a young adult novel by Shea Ernshaw.

What Could Happen in Nightmare Before Christmas 2 If It Ever Gets Made?

Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas

There are no lack of directions a potential Nightmare Before Christmas sequel could go if it were to go into development at Disney. 

As both Henry Selick and Tim Burton have previously teased, there are "a lot of other great holidays for Jack Skellington to take over" should Nightmare Before Christmas 2 happen. 

And that feels like a natural evolution of the franchise if it were to move forward, giving holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving, or Valentine's Day the Nightmare Before Christmas treatment. 

Another place the sequel could go would be by adapting the story of the 2022 follow-up novel Long Live the Pumpkin Queen. This book - while featuring Jack Skellington - focuses on Nightmare Before Christmas supporting character Sally as she is officially crowned pumpkin queen and starts to wonder "if all she’s done is trade her captivity under Dr. Finkelstein for a different cage" (via Disney):

"Sally Skellington is the official, newly-minted Pumpkin Queen after a whirlwind courtship with her true love, Jack, who Sally adores with every inch of her fabric seams — if only she could say the same for her new role as Queen of Halloween Town. Cast into the spotlight and tasked with all sorts of queenly duties, Sally can’t help but wonder if all she’s done is trade her captivity under Dr. Finkelstein for a different cage. 

But when Sally and Zero accidentally uncover a long-hidden doorway to an ancient realm called Dream Town in the forest Hinterlands, she’ll unknowingly set into motion a chain of sinister events that put her future as Pumpkin Queen, and the future of Halloween Town itself, into jeopardy. Can Sally discover what it means to be true to herself and save the town she’s learned to call home, or will her future turn into her worst… well, nightmare?"

Another place Disney could look for inspiration for a potential Nightmare Before Christmas 2 is in the world of video games. 

Designed as a sequel to the original film, Capcom released The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. 

The game was developed in collaboration with Tim Burton, featuring an original story that picked up a year after the first movie. The game followed the revival of villain Oogie Boogie after Jack Skellington heads off on an adventure to make this next Halloween the best one ever. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas is now available to stream on Disney+.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.