Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith is putting together a Beetlejuice 2 script, to tempt back Beetlejuice star Michael Keaton and director Tim Burton. Both of those gentlemen have expressed interest in resurrecting ‘The Ghost with the Most,’ as has costar Winona Ryder.
However, if Disney gets its way, Burton’s next film could be a different sequel – namely, a followup to Alice in Wonderland. That Oscar-winning hit was written by Linda Woolverton (The Lion King, Mulan) and features a cast that includes Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, among others.
Woolverton’s Alice screenplay draws from Lewis Carroll’s classic novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and its followup “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.” However, it abandons the episodic madness of Caroll’s source material for a hero’s journey narrative where nineteen-year old Alice (Wasikowska) flees a prospective marriage in the real world – only to discover that Wonderland has been awaiting her return, to lead a revolution against the tyrannical Red Queen (Carter). In other words, it’s Alice in Wonderland meets Chronicles of Narnia.
Variety is reporting that Disney has Woolverton penning a sequel, which is also in the process of becoming a stage musical. There’s no mention of Burton’s possible involvement (yet), but he will be made an offer. The same goes for Depp, who is starring in the House of Mouse’s Lone Ranger next year – and (probably) is going to make Pirates of the Caribbean 5 sometime in the foreseeable future.
Longtime Screen Rant readers are aware that several members of our staff were disappointed with Alice, for reasons that run deeper than the distracting post-converted 3D and its recycling of Burton/Depp tropes; such as, how it trades in the discernible characters and satire of Carroll’s novels for an ambitious (but, sadly, non-compelling) fantasy allegory where many dark Underland inhabitants and CGI backgrounds blurr together.
However, such complaints didn’t prevent Alice from grossing $1 billion worldwide in theaters and snagging Academy Awards for its Art Direction and Costume Design (which is quite macabre and gorgeous). Moreover, it propelled production designer Robert Stromberg on to direct Disney’s Maleficent – which is to Sleeping Beauty what Wicked is to The Wizard of Oz, based on a script created by Woolverton; not to mention, the success of Alice seemingly influenced the approach on director Sam Raimi’s Oz prequel Oz The Great and Powerful (as illustrated by the trailer).
Burton’s film didn’t exactly leave the door open for an Alice sequel, as it brought its heroine’s arc to a satisfying conclusion; in addition, what ‘heart’ it has arises from the suggestion that Alice must leave Underland (re: her childhood) behind her and make her own way in life. A followup kind of seems to defeat the purpose of that, just on principle. Similarly, the universe doesn’t seem ripe for further exploration – unlike, say, Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, which is also getting a sequel. Nonetheless, an Alice followup is happening, so expect to learn more over the forthcoming year.
Meanwhile, Burton’s currently got his eye on two scripts from screenwriter Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, The Woman in Black): the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children adaptation and Pinocchio, a project co-written by Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller (with Robert Downey Jr. starring as Geppetto).
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.