The first set pictures of Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice 2 look amazing, with her return to the character of Lydia Deetz already being more exciting than her upcoming final season in Stranger Things. Winona Ryder’s breakout role was in Tim Burton’s 1988 horror-comedy movie Beetlejuice, in which she portrayed gothic teen Lydia Deetz, who befriends the two newly deceased ghosts that previously occupied her family’s new home. Ryder has since returned to the sentimentality of the 1980s through her starring role in Netflix’s Stranger Things, which is expected to debut its fifth and final season in 2025. Now, Ryder is properly reviving her ‘80s persona as she reprises her role as Lydia in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice 2, which is currently filming and hits theaters on September 6, 2024.


Set images of Winona Ryder depict the actress clad in black with Lydia’s signature spiky bangs, proving not too much has changed about the character’s personality over the past 35 years. The set pictures of the Beetlejuice 2 movie also show Ryder sitting in the passenger seat of black Tesla, which reportedly left an unused school. It’s unclear who is in the driver’s seat of the car, but it’s possible that Winona Ryder’s Lydia could be picking up or dropping off Tim Burton collaborator Jenna Ortega, who has been cast in Beetlejuice 2 as Lydia’s daughter. Even with just a small glimpse at Winona Ryder’s Beetlejuice 2 look, the Tim Burton sequel is already safely the more exciting of her anticipated upcoming releases.

Winona Ryder’s Lydia Look In Beetlejuice 2 Promises A Proper, Faithful Sequel

Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice sitting in a chair all dressed in black with a pale face and jagged bangs, looking up sort of smugly

Considering it’s been 35 years since Beetlejuice, there were numerous directions that the sequel could have gone with Lydia’s character. With Lydia now a parent, Beetlejuice 2 could have gone down the road of making Lydia a more mainstream adult and writing off her gothic persona as a teenage “phase.” Rather, Beetlejuice 2 giving Lydia her same haircut, dark makeup, and black clothing is far more faithful to her original characterization, which implies that the sequel will depict the same, familiar Lydia that became an icon after her 1988 debut, but with some modern tweaks and responsibility as the mother of Jenna Ortega’s unnamed character.

Winona Ryder’s Lydia looks exactly like what would be expected of the character after 35 years, suggesting Beetlejuice 2’s other returning characters will similarly maintain their iconic appearances and personalities for a proper revival. Catherine O’Hara’s Beetlejuice 2 return as Delia Deetz will likely be just as campy and dramatic as the original depiction of Lydia’s stepmother, perhaps with some additional improvised character quirks similar to the actress’s Emmy-winning Schitt’s Creek role. Beetlejuice 2’s set photos proving that the sequel is getting the adult Lydia right also means that Michael Keaton’s poltergeist Beetlejuice will thankfully be just as much of a sadistic ham, which is the true secret to making the upcoming movie a proper revival of the beloved story.

Why Winona Ryder’s Return As Lydia Is More Exciting Than Stranger Things Season 5

Stranger Things Joyce and Beetlejuice

After a lull in high-profile roles in the 2000s and early 2010s, Winona Ryder was met with a massive revival in popularity upon the premiere of Stranger Things in 2016. The series brilliantly utilized her legacy as an ‘80s icon to enhance the setting and meta nostalgia, with Ryder being able to showcase her proven horror talents time and again throughout the first four seasons. As such, Ryder’s final outing as Joyce Byers in Stranger Things season 5’s story is highly anticipated, but Beetlejuice 2 now overtakes the excitement. Ryder gives some of her best work in the ‘80s-centric Stranger Things, though her season 5 return can’t compare to the nostalgia of the actress actually reviving her iconic 1988 Beetlejuice character’s old gothic style today.

Additionally, while Winona Ryder will inevitably be a huge part of Stranger Things season 5’s story conclusion, her performance and role in Beetlejuice 2 are far more important to the latter project’s success. Ryder’s original Beetlejuice role is also so iconic that Stranger Things’ Duffer brothers avoided progressing the timeline to 1988 in order to circumvent a paradox with the show’s teens seeing Ryder in the movie (via Deadline). Beetlejuice 2 is a proper full-circle moment for Winona Ryder’s legacy and rise to stardom, which is ultimately a more exciting ‘80s revival for the actress than Stranger Things, especially since the series partially hinges on this exact breakout horror role for its meta nostalgia.

Beetlejuice 2 Lets Winona Ryder Pass Burton’s Gothic Torch To The Next Generation

Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice with Jenna Ortega in Wednesday

Another incredibly exciting aspect of Beetlejuice 2 is that Winona Ryder will be passing on the torch of Tim Burton’s gothic muse to the next generation, namely Jenna Ortega. Ryder was Burton’s first major female gothic horror collaborator before Helena Bonham Carter, as the young actress appeared in Beetlejuice before starring in Edward Scissorhands as teenager Kim Boggs, who fell in love with Johnny Depp’s gothic titular character. However, Jenna Ortega is now taking over this role in Tim Burton’s modern projects following her massive breakout role as Wednesday Addams in Burton’s Wednesday Netflix series, which is expanding as she tackles Lydia’s inevitably gothic daughter in Beetlejuice 2.

Related: Beetlejuice 2 Proves Tim Burton Has Finally Replaced Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter

Ortega was already passed the torch of the legacy and responsibility of playing Wednesday Addams from 1990s Addams Family actress Christina Ricci in Wednesday, so the young Scream Queen is adding to her list of gothic icon takeovers with Burton through the Deetz family in Beetlejuice 2. Ortega’s character in Beetlejuice 2 will likely reflect Lydia’s characterization in the original movie, which means Winona Ryder will essentially be playing off interactions with a modernized version of her iconic younger self in the sequel. While Winona Ryder’s Lydia can never be replaced, it’s exciting to see how the actress will grow her original role to integrate the gothic brilliance of Ortega into the same world.

Related: Beetlejuice 2 Is Winona Ryder’s Perfect Stranger Things Follow-Up

Stranger Things Still Enhances Ryder’s Transition Back To Beetlejuice

Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers in Stranger Things

Although Beetlejuice 2 is a more exciting character return for Ryder than Stranger Things season 5, the Netflix series still plays a role in the anticipation for the movie’s arrival. Stranger Things permitted Ryder a high-profile return to her ‘80s horror skills, which also crucially relied on her nostalgic persona and compelling performance for success. The acclaim of Ryder in Stranger Things was thus a great indication that she could revive her star-making Beetlejuice role, while also priming audiences for the actress’s return to this genre and nostalgic timeline. As Winona Ryder transitions back to her gothic ‘80s icon in Beetlejuice 2, credit is due to Stranger Things for relieving any doubt that she’ll brilliantly pick up where she left off in the Tim Burton sequel.

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