Beetlejuice (character)

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Character
Name: Betelgeuse / Beetlejuice
Occupation: Bio-Exorcist
Title/Rank: Ghost with the Most
Location: Neitherworld
Status: Dead
Relationships: Lydia Deetz (Best Friend/Wife)
Family:
Bea Juice (Mother - Toon)
Nat (Gnat) Juice (Father -Toon)
Donny Juice (Brother - Toon)
Juno (Former Boss - Film)(Mother - Musical)
Fandom: Beetlejuice
Other: Played by:
Michael Keaton (Film)
Stephen Ouimette (Toon)
Alex Brightman (OBC Musical)
Will Blum (Understudy Musical)
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Betelgeuse (Beetlejuice) is the title name character of the Beetlejuice Franchise. Though he is the title character he only appears in the film for a total of 17.5 minutes. He is a volatile character with tendencies towards wacky behavior to devious manipulations. In each universe, Betelgeuse highlights different attributes though he is consistently selfish and self-serving.

Canon

Character Biography

Film

Betelgeuse is a bio-exorcist. He claims he can get rid of the living and is known for causing trouble. Though he gives us his backstory during a faux interview with Adam and Barbara Maitland, we are never really sure if he is being honest.

He claims to have lived through the Black Plague, attended Julliard, is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, traveled extensively, and has seen "The Exorcist" 167 times. He also mentions that he knows Elvis and that he models for GQ. He is boastful and, most likely, a liar for comedic effect.

We do know that he used to be Juno's assistant. He does not work well with others and branched out on his own to become a freelance bio-exorcist.

In the original script, it is said that he was responsible for the Chicago Fires but this has been left out of the film. Also, his name is not spelled "Beetlejuice" like the main title but as the star in the constellation of Orion. The only time we see a visual of this joke is when he and Lydia are playing charades otherwise, his name is consistently spelled "Betelgeuse".

Toon

The animated series takes the character in a different direction. He is a resident of the Netherworld with no indication of how death works. Most likely due to the fact the show is aimed at children.

In this world, he is just a ghost who shares a Roadhouse with his two former High School classmates, Jaques and Ginger. His parents are Bea and Nat Juice and he has a younger brother named Donny Juice. Beetlejuice is nothing like his family.

While his brother Donny is clean and polite, Beetlejuice is rude and dirty. His parents are also very clean and proper. Nat (or Gnat) works at a bolt factory and often berates his son to get a job.

Beetlejuice is afraid of water and being clean. He loves to eat bugs and gets a twisted pleasure in grossing everyone out. Stink is his favorite way to disgust his neighbors and will often use his unusual stench to get his way.

His personality in the cartoon is very selfish. He is greedy, with a desire to get money the easy way. He hates hard work but will go out of his way to con every one in the show. The only person he shows the slightest bit of respect for is his best friend Lydia Deetz, who is a teen by the end of the series.

Through the series, it is said that Beetlejuice knows Shakespeare, hosts several tv shows, creates various alter egos (including Betty Juice) in order to provide entertainment for Lydia and the children in the audience.

Musical

While the musical returns to an older audience, the character, too, has undergone dramatic changes from both the movie and toon by combining and manipulating his story.

In the musical, Beetlejuice is a demon. He was born dead to a neglectful mother, Juno, and an absent father. This we know not only because he says so but because Juno herself confirms this. He admits that he has been alone for ages and has been scaring for over a millennia. All he wants is to be seen and cared for but seeing as he is a demon, he doesn't go about things the right way.

Beetlejuice is impatient and crude. He shows no hint of modesty and admits that he is a very sexual being. He also appears to be easily turned on by the sound of screams.

Unlike in the film, Lydia goes through with their marriage in order to bring him to life. Once Beetlejuice comes alive he experiences emotions for the first time, forcing Lydia to end his short life. He was not offended in the slightest but finds he is rather impressed by her violence. He has more character growth in the musical than he has in either the film or animated series.

Name

  • Spelling
    • Betelgeuse
      • Original Spelling. Named for the star in the constellation of Orion
      • Written on the tombstone, graveyard sign, flyer
      • Mispronounced by Adam Maitland in film
    • Beetlejuice
      • Title of the film only. Never written on props in the movie
      • Used as two words for Lydia to learn Betelgeuse's name
      • Primary spelling in Cartoon
      • Primary spelling in Musical
  • Nicknames
    • BJ - Canon nickname in Toon and Musical. Generally used in fandom to shorten the official spelling.
    • Beej - Toon Specific. Lydia's personal nickname for him.
    • Beetz- Toon Specific. Lydia uses this when she is under the effects of New U.
    • Beetle - Fandom/Fanfic use
    • Betel - Fandom/Fanfic use
    • Beetlepuss / Beetlejerk - Insults from Toon Enemies
  • Alter Ego's
    • Betty Juice - Female disguise used in Toon
    • Cousin BJ - Kid age disguise to hang out with Lydia's family
    • Mr. Beetleman - The handyman who hangs out with Lydia in the living world
  • Real Names
    • Lawrence Beetlejuice - Canon - Musical Specific
      • Last name: Shoggoth - Canon when Eileen Shoggoth was his mother in D.C Run of the musical
    • Benjamin - Fanon - Film Fanfiction


Rule of Three

    • Movie - The only way he can be released is if you say his name three times. Also, the only way to put him back.
    • Toon - Anyone can use his name to summon him. Only Lydia can use his name to either summon him, release him or travel to him.
    • Musical - Must be spoken three times unbroken. This allows for the musical to say his name multiple times without consequence.

Fandom

Popularized Fanon

  • Poltergeist - In the early toon years, popular fanon was that Beetlejuice was a poltergeist.
  • Demonic - Some fans keep the headcanon of Betelgeuse being a demon.
    • In the original film script he was a middle eastern winged demon.
    • In the musical fandom, he is a Lovecraftian demon with a demonic Juno for a mother
  • Age - He is over 600 years old in death.
    • Born and Died somewhere in the Middle Ages around 1300 A.D.
    • Age of Death. Somewhere in his 30's
  • Death - Beetlejuice as a suicide is a popular fanon in film.
    • Death by Hanging - Rumors of this theory originates from the original canon. "Originally it was going to be mentioned that Betelgeuse committed suicide when he hung himself over a woman when he was drunk - and that he botched the job and ended up suffocating painfully instead of a quick snapped neck." [1]
    • Death by Drowning - This is popularized in several fanfictions
    • Death by Murder - This headcanon is repeated in many roleplay and film fanfictions
  • Compulsive Lier - Canon and Fanon, we can't trust anything Betelgeuse says.

Shipping

Despite being a gross and perverted character that happens to be covered in dirt and mold, he is a target of both self-insert thirst and shipping.

Pairings

*Beetlejuice/Lydia Deetz

Through fandom history, Beetlejuice is commonly shipped with Lydia Deetz. Canonically, Lydia and Beetlejuice are either depicted as friends or involved in an arranged marriage (Arranged by Beetlejuice himself in exchange for a favor).

*Beetlejuice/Maitlands This pairing/trio, also known as Beetlands (formerly GoldenRat), is growing in popularity among musical fans.

*Beetlejuice/Miss Argentina This ship is recently developing by a small group of movie fans. This is due to one specific scene in the Beetlejuice failed sequel "Beetlejuice In Love".

In this scene, Beetlejuice jokes that he would like to "Share a waterbed with Miss Argentina" where she then gives him a snarky reply indicating they knew each other. Possibly due to BJ being Juno's former assistant and Tina being the Receptionist.

Self-Insert/Reader-Insert

X-Reader fics have gained popularity among the Musical fandom. Primarily due to the attractiveness of the Broadway performer Alex Brightman.

  • Self-insertion - Headcanons and fanfiction can be found on Tumblr and Ao3 (Usually with OC characters)
  • Reader-Insert - Fiction can be found both on Tumblr and A03


Shipping Wars & Controversy

Beetlejuice is the villain of his franchise but he is also a sympathetic character in two out of three iterations. This often leads fans to disagree as to whether he deserves redemption. His pairing potentials will also create controversy not merely for the fact he is dead but because he is a violent character.

In the case of his paring with Lydia Deetz, there is a big controversy due to their Age Difference and living status. Not to mention the manipulation he uses to convince Lydia into marrying him. This often leads shippers of this pairing to become involved in Discourse with anti-groups against Problematic ships.


Common Tropes & Storylines

  • Ghost with the Most - He is referenced as both a Ghost and a Demon but fanon accepted the idea of a Poltergeist as well.
  • Mood Ring Hair - Musical universe specific, Beetlejuice is often depicted as having the ability to change his hair color depending on his mood. (I.E.Red for angry, Purple for melancholy, Green by default)
  • Death by Suicide - In the film, it is said that Beetlejuice was Juno's assistant. Due to the idea that most civil servants are there due to suicide, many fans believe he had killed himself. Possibly botched it at some point.
  • Born Dead - Another common trope is that Beetlejuice was never alive. That he was born dead.
  • Genderswap - Beetlejuice in the animated series will often take the form of a female character. Betty Juice is his usual disguise so he can hang out with Lydia in school.
  • Soulmates - There are many fics out there that indicate that Beetlejuice's soulmate is Lydia Deetz.


Fanworks

Fanfics

Good Looking [2] [AO3 archive] by BobaMcFettyFandom: Beetlejuice (Film)Date: 2020-08-19Length: 720Medium: onlineStatus: CompleteGenre: Fluff
Lydia thinks about what makes Betelgeuse attractive.


Fanart

Meta

  • Why Beetlejuice is a Ghost and not a Demon[3]


Archives and Communities

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

References