The journey to make a Beetlejuice sequel wasn’t just long - it almost led to Hawaii.

Director Tim Burton and stars Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara will reunite on Beetlejuice Beetlejuice (in theaters September 6), a new chapter about the netherworld’s most irascible “bio-exorcist.” Thirty-six years after the 1988 original, the cast and crew return to the same New England town where Beetlejuice first made his mark. But there were other locales Burton tried to stage a follow-up.

"We talked about lots of different things," Burton recently told Entertainment Weekly. "That was early on when we were going, Beetlejuice and the Haunted Mansion, Beetlejuice Goes West, whatever. Lots of things came up." Most infamously, after the film became a hit - and Burton and Keaton teamed up again for 1989’s Batman - Burton had a wacky, three-word idea for a sequel: Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian.

Why 'Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian' Never Took Off

Warner Bros. took the idea and commissioned a screenplay by Jonathan Gems, who’d contributed uncredited rewrites on Batman. This time, Ryder’s Lydia Deetz would travel to the Hawaiian island of Kanooka, where her architect father was constructing a gaudy resort and casino against the protests of the locals. Lydia’s attempts to save the island’s natural resources (as well as newfound psychic abilities) leads to her traveling to the underworld to reluctantly bring Beetlejuice back among mortals for more hijinks, from a magical surfing contest to a climactic sequence where dinosaur skeletons and possessed Easter Island heads reduce the resort to rubble.

The leaked script was quite rough, with the villainous Beetlejuice - by then the star of his own cartoon series - much more of a main character than last time. Here, he even briefly charmed Lydia with a love potion and performed “The Harlem Shuffle.” But Burton was passionate about the silly mix of styles and genres. “Tim thought it would be funny to match the surfing backdrop of a beach movie with some sort of German Expressionism, because they're totally wrong together," Gems told Fangoria in 1997.

Read More: See the Leaked 'Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian' Script

Other writers tried to polish Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. Heathers scribe Daniel Waters was offered a chance, but opted to work with Burton and Keaton on Batman Returns. Pamela Norris, a co-writer of Troop Beverly Hills and executive producer of Designing Women, took a stab, and Clerks creator Kevin Smith was given a chance, instead toiling on a never-made Superman reboot with Burton. (“Didn’t we say all we needed to say in the last Beetlejuice?” Smith later quipped on the DVD An Evening with Kevin Smith. “Must we go tropical?”)

Ultimately, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies author Seth Grahame-Smith began work on a different sequel idea in 2011; Grahame-Smith will share story credit with Beetlejuice Beetlejuice’s writers, Smallville developers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. But we’ll always have Kanooka.

Watch the 'Beetlejuice Beetlejuice' Trailer

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Gallery Credit: Corey Irwin

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