This year marks the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and whether the director of the film is feeling celebratory or nostalgic is anyone’s guess, as he is sharing his plans for a sequel to the iconic Halloween-Christmas-Halloween film.
Originally inspired by a poem written by producer Tim Burton when he was working as a Disney animator, Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas wasn’t a film the House of Mouse wanted to make initially. In 1984, Burton was fired from his role at Disney and went on to direct Batman and other films for Warner Bros.
But Burton couldn’t stop thinking about his idea for a film. Eventually, Disney and Burton reached an agreement on the film–one that included its release under Touchstone Pictures–a more adult-oriented label–since Disney had concerns that the film might be “too dark” and scary for the younger audiences the studio was more used to.
When Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas first debuted at the box office, it took some Disney fans by surprise. It wasn’t the average, run-of-the-mill offering from Walt Disney Animation. (No wonder the studio was hesitant about signing on to the project.)
In 1993, the film wasn’t considered a blockbuster, but over the years, it has held its own, amassing a mass fan following–so much that the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Henry Selick, is sharing his ideas for a sequel to the iconic holiday film.
Except that it might not be a sequel after all.
Selick admitted that the thought of a sequel isn’t one that initially grabs hit attention, simply because of the immense amount of work associated with making the first film 30 years ago. He said that The Nightmare Before Christmas was “a perfect movie [that] came out of the perfect time, only to grow into something far bigger over the years.”
“I think Tim [Burton], in particular, feels like, why mess with that?” Selick explained. “He certainly doesn’t need to make more money from a sequel. He has had so many other successes, and so far, nobody’s come up with a great idea for a sequel. And I still think that Tim gets to decide. I don’t think there’s any idea that would convince him.”
But Selick says there’s one idea for a second film that isn’t “completely off the table.”
“There might be a more interesting story there about how Jack became the King of Halloween Town,” Selick, who was also the director of Coraline, explained.
Selick says he would be more inclined to the prospect of a prequel to the 1993 stop-motion film.
Perhaps the best news about a prequel to The Nightmare Before Christmas is that Chris Sarandon, who voiced Jack Skellington in the first film, is all-in on the idea of a prequel (or a sequel) and says he’d gladly voice the titular character again.
“If there were a sequel, I’d be there in a minute,” Sarandon said.
It remains to be seen whether Selick and Tim Burton will move forward–or backward, as it were–with a prequel to The Nightmare Before Christmas, but one thing’s for sure: any addition to the film, whether an origin story about Jack Skellington or a sequel to the film that catches up with Jack and Sally at a later time, will be a success–and perhaps even more successful than the first film was 30 years ago.