What if I told you that a sequel to Tim Burton’s 1993 animated masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas already exists if you just know where to look? I know what you’re probably thinking: Michael, you’ve already told us about the theory linking other Tim Burton films, such as Corpse Bride (2005) and Frankenweenie (2012), to Jack Skellington and Halloween Town. You’d be right, I have, but this is something entirely different!
30 Years of Spooky Disney Goodness
1993 was a banner year for Walt Disney Studios. Although it would ultimately culminate with Edward Scissorhands (1990) director Tim Burton’s vision of Jack Skellington coming to life under the direction of Henry Selick, Hocus Pocus would also be released earlier in the same year.
It took a long time for fans to get on board with Hocus Pocus, but eventually, the film garnered enough attention to become a part of Halloween festivities all over the world. The high demand for the return of the Sanderson Sisters to Salem eventually forced Disney to consider and make a sequel, which was released to Disney+ last year. Many don’t realize that the original Hocus Pocus film already had a sequel in the form of a book.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas”
As Disney celebrates the 30-year anniversary of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, rumors are swirling regarding a potential sequel for the 1993 stop-motion film as well. Much like Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, which tells the story of a saddened Jack Skellington attempting to bring Christmas traditions to Halloween Town, has become an integral part of Halloween watchlists during the spooky season.
As the frightening festivities kick into high gear during the final week of Halloween celebrations, Jack Skellington is just about everywhere, and for good reason. The 1993 critically acclaimed film was nothing short of brilliance, bringing the vocal talents of Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Ken Page, and Paul Reubens, all tied together by a gothic tapestry of song created by Danny Elfman.
The story of Jack Skellington, searching for something missing in his life, eventually lands with him kidnapping “Sandy Claws” and bringing festive traditions to Halloween Town combined with a familiar Tim Burton twist seen in other films such as Beetlejuice (1988). Despite a few hiccups with Oogie Boogie here and there, Jack realizes that Halloween Town, in its own uniqueness, along with Sally, is enough for the self-proclaimed “Pumpkin King.”
Rumors of a Film Sequel
The demand for the “Pumpkin King” remains high, even 30 years after his debut. The Nightmare Before Christmas has become cemented in our holiday traditions, Halloween and Christmas alike. Each year, celebrities such as Billie Eilish and Halsey even join the original vocal talents of Catherine O’Hara, Ken Page, and Danny Elfman (singing voice for Jack Skellington) on stage at the El Capitan Theatre to bring the whimsical compositions of the original film back to life.
Due to the massive familiarity with characters such as Oogie Boogie and Jack Skellington, who even get their own shows, ride overhauls, and meet and greets at Disneyland and Walt Disney World this time of year, rumors about Tim Burton’s return to Nightmare have been relentless of late. Some of these reports even suggest that longtime friend Johnny Depp would make his return to the open arms of Mickey Mouse and Co. as Jack Skellington.
Despite Jack Skellington’s popularity with Disney fans at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Holiday and Oogie Boogie Bash, Disney has released zero word regarding bringing Christmas Jack, Halloween Jack, or any other kind of Jack Skellington back for a new stop-motion The Nightmare Before Christmas film.
Much like “Hocus Pocus”, “A Nightmare Before Christmas” Sequel Already Exists
Whether you’re wrapping up a night of trick or treating or snuggling up under your freshly lit tree with warm cookies and milk, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a perfect film devoted to both holidays. Although the characters are gothic in nature, Lock, Shock, Barrel, and Doctor Finkelstein (William Hickey, whose most famous role comes as Uncle Lewis in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation ), work well for Christmas-time celebrations, adding a little spooky to the jolly during the holiday season.
You may feel a little fatigued rewatching the stop-motion classic over the course of both holidays. That’s completely understandable and a big reason why fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas want a sequel so badly. However, just like Hocus Pocus, one already exists, although you’ve likely never heard of it!
According to Looper.com, a “canonical novelized sequel” called “Long Live the Pumpkin Queen,” was released in 2022. The book, written by Shea Ernshaw, features popular characters like Sally (Catherin O’Hara), the ragdoll bride of Jack Skellington. The story, encouraged by Disney, actually brings to light issues experienced by Sally after she takes the lead next to Jack Skellington, becoming the official “Pumpkin Queen” of Halloween Town. Unlike her undead love interest, Sally saves Halloween Town from immediate destruction instead of almost causing it.
Ernshaw suggests that Disney wanted to find a medium in which they could “flesh out” the universe of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. It also seems that Tim Burton, who owns the rights to the characters and film, was hesitant to provide permission to move forward with the new story. The idea of creating an extended universe, much like that of the MCU, seems a bit of an odd choice by Disney. However, if it brings the “Pumpkin King and Queen” back from the dead, we’re on board.
“Long Live the Pumpkin Queen” can be purchased on Amazon and currently has thousands of reviews, many suggesting that the story is a great detailed expansion of the original film. The Disney novel is also available via Goodreads, where it has around 16,000 reviews, leading to a 3.9 out of 5-star rating for the story. So, if you’re looking to immerse yourselves even further into the spooky universe of Halloween Town, you now have your answer! As you pull down the skeletons and deck the halls, hitting the couch with a good book, especially one based on Nightmare, is a great way to kick off the 2023 holiday season.