Villain Overview

It's showtime!
~ Betelgeuse's catchphrase.
Ah. Well. I attended Juilliard. I'm a graduate of Harvard Business School. I traveled quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and I had a pretty good time during that. I've seen The Exorcist about 167 times! And it keeps getting funnier EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT! NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY! NOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK?! You think I'm qualified?
~ Betelgeuse on his qualifications.

Betelgeuse (pronounced Beetlejuice) is the titular main antagonist of the 1988 horror comedy film Beetlejuice, and the anti-heroic protagonist of the spinoff animated television series of the same name.

He was portrayed by the Academy Award-nominated actor Michael Keaton in his first villainous role, who also played the Vulture, Chick Hicks in Disney/Pixar's Cars, Ken and V.A. Vandevere in remake of Dumbo.


Betelgeuse's appearance is consistent with what a deceased corpse generally looks like: his skin is decayed with a pale chalky coloring, his eyes are surrounded by thick black rings of decay, and his teeth and fingernails are severely decreased and discolored. Beetlejuice's hair is an odd putrid green color that sticks out at all ends. His outfit consists of matching black and white striped pants and a blazer, with a white undershirt, and black tie.


Betelgeuse's personality varied significantly between the TV series and the film; while still being an agent of chaos and a fairly macabre and objectionable character, he was more heroic than he had originally been portrayed in the film and even had a human friend (which contrasts his personality in the original film, where he labeled himself a "bio-exorcist").

In the film, Betelgeuse is shown to have the personality of a demented con artist who used Adam and Barbara Maitland in order to cause chaos upon the residents of their home. He tends to also have a temper when anyone interferes with his "work" and known to keep grudges.

Betelgeuse has shown to be quite nasty as he tries to sexually assault Barbara numerous time and also has a somewhat demented fondness for Lydia even though he was also using her to be free to cause chaos amongst the living.

Betelgeuse has shown that he is a foul-mouthed, demented, and troublesome ghost who seems to only care about himself and the chaos he brings in which he sees as his profession. Although it's proven that he cares nothing for the living and would even potentially kill someone due to his tricks and won't care. Betelgeuse also has no sense of boundaries and is outright disgusting and obnoxious.


Betelgeuse is a freelance poltergeist who specializes in the art of "Bio-exorcism", the act of scaring living occupants out of their own house. During the film, Betelgeuse lives in exile inside of a small miniature remake of the town of Winter River, buried in the model town's graveyard. Betelgeuse can only be resurfaced by manually traveling to the town and being re-dug from his grave, and if his employers hire him can then on be instantly summoned by reciting his name three times in a row. Betelgeuse's date of birth and death are unknown but it is known by context that he died a long time ago, and has been enjoying his afterlife for what has most likely been centuries.


In the film, Betelgeuse was darker and more openly malicious than he would become in the cartoons, arguably being one of the main antagonists, though he also acted as a benefactor of sorts to the heroes; though there was no attempt to hide the fact that Betelgeuse was not meant to be a nice character, even the heroes who summoned him knew that he was, pretty much, a demon. But Betelgeuse was still used as a force of (relative) good, as his chaos was directed largely at a group of human antagonists, though he was still rude, obnoxious, and hostile towards the heroes as well, not to mention the fact that he also tried to force one of the main characters to be his unwilling bride, much to her disgust.

Beetlejuice: The Animated Series

In the animated series, Betelgeuse was depicted as being more heroic (though he'd still be a bit dishonest sometimes). He is often referred to as "BJ" for short. A recurring gag has him using figures of speech and idioms and then changing himself and/or his surroundings to match the pun (e.g., if he says something bugs him, he'll turn into an insect).


  • Originally, Betelgeuse was an assistant to Juno until he went on his own as a freelance bio-exorcist until Juno banished him in a model cemetery. It was not long until he was released from his prison and once again spread chaos.
  • Betelgeuse was voiced by Stephen Ouimette in the animated series.
  • Betelgeuse's appearance in the original script had him as a tall, black, winged demon, that could transform into the appearance of a small middle eastern man.
  • Originally, Tim Burton wanted Sammy Davis Jr. and then Dudley Moore to play the role of Betelgeuse.
  • In 2011, an American dubstep producer known as Figure, released a track by the name Betelgeuse. In the track, Betelgeuse's voice is featured, and Betelgeuse is used as the cover-art of the track.
  • Betelgeuse made a cameo in the 2018 sci-fi film Ready Player One.
  • Despite being the main villain, he had little screen time.
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