Betelgeuse is the name of a star; second-brightest in the constellation of Orion. Then why the antagonist with the twisted dark motivation has the same name of a star?

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    I hope everybody realises that it's not actually pronounced beetlejuice, but more like baytelgerze.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 29, 2016 at 6:51
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    @Tetsujin it's really really not
    – OrangeDog
    Aug 29, 2016 at 7:09
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    We also have a few in-house answers for the pronunciation : ell.stackexchange.com/q/74907
    – Montag451
    Aug 29, 2016 at 7:13
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    As an amateur star tour guide and as a speaker of a Semitic language, Beit - Al - Jawza is how the name of the star should be pronounced. Beit is house, Al is "the". The name translates to "The house of Jawza", Jawza being a mythological being who the constellation represents (Orion in English). Note that in Semitic languages the armpit is called the arm house, for instance Hebrew בית השחי so one could translate the name as "the armpit of Orion".
    – dotancohen
    Aug 29, 2016 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


Beetlejuice was named after the Betelgeuse Star, a star in the Orion constellation. The reasoning behind this is that Betelgeuse is supposed to be the doorway to the infinite blackness of outer space, a metaphor for Beetlejuice being the doorman of the underworld.

The rest of the answer is more about the switch between the name of the antagonist and the name of the movie itself and its pronunciation and includes none to little guesswork about the reason behind the reason for the antagonist's name originally being Betelgeuse.

From Indiewire

The title for “Beetlejuice” is a play on the character Betelgeuse’s name, which in turn based on the Betelgeuse star, which is housed in the infinite blackness of space but in the same constellation as the more famous star Orion. (Screenwriter McDowell was surprised anyone picked up on the reference.) Warner Bros, however, didn’t think there was anything clever or funny or interesting about the movie’s title, and begged Tim Burton to allow them to change it. He refused.

The alternate title the studio had come up with was “House Ghosts,” which, at the very least, beats out “Anonymous Haunted House Story 39480,” which more or less conveys the same general mood and aura. Burton, the story goes, suggested “Scared Sheetless” as a joke (a reference to the scene where the Maitlands attempt to scare the Deetzes out of the house by wearing bed sheets – something they consider spooky but comes off as utterly laughable). Much to Burton’s horror, the studio actually liked his idea, and tried to rename the movie. Burton finally put his foot down and said that the movie would be called “Beetlejuice.” Once and for all.

I've found also these two sources on the subject which include more straightforward answers to the question and have correct astronomical references :)

From Movieplot:

This guy's name may be pronounced as Beetlejuice, but it is actually written as "Betelgeuse" (named after the 9th brightest star in the night sky). The reason that director Tim Burton decided to title the film 'Beetlejuice' opposed to 'Betelgeuse' is actually very straight forward.

A: Beetlejuice sounds funnier (for the younger audience)

B: Beetlejuice is a lot easier to remember, pronounce and spell compared to Betelgeuse.

The film studio actually disliked the title, and considered renaming the picture "House Ghosts." As a bit of a Mickey take, director Tim Burton put forward the idea "Scared Sheetless," but was horrified when he discovered that the studio was actually considering it!

So, as you can imagine... the original intent of Tim Burton was to name the film "Betelgeuse," but they later decided on the name change for the movie, but not for the title character, hence why we see "Betelgeuse" in the TV advert and gravestone. Confusing for those who don't know, but actually pretty straight forward for those of us who do!

From Beetlejuice Wikia:

Betelgeuse's name is often spelled phonetically as "Beetlejuice", as in the title. However, during the film his name spelled Betelgeuse (like the star Betelgeuse) during his ad on TV, and everywhere in the grave scene.

There has been great debate over which spelling of his name is correct. Some say that because his name is the same as the introduction, this is proof they meant it as Beetlejuice, while others claim that was an error as the credits of the film spell his name "Betelgeuse". Nowhere during the film is his name spelled Beetlejuice, unless watched with subtitles on, in which it is said from Lydia's interpretation from playing charades with him. The Maitlands used the astrological spelling... after several mispronunciations.

Some also argue that he may not have been permitted to write his name the way it should, much like he can't say his own name. However, it is just as likely that he cannot misspell his own name any more than a mispronunciation of it can summon him, a condition that compounds his curse since his name is not spelled phonetically. It is also worth noting that there are hints of a greater meaning in several of the names in the movie, since Betelgeuse means "the hand of Orion," and Betelgeuse's former master was named Juno, a character clearly named after the Queen of the Roman gods, protector and special councilor of the state.

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    That article looks quite misinformed, at least for the astronomy part: Orion is not the name of a star. Aug 29, 2016 at 8:45
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    Is there any way to summarize the essential information from those quotes rather than just throwing a huge wall of quotes at us?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 29, 2016 at 9:23
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    It doesn't answer the question of why Michael Keaton's character is called Betelguese/Beetlejuice. It talks a great deal about the spelling, but that has nothing to do with the question. (I checked all four revisions that currently exist.) Aug 29, 2016 at 9:56
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    @NapoleonWilson: It at least tries to now, although it just blind-links to a page stating the claim as fact without citing any supporting evidence. So it at least tries now, but no, not really. Aug 29, 2016 at 11:59
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    In the movie, Beetlejuice is not allowed to tell anyone his name. This may extend to print. Thus, he uses the spelling of the star to get people to say his name, much like the charades trick he did with Lydia. As long as they can pronounce the name correctly, it works, but it doesn't matter how they get there so long as Beetlejuice doesn't tell them directly. Aug 29, 2016 at 14:26

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