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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Beetle Juice
Beetlejuice is the Tuxedo Kamen style Guardian of the Senshi of the star Betelgeuse
And Lydia is supposed to be Sailor Betelgeuse. It's kinda in the title this one. Obviously he got corrupted by Metallia for the film, but got better by the series.
Donny Juice was sent to Neither Neither Land at one point.
That's the reason he's so saccharine and sweet all the time. My guess is that he used to be a lot like his brother Beetlejuice, but eventually went one step too far with some stunt or another. One trip to the Jack In The Box later, and he's the Mister Rogers clone we all know and loathe. That's why Beetlejuice is so utterly terrified of Neither Neither Land. He's seen first hand what it can do to someone.
As a living child, Beetlejuice was Calvin
Think about it. They both love mischief, scamming people, have an affinity for striped clothing, they both have blond hair, and don't do well with authority. Beetlejuice loves puns, which he could have picked up as a child from his Saturday Morning Cartoon addiction.

As for why Beetlejuice's parents don't look like Calvin's parents, my guess is that Calvin died before they did. In their grief, Mrs. Calvin threw herself into her housecleaning, while Mr. Calvin did the same with working out, resulting in the ones we see in the show.

Hobbes (who turned out to be Real After All) was eaten by a Sandworm, and that's why Beetlejuice is so frightened of them despite having enough power to defeat them.

Beetlejuice is the ghost of The Joker.

Cartoon!Beetlejuice is Lydia's Fairy Godparent
He has magic no other ghost seem to have, he's mostly focued on helping lydia and making her happy, he has the abillity to teleport and shapeshift while still having his prime colors own and usually flot. he's either pretending to be a ghost becuase he's afraid that Lydia thinks faries are lame, or he's suffering from some kind of amnesia

The show is a Prequel to the movie. Lydia and BJ just suffer from Laser-Guided Amnesia
Lydia looks a lot younger in the show then in the movie, and we've already seen that without BJ, Lydia will become very sad and depressed. It's not much of a stretch that without Lydia, BJ would become a bigger Jerkass. Sometime after the show ended, both Lydia and Beetlejuice got Laser-Guided Amnesia somehow and never met until Lydia and her parents moved to the Maitlands' house, where they met again (BJ now calling himself Betelgeuse), but they changed so much in the 4 years they never met, that they could never become friends again

The Maitlands' death scene was a false memory. Jane really wanted their house.
In the movie's afterlife, time moves quickly and the world makes a lot less sense. It would be pretty fair to say that reality is slightly off and subject to debate. The recently deceased are probably pretty confused and easily subjected to delusion. The zany slapstick death of Adam and Barbara is a fabrication they created to convince themselves someone they love didn't sabotage their car in order to collect from the sale on their house.

Jane is a shapeshifter.
She is the dog who made them crash, and was the one who delivered the final blow by hopping off the board and sending their car into the water.
  • It doesn't have to, but could even potentially link this universe to that of True Blood.

The Maitlands were infertile before they died.
Hence the look on Barbara's face and Jane's reaction of "I'm sorry I didn't mean it" when she says their house should be for a couple with a family.
  • It would also give further significance to Barbara's affinity for Lydia, and wanting to stay with her. "I like that little girl."

Lydia figured out pretty fast that she didn't want to let Beetlejuice out of the model.
When she's talking to him and he plays charades to tell her his name, she probably has it figured out quick, but can already tell he could be trouble. She's just playing stupid - even teases him by same his name twice.

Barbara was in the sandworm world for a longer time than passed in the real world as she tamed the sandworm.
When Adam steps off the front porch early in the movie, he's only there for a few seconds and Barbara tells him it's been two hours. This is inverted later in the movie when Beetlejuice sends her there and she's back with the sandworm in comparatively no time.

Beetlejuice was a child molester in life.
His visual dirtiness is a metaphor for the filth of his soul, not to mention his sexual appetite and his immediate lust for the certainly-not-legal Lydia.

Beetlejuice died of...
  • Mercury poisoning - explained by his pink fingertips and in keeping with his character in the movies as being a Dirty Old Man - Mercury used to be used to treat syphilis and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Decontamination also involves thoroughly cleaning yourself - no version of Beetlejuice was interested in personal hygiene.
  • Buried alive - a medieval punishment for unrepentant murderers, it explains why he has no visible injuries, is covered in mould, and has to be dug up by the Maitlands for them to get to him. It would also explain his pink fingers, if you assume that the pink of his fingers is blood from when he would have tried to claw his way out of the ground.
  • Most certainly NOT the plague - he said he lived through it.

Beetlejuice's friendship with Lydia in the cartoon is a form of community service.
  • BJ had been dead for so long that he forgot how to play nicely with others—living or otherwise—so after the events of the film he was moved to that quirky Neitherworld neighborhood and bound to Lydia Deetz so she can help him learn or remember what it was like to be a good person.

Beetlejuice's friendship with Lydia in the cartoon is a form of Purgatory.
  • As above, except that BJ was a horrible person in life and will be stuck in the Neitherworld until he learns how to be a good person. Once this happens, he can move on to a proper afterlife.

Near the end of the animated series, Lydia helped Beetlejuice overcome his fear of Sandworms.
  • Many of the later episodes have BJ calmly eliminate a Sandworm without a problem. And friends can help a person face their fears.

Beetlejuice committed suicide, and has certain abilities as a result
In the afterlife of the films, if you kill yourself you become a public servant in the afterlife. Juno claims that BJ used to work with her, so that suggests he was a suicide.

Perhaps in the Celestial Bureaucracy that the netherworld runs off of, government employees are granted special abilities above and beyond what most ghosts possess, to aid in their duties; that's why Beetlejuice can travel to other locations and displays Reality Warper powers that allow him to interact directly with mortals when the Maitlands can't. Note that Juno also shows the ability to visit the Maitlands in their house, so she is not bound to a specific haunting location either.

These powers come with certain rules attached, however. Just as you can visit Juno by drawing a door, you can call Beetlejuice by repeating his name; keeps him from using his abilities to go anywhere and do whatever he wants.

BJ hated his job and quit, but used a loophole to keep his abilities; going "freelance", meaning he is still somehow licensed to do this stuff, because he is still technically helping other ghosts. He works as a "bio-exorcist" because it's a job that puts him in contact with mortals, so he can look for one to marry and get out of the fate his suicide doomed him to.

When he fails in this task, he gives in and decides to serve out his sentence normally. That's why he's in the waiting room at the end of the movie; he's interviewing for his old job.
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