It’s one of the rare animated movies in Disney’s vault never to have received a sequel, but now Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is finally getting a follow-up. In the form of a new novel, that is.
This weekend, Disney Publishing announced a currently untitled YA book written by best-selling author Shea Ernshaw (The Wicked Deep) which will pick up the story of Halloweentown and its inhabitants after the events of the iconic 1993 stop-motion classic. Speaking in a Disney Q&A hosted by io9, Ernshaw revealed that the new novel will be from the point of view of Sally, Jack Skellington’s Bride of Frankenstein-like love interest, and explore her navigating her newfound role as Pumpkin Queen following her marriage to her skeleton husband.
“This new book, written from the point of view of Sally, takes place shortly after the movie ends. It’s the yet-to-be-told love story of Sally and Jack. But it’s also a coming-of-age story for Sally, as we see her navigate her new royal title as the Pumpkin Queen of Halloween Town,” Ernshaw said. “[It] will hopefully give fans a long-awaited second dose of Sally, Jack, and all the familiar residents of Halloween Town, while introducing a new cast of grim, strange characters, that I hope readers will love.”
Ernshaw went on to explain that the sequel will give Sally her own character arc similar to Jack’s quest to rediscover his purpose in life in the movie, as well as gushing over how “compelling” the heroine is to write for.
“One of the core themes in The Nightmare Before Christmas was Jack’s struggle to understand his identity,” she says. “In this book, I really wanted to explore Sally’s identity, and better understand not only who she is now that she’s fallen in love with Jack and taken on the role of the Pumpkin Queen, but also understand how her past has affected her present desires, doubts, and dreams. What does a ragdoll truly want out of life? What is she afraid of? And how much is she willing to risk to save those she loves? As we will learn in the book, she’s willing to risk quite a lot. Sally is one of the most compelling, and also richly-layered characters I’ve ever written, and it’s an honor to get to tell her story.”
Given the surge of live-action remakes from the studio in recent years, fans have often clamored for a new Nightmare movie of some kind, whether it be a reboot or a continuation of the original story like this book. No such project has officially been announced as yet, but it’s worth pointing out that Disney released a Hocus Pocus sequel novel a few years ago and now Hocus Pocus 2, loosely based on that, is about to enter production.
Could the studio be playing the long game here by planting the idea of a Nightmare Before Christmas sequel in people’s heads with this book, only to make another film in a few years’ time? Who knows, but what we can say is that Shea Ernshaw’s novel is due to hit shelves in June 2022.