Goosebumps: Horrorland, aka. Goosebumps 2, may not bring back Jack Black as Goosebumps author R.L Stine. The 2015 film adaptation of the children’s book series Goosebumps managed to please fans of the book and the Goosebumps TV series, with its combination of kid-friendly comedy, supernatural horror, and all the nostalgia that the Goosebumps stories bring for those who grew up reading them.
The film is a fictionalized biography for Goosebumps author R.L Stine (Black), in which the new kid in town, Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette), accidentally unleashes the monsters from Stine’s tales, leading Stine, Zach, and Stine’s daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush) to confront these creatures and return them to the books. Goosebumps was a modest box office hit and was generally well-received by fans, prompting Sony to green-light a sequel. Currently titled Goosebumps: Horrorland, the sequel is still in pre-production – and while Jack Black was previously reported as being attached to the project, the latest update on the sequel reveals that might not be the case after all.
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Variety reports that Sony has hired writer Rob Lieber to write a new script draft for the Goosebumps sequel – one that is believed to not include Black as R.L Stine. Lieber’s screenplay is one of many Goosebumps sequel script drafts that are currently circulating around Sony; some of them include Black’s character, others don’t, and they are all based on different books from the Goosebumps series. Contrary to earlier reports stating that Black was already onboard for the sequel, it seems he has not yet finalized a deal to return, but that he may yet reprise his role as Stine if his schedule allows it.
Goosebumps: Horrorland will bring back Rob Letterman as director, with Darren Lemke – who wrote the script for the first Goosebumps film – also expected to be involved in some capacity. It’s unknown if Lemke is still onboard as writer, if he will work along with Lieber, or if Lieber will take over writing the script from here. Lieber is a well-known name in the family comedy genre, with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and The Goldbergs being among his writing credits.
The Goosebumps sequel was originally scheduled for a January 2018 release, before it was pushed back to September 2018. With the film still in pre-production and no official script yet, the film may wind up being delayed yet again. Truth is, the Goosebumps book series has enough material for writers to build a fun sequel that could match (or surpass) the previous film’s success. While Black’s role is a big part of the story’s essence, the sequel could still work without him if handled properly.