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What Ever Happened to ‘Ghostbusters 3’?

Ghostbusters, Columbia Pistures

For the last 20 years, there have been rumors swirling of a potential 3rd Ghostbusters film, and every year the rumor would resurface setting the geek forums on fire. Then, every year the buzz would die off. There was never any real reason the film wouldn’t be successful, and Ghostbusters fans are some of the most loyal out there.

With the recent announcement of the female-led Ghostbusters reboot, all hopes of a true 3rd GB film is dead. Paul Feig is in charge of the new era of Ghostbusters films, and Columbia Pictures is giving him the green light on the direction the franchise heads. On July 15, fans will finally know whether two decades was worth the wait, when the all-new Ghostbusters: Answer the Call hits theaters. But what really happened to Ghostbusters 3? How could another film in the franchise, written by Harold Ramis with the original cast, slip through the cracks?

Ghostbusters, Columbia Pistures
Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis as the ‘Ghostbusters’. Image: Columbia Pictures

In a recent interview with io9, the original film’s director Ivan Reitman and the reboot’s director Paul Feig talked about what really happened to the dead film. (No pun intended):

“I was working on a more traditional pass-the-torch sequel,” Reitman said. “I was working on it with Harold [Ramis], Danny [Aykroyd], and Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, two very funny writers. We had a great script. We actually had a script in which Bill Murray dies in the first five minutes because that was the only way he was going to do it. And he was a ghost character for part of it. They’re passing the torch on to a group of younger Ghostbusters, one of which was Oscar, Bill’s supposed son from the second movie. It’s not clear if its his son or not. And it was very funny.”

The film was given a green light by Sony Pictures, and then everything fell apart.

 “Unfortunately in sort of the last half-year of development or so, Harold got really sick and about a year later he passed away,” Reitman continued. “And I realized there was no way I could do this film. If I was going to do Ghostbusters, I had to do it with the Ghostbusters. I was not interested in doing another Ghostbusters movie without Harold and with Bill sort of dragging his heels.”
Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures
The full team, ‘Ghostbusters’ hits theaters on July 15. Image: Columbia Pictures

Reitman decided that he couldn’t go forward with a film, but made a deal with Sony to allow them to use the property going forward. This is when Reitman called Paul Feig, and decided to shake things up a bit:

“Paul came along with an idea to basically reboot it and still pay tribute to the original,” Reitman said. “And he already had Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig interested in doing it. So I said ‘This is a no-brainer. These are two of the funniest women in the world,’ much in the way Bill and Danny were when I did it. So we started working with Paul.”

“When Ivan first contacted me there had been two scripts written, one by friends of mine, Lee and Gene, and then Etan Cohen had done one and they were really good scripts,” Feig told us. “The problem for me creatively was I didn’t like the idea that the Ghostbusters had been forgotten. I love Ghostbusters 2 but I always bumped on that at the beginning. They’re disgraced? After saving New York? It felt like you have to crawl out of the morass to do that in a way. I didn’t respond to [it]. And also I didn’t want [the new characters] to be handed the keys to the kingdom in a kingdom that had already seen these ghost attacks.”

Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures, Empire
The cast of the all-new ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot. Image: Columbia Pictures

Enter the Reboot

Paul Feig proposes something a little different:

“I can only get inspired by stories of underdogs,” Feig continued. “The idea of, ‘Wait, if we start this again in today’s world where we’ve never seen a ghost… that would be a much different experience. Then on top of it, I know how to tell a story about people who are undervalued. Who don’t know their place in the world and who people think aren’t worth their weight. So a story about those people who are right and end up proving that they’re right by saving the world? That I have juice for.”

According to Feig, the reboot pays homage to the original films, but has a modern setting and writing style. These are elements that the potential Ghostbusters 3 didn’t have.

“I couldn’t figure out how to do [that movie],” Feig said. “[Maybe] somebody else could’ve. When people get mad at me about it, [I say] ‘They came to me.’ That’s all I can tell you, ‘They came to me.’ So I’m sorry.”

It would still be great to see what Ghostbusters 3 would have been like. io9 staffer, Germain Lussier asked if there might be a possibility that we could ever read the script, even in book form. I would suggest a documentary, but with Columbia still owning the rights to the script, we may have to wait for a leaked copy to surface on the internet.

Ghostbusters (Answer the Call) hits theaters on July 15.

Brad Repka
I am an avid lover of all things Movies, TV, Games, and delicious other randomness. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave comment!
  • Spike

    Bill Murray, heh….he’d only do it if he dies in the first five minutes. Sounds like him, all right.