Like any other long-time fan of the Ghostbuster’s franchise, I got highly excited each time Dan Akyroyd ensisted that a third movie was coming. Of course, each time a little less so, but excited nonetheless. Then, a ray of hope came when Dan Akyroyd came out in August of 2011 and said:
“Yes, we will be doing the movie and hopefully with Mr. Murray, that is our hope. We have an excellent script. What we have to remember is that ‘Ghostbusters’ is bigger than any one component, although Billy was absolutely the lead and contributive to it in a massive way, as was the director and Harold [Ramis], myself and Sigourney [Weaver]. The concept is much larger than any individual role and the promise of ‘Ghostbusters 3’ is that we get to hand the equipment and the franchise down to new blood.”
He went on to discuss how it was about the previous Ghostbusters getting old and needing a new generation to take over and even included a name-drop of “Criminal Minds”‘ Matthew Gray Gubler who could be a great replacement for either Egon or Ray. Unfortunately the intervening period saw the production drag slowly along and the passing of Harold Ramis, after which director Ivan Reitman lost interest as well. Fans thought that was the end for Ghostbusters. Then July and August came with rumors of Sony Pictures looking for a new director and that’s when the train once again picked up steam.
Unfortunately, the crash was right around the corner. First, came the announcement that Paul Feig was chosen to direct. Now, his previous movies, Bridesmaids and The Heat, were relatively well recieved but they were a completely different sort of humor than what the Ghostbusters franchise has been built around. It also came with a looming bit of worry since wherever Feig goes, he tends to bring Melissa McCarthy.
I have nothing against her personally, but if a majority of her roles are any indication, we’ll be replacing Bill Murray’s lovable, sarcastic and witty Venkman with Melissa McCarthy’s rude, crass and mostly unlikable characters she’s brought to “The Hangover Part III”, “The Heat”, “Identity Thief”, and “This Is 40”. Realistically, they’re all the same character. A self-important bitch who’s unnecessarily rude and vulgar to everyone around her yet never seems to get any real comeuppance for her behavior and is instead liked for it in the end. In my opinion, the only way McCarthy could work is as a Walter Peck type of character. The rude, asshole who tries to shut down what they don’t understand and makes things worse. At this point the train was barrelling down the tracks towards a parked car but we were hoping that car could still move out of the way.
So, hot on the tail of the announcement of Feig directing came his insistance that it was going to be an entirely female cast. I have no problem with it being all female as long as those are the people who are best for the roles. I’d rather see a casting call going out regardless of gender (because you can gender swap anyone except Vankman in the original movie and have to change almost nothing about the script) and for the roles to be filled by whoever is best. The announcement of an all female cast before you even have a script means he’s only doing it for the novelty of having an all female cast. So now the train has hit the car, but it hasn’t derailed yet. We still had at least Dan Akyroyd returning to pass the torch to the new actors.
That was short-lived as Feig announces that his Ghostbusters will be a complete reboot. Now the train has completely derailed. The only hope of seeing Peter, Ray, or Winston again are as cameos the way the original Star Trek cast was going to be shoehorned into the Abramsverse as Academy instructors before they changed their mind. Before we’d have had to deal with a new cast, but at least there would be the approval of the old cast visually as they were there to pass the torch. Now, Feig has to deal with the fact that his Ghostbusters will be constantly compared to their original counterparts and will have a lot to live up to. It’s easier to get away with making a mediocre sequel (they did it in Ghostbusters 2 if we’re being honest), but when you reboot something and you don’t do it just right, you not only alienate the original fans but fail to make any new ones.
Just like with other things still in production, I dearly hope I’m wrong but there’s been no evidence of it so far.