New ‘Ghostbusters’ Movie Announced Set in the Original Universe

Nancy Bilyeau
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Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray in a scene from the film 'Ghostbusters', 1984. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)

Jason Reitman, the son of the original Ghostbusters director, Ivan Reitman, will direct and co-write a brand-new Ghostbusters movie, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The upcoming film “will be set in the world that was saved decades previously by the proton pack-wearing working stiffs in the original 1984 movie.”

It has not been released who will be in the cast of the new movie. The release date would be 2020.

Jason Reitman

“I’ve always thought of myself as the first Ghostbusters fan, when I was a 6-year-old visiting the set. I wanted to make a movie for all the other fans,” Reitman told Entertainment Weekly. “This is the next chapter in the original franchise. It is not a reboot. What happened in the ‘80s happened in the ‘80s, and this is set in the present day.”

In the original Ghostbusters universe, Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Akroyd), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudston) “defeated Gozer the Gozerian … and later dethroned Vigo the Carpathian in 1989’s sequel, Ghostbusters II.” Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, and Annie Potts also starred in the original film, to great acclaim.

Left to right: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis (1944 – 2014) as paranormal investigators in Ivan Reitman’s 1984 comedy ‘Ghostbusters’. Photo by Columbia Pictures/Archive Photos/Getty Images

A different direction was taken in the 2016 release of a new Ghostbusters movie directed by Paul Feig and starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. That film received mixed reviews.

Reitman said in the EW interview, “I have so much respect for what Paul created with those brilliant actresses, and would love to see more stories from them. However, this new movie will follow the trajectory of the original film.”

Cadillac station wagon “Ectomobile.” Photo by Greg Gjerdingen CC BY 2.0

People magazine reported, “Reitman previously directed the Oscar-nominated Up in the Air starring George Clooney in 2009, as well as last year’s Tully starring Charlize Theron. He also helmed 2007’s Juno starring Ellen Page.”

Aykroyd came up with the idea for Ghostbusters as a project for himself and his friend John Belushi, traveling through time. After Belushi’s death, it was reworked and Bill Murray co-starred.

Bill Murray in 2015. Photo by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 3.0

The quartet star as New York City-based “paranormal investigators.” When their government grants run out, the former three go into business as “Ghostbusters,” later hiring Hudson. The team are overwhelmingly successful, ridding The Big Apple of dozens of ghosts.

A bureaucrat, William Atherton, regards the Ghostbusters as charlatans and opposes them, but regrets it when New York is besieged by an army of unfriendly spirits, conjured up by a long-dead Babylonian demon and “channeled” through cellist Sigourney Weaver.

Firehouse, Hook & Ladder Company 8, the New York City firehouse used as the exterior of the Ghostbusters headquarters. Photo by Phillip Ritz CC BY 2.0

Much of the film is ad-libbed in its dialogue, particularly the scenes featuring Bill Murray. The time to film the movie was so limited that original director Reitman later said “the final print included incomplete special effects shots and errors like ‘wires showing’ but, ‘remarkably, people didn’t care.’ ”

Scenes in the montage sequence of the Ghostbusters running around New York (and also driving in the Ecto-mobile) were done on the first day, mostly without film permits.

A puppet of Slimer at Film Legends Museum in Poděbrady Film Legends Museum. Photo by Film Legends Museum – Own work CC BY-SA 4.0

Ghostbusters was a tremendous hit, earning more than $200 million. The theme song, by Ray Parker Jr., was also a hit.

Eddie Murphy was planning to play the part of Winston, but pursued Beverly Hills Cop instead. Ernie Hudson said later his part was drastically cut.

In a 2015 article for Entertainment Weekly, Hudson wrote: “I love the character and he’s got some great lines, but I felt the guy was just kind of there. I love the movie, I love the guys. I’m very thankful to Ivan for casting me. I’m very thankful that fans appreciate the Winston character. But it’s always been very frustrating — kind of a love/hate thing, I guess.”

Read another story from us: ‘Coming to America 2’ Moving Forward with Eddie Murphy

After Harold Ramis died, fans of the movie paid tribute to him by visiting the New York City firehouse used in the movie and created a makeshift memorial featuring Nestle Crunch Bars (in reference to Venkman giving Spengler a candy bar) and Twinkies (in reference to Spengler using the Twinkie to describe the ghost problem in New York City).