(This is an article about Ghostbusters...
Thor's hammer (and other things) is used as an example.)
We all have our “faves” — our “don't touch this” franchises. Who else could do Back to the Future if it isn't Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd?
Who else could play the Man Without a Name in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly but Clint Eastwood? You wanna see Brett Dalton (Grant Ward in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) play Harry “making my day” Callahan in in the Dirty Harry movies? How about one of Clint's kids (Kyle or Scott) play the role...
Iconic offerings don't need updating. Humphrey Bogart? Let it ride... it's good just the way it is.
Julie Andrews? Are you kidding me? Who'd even want to follow her in a role?! Couldn't be done.
Some roles are just exclusive.
Who Can Wield Mjolnir?
Some items are considered exclusive, too. Thor's hammer? I used to think so... not anymore. Captain America's shield? Nope. Batman's bat-a-rang? Only if Robin is using it — and only under the Caped Crusader's watchful eye. Maybe his own daughter, The Huntress. And, Commissioner Gordon's daughter, Batgirl. And, Batwoman — all in the same comics family, though. Still...
It is said, “Only one who is worthy may wield the might of Mjolnir” (Thor's hammer). But, is that exclusive? If one can wield Mjolnir, is that one the only person who is worthy?
Nope. Beta Ray Bill, Bor, Captain America, Conan, Hulk & Thunderstrike have all wielded Mjolnir in the Marvel Universe.
Throg, a noble frog enchanted as such from a mortal being (Simon Walterson), helped Thor beat up on some evil rats and, after the battle, discovered a sliver of Mjolnir that had conveniently broken off. He was able to wield that sliver as his weapon as a member of the Pet Avengers.
Red Hulk may not have been worthy, but he was powerful enough to overcome the enchantment's weight maximum and beat Thor to a pulp with his own hammer.
Superman & Wonder Woman, both from DC in crossover events, have wielded Mjolnir. Who would be more worthy than these two?
Now, Marvel has cooked up this "woman Thor". Not a fan. She should still be who she was... "with the power of Thor". Thor is still Thor, after all. It was his birth name!
But, Mjolnir is a thing. And, just because someone is worthy, it, apparently, doesn't preclude another from also being worthy.
Anyone can be a Green Lantern, if your heart is right.
Captain America's shield is a thing. It has been ably carried by a number of high-profile characters.
Movies are something different.
Who wants to see anyone other than Dan Aykroyd, the late Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and the effervescent Bill Murry bringing down those aweful ecto-whatsis... thingie... dead people leftovers... ?
The nerdy and professional Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) was the intellect around which the team was built. The charismatic leader of the group, Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) provided the, er, level-headed guidance that kept the team grounded. The strength of heart and the strong right arm was provided by Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), hired by the team to be their driver ending up being a partner.
And, the spirit and bravado of the team — the hyper-imaginitive, “can do” (or, I'm unemployed) sword of the team role was taken up by Peter Venkman (Bill Murray).
No, a remake of Ghostbusters would be impossible. Saturday Night Live — where Aykroyd got his break — hasn't really been the same since the Not Ready for Primetime Players left to go find their own ways on the screen.
Yeah... it's lasted, like, forever. But, it's still not the same. Take away John Belushi (RIP) and Chevy Chase and the soul of imagination that all their humor was built upon was never the same. Take away Jane Curtain and Gilda Radner and the giddy goofiness they provided was different without them. Take away the deadpan and observational comedy of Dan Aykroyd and ... not the same.
I'm not a fan of slapstick comedy — it's too easy and cheap to create. I prefer the cerebral comedy ... the thought out genius ... and the charisma that a great comedian can bring. Jerry Lewis? Great. Danny Kaye? Not so much. Chevy Chase? Awesome! Rob Schneider? No... Jim Carrey? Beyond great. Adam Sandler? Childish and incomprehensible, sometimes.
Some have it. Some ... just don't.
Ghostbusters has it. It. Is. Timeless. How do you update something that doesn't need updating? You'd still bring in an old, rebuilt-no-telling-how-many-times ambulance, a jerk mayor, ancient creatures looking for release from hell... yeah... you could do that. But, why? These guys have already done it.
What you could do
What you could do is continue the story. And, you can do that a couple of ways. But, anything you do has to tip a cap to the original.
Bring on new people
The original guys are/were professors at Columbia University. They have had thousands of students go through their classes and there will be those students who could relate to the stories their professors were telling.
The new Ghostbusters movie scheduled for release in 2016 could do that. Four girls get caught up in something they have only heard stories of — stories they heard... back at Columbia — from these three professors.
So, they go back to Columbia. Depending on which of the three remaining originals they can get for reasonable contract, they approach him with their story. Him, now their mentor, is, at first, skeptical. There hasn't been any eeriness in the world since they blew up the marshmallow man in New York years and years ago.
Him doesn't even know where the equipment they used might be. Wait, maybe Winston still has it! It was all stashed into the ambulance after the battle and he drove the ambulance.
Go to Winston. He shows the girls how to use the equipment, what to look for, how to stand tall and proud... and, how to run like all your hair is on fire and your ass is catching when something goes wrong!
Then, send 'em out. Great potential! Depends on the script, direction and the actors. It could be as good as the original trilogy.
Bring back the original guys.
You could also bring back the original guys. Well, three of them, anyway — with Ray present only in conversation.
Ray has heard stories of out-of-the-ordinary paranormal activity in, say, Romania. He has gone to check on it. Bizarreness happens and Ray cannot be found.
Someone there calls back to Egon. Egon finds Winston. Winston has lent the equipment out to these four girls — we weren't ever gonna use it, again... Egon goes back to Columbia and creates some new, really great equipment.
And, he needs a guinea pig — so he calls Venkman, the only man he knows that is stupid enough — and brass enough — to give this equipment a proper test.
The three of them gather (along with Egon's protege / assistant — someone like Ben Stiller, Will Smith, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Rock, Luke Wilson... or Channing Tatum — someone who can, as the story progresses, step up and provide the nerdy braininess the team would need — who would initially get so much in the way as to blow up the efforts of the team) and Venkman goes in...
The story goes on. The exclusiveness is maintained, but shared — always giving homage to the story that went before.
The old guys get one more whirl... the girls take up the mantle and go where no man had gone before... and, the franchise continues.
Keep the same world. Don't update it — continue it to date.
Sony Plans New ‘Ghostbusters’ Film With Russo Brothers, Channing Tatum & ‘IM3′ Scribe Drew Pearce
Then again, maybe you are Dan Aykroyd and you have come up with a concept that Sony likes and you are going to create an entire Ghostbusters Universe where the girls can play, the old guys can still have their fun and, maybe, we can bring in some other young guys (mixed guys and gals? College classmates?).
It could happen... And...
Sony also owns Spiderman and all the peripheral characters that go with his domain. Plus, Sony and Marvel are building a unique team-up association with each other that could lead to ... I dunno ...
A Ghostbusters / Avengers Crossover?
Have to be done right.
Pretty much, everyone assumes Thor's hammer is exclusive to Thor. And, pretty much, you'd have to pry it out of Thor's hand to get it. But, history has shown us that just because one is worthy, that does not exclude others from also being worthy.
And, history has shown us, when we take a movie franchise like Ghostbusters and extend it using the same environment and, where possible, the same original actors, you can do this.
Don't try to fool your public
Only the magic of Samantha Stevens in the old Bewitched television series (and the remarkable physical similarities between Dick Sargent and Dick York) could allow you to change out an iconic actor for another actor in a role. It doesn't happen very often — maybe once in a generation — and is usually a recipe for destroying your franchise.
M*A*S*H showed us that, by simply replacing the characters and maintaining the story line, the show can, truly, go on.
So, I say, let the girls have their fun. A sorority slinging green electrical bolts to capture ectoplasmic creatures and jar them in a magnetic bottle could be hysterical! Especially if all the elements work.
Having a bunch of old guys with new technology going out to find and/or revenge their friend? These old guys? Yeah. They can do it.
If Marvel ever puts together a movie about Marvel Zombies — Ghostbusters would have to be a part of that! They would be awesome!