So it's no secret that there's a new [Ghostbusters (2016)](tag:32733) movie in the works. After almost 30 long years and numerous false starts, the series is being rebooted with an all female cast from director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy). As with most stuff these days, many are of course divided on this matter with some being excited for the positive message of gender equality that the concept holds whereas many others are troubled by the drastic change of a beloved franchise for what they see as a marketing gimmick.
I'm not here to bust balls one way or the other. The fact of the matter is that, like it or not, the film is happening so to start a dialogue on the pros and cons is a ship that has long since sailed.
Instead I want to share a story of a project I had in mind a couple of years ago that, like many other Ghostbusters 3 incarnations, never quite got off the ground. Before the tragic death of Harold "Egon" Ramis and Paul Feig's pitch for the reboot, there was a dream that was Ghostbusters 3 that sadly had just not found a story that all involved could get on board with. So I decided to pose a challenge to myself that I would write a script for Ghostbusters 3 and send it unsolicitedly to Ivan Reitman and/or Dan Ackroyd in the hopes that they would actually read it and let me know what they thought.
Obviously, in a realistic world, this would have just resulted in the envelope sitting unopened in an incoming mail pile. But I had hopes that I would at least one day get a letter of professional criticism or, dare I say, word that my script was in contention for what would one day be the long awaited sequel.
Sadly, three things happened before this dream would ever even so much as have a title page. First, I never came up with a fully realized story, but instead merely a few scattered (yet amazing) ideas for scenes, dialogue and a general direction. Secondly, Harold Ramis (whom played a significant role in my idea, obviously) had sadly passed away. And third, Paul Feig's reboot went into production, which put a halt to any and all plans for a direct sequel with the original cast.
However, I really wanted my ideas out there for Ghostbusters fans to read and tell me what they thought. So before we get this...
...I want people to get an idea of what could have been...possibly. I mean, not likely, but still...
So without further adieu, I give you notes, snippets and discussion of what would have been a direct sequel written by a fan for the fans.
The film would have been a direct sequel set 25-30 years after the events of Ghostbusters 2. The titular Ghostbusters are all retired with Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) sadly having passed on from cancer. This plays off one of the obstacles that the production faced of Bill Murray having little interest in a third film and allegedly saying he would only do it if he were a ghost. The idea here, though, was to not feature Murray as a ghost but to instead have his character play a larger metaphysical role to the characters without actually needing to be present.
With Ray Stantz (Dan Ackroyd), Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson), Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis) and Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) all being downgraded to supporting roles, the film would follow an all grown up version of Oscar Barrett (whom I envisioned being played by Liam Hemsworth). He would have his Ghostbusters obsessed best friend and a young attractive love interest along for the ride. The intent here is to not launch a soft reboot with a younger lead (though that option is left open) but to instead bring the series full circle with an established character.
Oscar would have grown up in the shadow of Peter Venkman and the fame of the Ghostbusters and had actually gone to resent him for it. As a result, a disconnected relationship had formed and now that Peter is gone Oscar has some unresolved emotional issues towards his father figure.
However, when his mother gets kidnapped by the Cult of Zuul – a secret society descended from the Hittites, Mesopotamians and Summarians that worshipped the minion of Gozer – he must get the help from his Ghostbusting god family to save her.
Some Points of Interest
The film would act as a sequel to the original two films while leaving the possibility of a soft reboot with Oscar and friends open. Though it wouldn't be a direct intention or necessity.
Subtle themes would serve as a running social commentary on the reboot trend Hollywood is currently engaged in and how you don't always need to "reinvent the wheel" when "the wheel is fine just the way it is. If anything all you need is a fresh tire."
There would be a lot of references to events of the original films as well as fun callouts to the cartoon (The Real Ghostbusters) for the fans to enjoy. Remember, this movie was going to be written by a fan for the fans.
The Start of the Movie
The scene plays off of the fact that Ernie Hudson now does a lot of comic convention appearances and usually wears his Ghostbusters jumpsuit at least once during the course of the weekend. Sometimes he alternates between the original tan one and the dark grey one from Ghostbusters 2.
Sitting at the table table the two would talk about the state of entertainment culture and how everything seems to be getting a fresh start (or reboot...if you will). This would all, of course, be the subtle slam at reboot culture and how sometimes you just need to bring back a good old classic just the way it has always been.
Another frequent staple of the convention scene are groups of Ghostbusters cosplayers with incredibly authentic attire. They're chaptered into fan groups and often named for the city in which they reside. Most notably (in my convention going experience) are the Philadelphia Ghostbusters. So with that, we'd get this scene:
Cue the Music: "There's something weird...in the neighborhood..."
More Tidbits of Story and Scenes...
David Marguiles' Mayor is long since retired so the new Mayor of NYC (in a perfect world) would be played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, which would also play as a satire on his political term as governor of California.
During the introduction of this character we'd also get a cameo appearance from Councilman Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) who now sits on the city's tax commission.
One of the other running jokes with the casting of Arnold would be the implication of him eventually strapping on a proton pack.
In fact, there would be a scene where ghosts have invaded City Hall and Ray drops a proton pack off with Mayor Arnold (not his actual character name but you get the idea) and instructs him to protect himself if need be.
As the sounds of ghosts, proton blasting and general chaos get closer to the mayor's office he looks towards the proton pack with the iconic thousand yard Arnold Stare...
He then gets up from his desk and disappears off camera. Soon after that a few ghosts fly through the walls of the office and Ray, Winston and/or Oscar break through the door and bust some ghosts. Everything in the office is practically destroyed, debris is everywhere and the mayor's two aids are left standing there in wide-eyed shock. Suddenly you hear the comically timed sound of an off camera toilet flush followed by Arnold emerging from his private bathroom...
"What did I miss?"
Also, throughout the movie there would be a few situations wherein a seemingly phantom force helps Oscar, Ray and company out of a jam. This is meant, and at some point discussed, to be the possibility of Peter's ghost helping them out when and where he can. It's ultimately never quite confirmed by the climax and left to speculation.
When all is said and done, Dana has been saved and Oscar – having experienced the thrill of being a Ghostbuster – puts his deep seeded resentment of Peter to bed and starts to move on with a happier life. The beginning of which would be this (in my opinion incredibly well thought out) scene:
The Post Credits Scene
Finally, we come to one of my absolute favorite moments. Sadly, this was also one of the reasons why this venture never happened because this scene involves a great moment for Harold Ramis' Egon character.
I'm not going to throw another script image in here. I'll just give you the setup and the follow through:
EGON SPENGLER sits down at a work bench in a darkly lit room. He seems confident and even a little boyishly excited. He raises his hand from off camera and reveals a power drill.
EGON: ALRIGHT...TIME TO FINALLY SEE IF YOU'LL WORK...
EGON powers on the drill and starts to slowly bring it towards his head. Right before the drill makes contact with his temple the screen goes black. We hear the distinct smack and thud of the drill being knocked out of Egon's hand followed by the familiar voice of...
PETER: STOP THAT!
The credits then continue to roll...
So what do you all think? And don't hold back. I know there isn't a lot here but do you think any of this could have been a worthy follow up to the Ghostbusters franchise? Or is it best that it never got anywhere?
Regardless, the new Ghostbusters will soon be hitting theaters from Paul Feig and starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth.
And don't forget to follow me on Twitter @ThisIsJamesT