Could Ghostbusters 3 finally, after decades of false starts and delays, begin shooting by the beginning of 2014?

The project has producer and actor Dan Aykroyd enthusiastically onboard, with Ivan Reitman returning to direct and a script that may or not include contributions from Aykroyd, Reitman, Etan Coen and The Office writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. Everything is more or less in place, and it sounds as though Aykroyd is once again confident that the wheels of progress are turning – for real this time.

Speaking to ABC News, Aykroyd has said the Ghostbusters 3 screenplay is undergoing rewrites, and that he feels “reinvigorated” by the work that’s been done so far, adding:

“I know that we’re expecting half of the screenplay to be completed very soon. It should be into production by the fall and be shooting by the New Year.

“It’s very exciting. The Higgs Boson and the particle theories, gluons and mesons, that really gives us a scientific base in terms of our fictional storytelling, to open up to another dimension and have something horrible coming through.”

Readers who’ve been following the story of Ghostbusters 3 for a while will probably already know to take this latest statement with a pinch of salt. Aykroyd originally estimated that production would be underway by fall 2009. Then a long time passed before a new start date of May 2011 was announced. Then the plan was begin shooting in spring 2012. Prior to Aykroyd’s comments today, his most recent guess was that filming would begin in summer 2013.

There has also been something of a saga related to Bill Murray’s involvement with the film, or lack thereof. The actor has never made a secret of his skepticism regarding the threequel and this was a major cause of the lengthy delays to development, since Murray needed to sign off on the script before production could get underway.

For a long time he refused to so much as read the script, let alone approve it. Reports of his resistance to the project circulated for years, and though it’s difficult to separate the rumors (which included a story about Murray shredding the script and returning it with a note reading, “No one wants to pay money to see fat, old men chasing ghosts!”) from the facts, its pretty clear that Murray didn’t want to be involved with Ghostbusters 3, didn’t particularly want the movie to get made at all, and was a significant factor in its lengthy incarceration in development hell.

It seems that Aykroyd’s struggles might finally be at an end, however, since Murray has now lost his property rights (according to Aykroyd, that is) to Ghostbusters 3, meaning that his lack of cooperation will (likely) no longer prevent plans from moving forward. With that in mind, the planned New Year shooting start date might actually be the first one that can be taken seriously, and chances are good that there will be a brand new Ghostbusters movie in cinemas by 2015.

Hopefully, when (and if) Ghostbusters 3 finally arrives, it will turn out to have been well worth the wait. But even if it turns out to be terrible, at least Bill Murray will have earned the biggest “I told you so” in the history of cinema.

We’ll keep you up to date on Ghostbusters 3 news as it becomes available.

Source: ABC News (via Metro)