Bill Murray’s Reluctance To Return Was Always A Barrier
It would be wrong to say Bill Murray was the sole hold-up over Ghostbusters 3, but his sequel aversion was certainly an issue. In a way, it was lucky the studio even managed to convince him to make Ghostbusters II. Murray had actually been pitched on a completely different idea for the second movie that involved Dana (Sigourney Weaver) being kidnapped and taken to Scotland, which had a huge underground civilization. Murray dubbed this version The Last Of The Ghostbusters – specially to rule out a third movie – but once he’d signed on, the concept changed completely. Murray later admitted he found the experience unsatisfying, despite feeling the sequel had some funny scenes. He also felt the effects overwhelmed the story.
In the years that followed - except that brief period where he enjoyed voicing the game - Murray rarely expressed excitement about another movie. When Sony started seriously developing Ghostbusters 3 with the Stupnitsky and Eisenberg draft, Murray already seemed to regret stating he was open to another sequel. Sony didn’t want to make it without his involvement, but he would neither commit to an appearance or – reportedly – read the drafts he was sent. In an interview with David Letterman, he’d even call talk of a third film his ‘nightmare.’
Murray’s real issue was his belief another movie couldn’t possibly top the original, and it was merely being made to keep the franchise alive. He also felt the cast was too old to be running after ghosts. When Ghostbusters 3 was finally scrapped, Murray would eventually cameo as a new character in Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot, where he’s quickly killed off – presumably to rule out a sequel return.
Why It’s Finally Happening Now
The 2016 Ghostbusters proved to be expensive to produce, and the film’s underperformance led to sequel plans being canceled. Ivan Reitman teased an animated spinoff was in development following the movie but little has been heard about that project recently, and many assumed the franchise was on hold. It came as a major shock when it was revealed Jason Reitman would direct Ghostbusters 3, which is aiming for a Summer 2020 release. The story apparently revolves around four teens – two boys and two girls – who become Ghostbusters. Dan Aykroyd actually spoiled this reveal back in November, but given his history of crying wolf with the third movie, nobody really believed him.
So why is it happening now? Well for one, Ghostbusters is simply too valuable an IP to let sit on the shelf for another 25 years. Following the surprise success of their Jumanji reboot, Sony is currently in the process of dusting off a lot of old favorites including Men In Black International and Bad Boys For Lif3. For another, it took a lot of untangling to actually get the 2016 Ghostbusters made, so while the resulting film didn’t hit the numbers the studio hoped for, a new revival still has the potential to kickstart a new series. Legacy sequels have also become a hot trend, and many felt that one of the biggest missteps of the 2016 movie was to be a complete reboot. Hiring Jason Reitman sends the clear message this will be a true legacy movie, and while returning cast haven’t been announced yet, Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson at least feel like safe bets.
Curiously enough, a recent report suggested Aykroyd and Murray are pairing together for a cameo in Zombieland 2, another Sony project, so perhaps a return appearance by Dr Venkman in Ghostbusters 3 isn’t just a pipe dream this time.