We've been hearing for so long that Ghostbusters 3 is going to happen (mostly from Dan Aykroyd) that it's hard to believe that we've reached a point where it could, in fact, actually become a real thing. The third installment, should it come to pass, will for all intents and purposes be a reboot of the comedy/horror franchise, now that series writer/costar Harold Ramis has passed away, Bill Murray has expressed little to no interest in being involved - and even behind the camera, Ghostbusters 1 & 2 helmer Ivan Reitman has stepped down as director.
Reitman, however, is very much playing an active role in the project's development - one that goes beyond the usual duties of being a producer, perhaps. According to an article published by Vanity Fair - one that offers an extensive look at what went into making the first Ghostbusters a reality - screenwriter Etan Cohen (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Men in Black 3) has confirmed that Reitman is spending "hours every week" and collaborating "really closely" with Cohen, when it comes to whipping the Ghostbusters 3 screenplay into shooting shape.
News that Cohen was hired to revise the previous Ghostbusters 3 script draft written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (Year One, Bad Teacher), first emerged just a month short of two years ago. By this point, however, it's likely that the current version of the script is mostly Cohen's work, and that Eisenberg and Stupnitsky will only be receiving story credit for their contributions (if even that) - while Reitman and Aykroyd (reported to be the "writer emeritus" overseeing the project) will not be recognized for their role in the writing process.
As for plot details: prior to Ramis' passing, Aykroyd revealed that Ghostbusters 3 revolves around four Columbia physics students, who become Ghostbusters in order to "solve [a] problem" - having to do with the dimensions of our reality being threatened... or something along those lines, which results in specters running amok in our world once again - and it seems reasonable to assume that the script rewrites since Ramis' death, have not altered that basic premise too much. (Ramis, who worked on an earlier Ghostbusters 3 script draft, was only ever going to play a minor role in the proceedings.)
That said, Sigourney Weaver says that Reitman recently told her that the grown-up version of Oscar - her character's son from Ghostbusters II - is indeed part of the GB3 story, as fans have long speculated would be the case. Is he one of the four Columbia students? Danny Dyson, son of programmer Miles Dyson (Joe Morton) and glimpsed as a kid during the events of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, is going to become a more prominent player as a young adult in next year's Terminator installment, Terminator: Genesis - could it be that a similar fate awaits the grown Oscar, in the next Ghostbusters live-action movie?
The most recent candidate to have been named by the rumor mill as a prospective Ghostbusters 3 director is Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Gangster Squad), though just a couple months ago it was reported that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller - currently enjoying a red-hot streak that continues with this week's new U.S. release, 22 Jump Street - were approached to take on the project, but passed on the offer. The pair have since confirmed this much to be true while being interviewed by Screen Crush - where they offered the following explanation:
"Right now, we’re just super tired and we want to take a break. We’re doing a TV show with Will Forte [called 'Last Man on Earth']. So, we don’t really know what we’re gonna do next, we just know we can’t jump into another movie like that right away. I think that there’s a good ‘Ghostbusters’ movie out there. It’s such a fun franchise. Obviously, we don’t have the same attitude as people who hate stuff before it’s even made. It’s a fun idea and it’s a fun world and I think it will work."
The reason that Lord and Miller were able to release 22 Jump Street some four months after launching the critical/box office smash The LEGO Movie, is because they actually started working on the 21 Jump Street sequel while animation was being completed for the LEGO film (with LEGO Movie 2 director Chris McKay overseeing the process). That is to say, it's reasonable to believe that, above all else, the pair just want to take a break for a while - something that wouldn't gel with Sony's reported desire to have Ghostbusters 3 in production by early 2015.
Lord and Miller are said to be "very involved" with development on the LEGO Movie followup and the Ninjago spinoff slated to arrive in 2017 and 2016, respectively, so the pair aren't done playing in that particular sandbox just yet - another reason for why the dynamic duo might be disinclined to jump into the world of ghost-busters, as the next challenge for them to tackle after having made the 21 Jump Street sequel.
Regardless, as Lord and Miller pointed out, there is still a fair amount of potential that remains to be mined from the Ghostbusters brand; for better or worse, that's one of the reasons why we're still even talking about a third live-action movie to begin with. Also taking into account the changes in the comedy landscape and quality of visual effects that've occurred since Ghostbusters II was released 25 years ago, and it might just be that now is a perfect time for a new Ghostbusters film to happen, at long, long last.
Now, let's just hope that another two years don't end up passing us by, before the arrival of the next (sorta) noteworthy update on Ghostbusters 3...
We'll continued to keep you posted on Ghostbusters 3's development.