Don't feel bad if you've lost track of exactly what's going on with the long-delayed threequel, Ghostbusters 3, because the will-they-won't-they cycle of setbacks and resurgences has spanned decades. At this point, even long-term fans of the Ghostbusters films are starting to lose their enthusiasm for seeing the series rounded out into a trilogy, and Bill Murray has long opposed seeing the franchise continued on the big screen, at one point calling the plans for a third movie, "a bunch of crock."
Two people who still passionately believe in Ghostbusters 3, however, are producer and star Dan Aykroyd, and director Ivan Reitman, both of whom are firmly locked on to return once the film heads into production. The question of whether any other cast members will return remains uncertain, and Aykroyd alone may not be enough to generate fresh interest in the movie, so it's crucial that the producers pick a promising new cast of actors to step into the Ghostbusters uniform.
Speaking in interview with Larry King on the subject of casting, and what the plot of the film will involve, Aykroyd revealed that the four new Ghostbusters will all be students at Columbia University, who stumble across the supernatural whilst conducting research in the field of physics.
“We’re going to have to cast. We need four new Ghostbusters. We need four new Columbia students ... It’s based upon new research that’s being done in particle physics by the young men and women at Columbia University. Basically there’s research being done that…I can say that the world or our dimension that we live in, our four planes of existence, length, height, width, and time, become threatened by some of the research that is being done. And ghostbusters, new ghostbusters have to come and solve the problem.”
Columbia University is the institution where Egon Spengler, Raymond Stantz and Peter Venkman all worked as parapsychologists before getting kicked out and embarking on their new career as Ghostbusters, so it's possible that the film will see Stantz back at the university and working as a professor or researcher, as a way of tying him into the story. After all, if Columbia wasn't willing to properly invest in a parapsychology department after a 50ft-tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man went on a rampage through the city (followed not long after by an animated Statue of Liberty), then they're probably long overdue for a change in management.
This isn't the first time that Aykroyd has spoken enthusiastically about incorporating recent discoveries in the field of science into the Ghostbusters 3 script. It's intriguing, but seems almost out of place for a franchise that has thus far dealt with, if not soft science, then certainly very slimy science. On the plus side, at least we might finally get a detailed explanation of why you shouldn't cross the streams.
All this, of course, is dependent on whether or not Ghostbusters 3 ends up going ahead. Aykroyd recently said that he plans to start filming by early 2014, but with that promise comes the baggage of the many, many times that Aykroyd has said that the project is about to get underway. The main difference now is that the major delay to Ghostbusters 3 - Bill Murray's refusal to sign off on the script - has now been resolved, since Murray lost the franchise rights after years of fighting against the movie being made.
Despite losing one of the franchise's biggest stars, Aykroyd insists in the interview that there are no hard feelings. He also implies that Murray could show up on the first day of filming with a change of heart, and the script would be rewritten around him:
“He’s a good friend, I love him, but he just doesn’t want to reprise the role. However, there will be a hole for him. If Billy wants to walk in the door and be in the movie, we will find a place.”
It's a touching statement, but also a slightly concerning one. At this point, Aykroyd should not be talking about leaving holes in the story for Venkman to make a last-minute return, but should instead be working on making the script as strong and cohesive as possible with the characters already in it. After all, it's going to be challenging enough to get both old fans and new audiences invested in the rookie team, without the screenwriters still being hung up on the old dynamic.
Let us know in the comments if you have any nominees for the next generation of Ghostbusters.
If Ghostbusters 3 does begin filming in early 2014 then it could be out in theaters by 2015. Though, that's a big "if."