Actor, alien-believer and skull-bottle vodka purveyor Dan Aykroyd thinks his cinematic brain-child Ghostbusters should be revived again, this time as a live-action Netflix series along the lines of Stranger Things. The only current semi-hard plans for further Ghostbusters content involve an animated film that Ivan Reitman is helping to develop. Currently, there are no firm plans for a sequel to the 2016 Ghostbusters live-action movie reboot.
Ayrkoyd originated the concept of Ghostbusters back in the day as a possible vehicle for himself and fellow SNL alum John Belushi, and ultimately sold director Reitman on the idea. Aykroyd's movie about supernatural exterminators in New York City eventually came to the screen with himself, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis in the lead roles, and went on to become one of the biggest-grossing films of all-time. The belated sequel Ghostbusters 2 was a decent-sized hit but failed to satisfy die-hard fans, and afterward Ghostbusters as a movie concept went on seeming permanent hiatus (mostly because Bill Murray wanted nothing to do with further sequels). However, in 2016 Ghostbusters was revived with an all-female cast, an endeavor that led to an all-out internet uprising by outraged male fans. The rebooted Ghostbusters came up short at the box office, seemingly driving a stake through the heart of the movie franchise.
Still unwilling to give up on the idea he spun out decades ago and helped nurse to life, Aykroyd thinks there's a way to bring Ghostbusters back that doesn't involve another movie reboot. Speaking to CinemaBlend, Ayrkoyd said he could envision Ghostbusters returning as a streaming series via Netflix, perhaps with younger versions of the Ghostbusters characters:
Yes. Absolutely. Sure. Sure. I can see several possibilities there. You know? Take a cue from these guys in Stranger Things and maybe have the Ghostbusters in high school or something.
The supernatural sci-fi series Stranger Things has become a phenomenon on Netflix in large part thanks to its willingness to fully embrace 1980s nostalgia, steeping itself in the music, clothing, visual styles and pop culture of that decade. In season 2, the Stranger Things kids even get to dress up as the Ghostbusters, in a full-on loving nod to that enduring '80s institution. In Aykroyd's mind, the Stranger Things model could do more than just keep Ghostbusters nostalgically alive, it could actually point the way to reviving the universe.
The notion of a live-action Ghostbusters series on a creatively-freeing platform like Netflix may sound promising, but what of Aykroyd's idea to depict high school versions of the Ghostbusters characters? If we're talking about the original Ghostbusters trio (they didn't meet Winston Zeddemore until the events of the first movie so shoe-horning him in would require some serious violation of canon), the show would have to be set not in the '80s but the late '60s. So only by completely tossing the Ghostbusters timeline could you take advantage of '80s nostalgia a la Stranger Things. Even if you were willing to leap that hurdle, there's also the implausibility of Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler attending the same high school at the same time. One never imagined that those three guys were childhood friends who stuck together all the way through college and into their professional lives, but saw them more as smart guys who met much later and struck up a friendship.
Aykroyd is known for having a lot of daffy ideas about things like aliens, ghosts and how to bottle vodka, but one undeniably great and brilliant thing his brain spun out was the original concept for Ghostbusters. More than the admittedly genius concept though, the execution was what made the original Ghostbusters movie such a near-perfect piece of entertainment. Aykroyd's high school Ghostbusters idea could have promise, but executing it would require some pretty brilliant writing and a very good cast. Nostalgia alone isn't enough to bring the Ghostbusters back from the dead.