“Ghostbusters” fans, rejoice: The franchise is rising from the dead yet again.
This time, the original cast might be involved—well, to an extent.
Ivan Reitman, the director of the original 1984 Ghostbusters film, recently revealed some surprising news at San Diego Comic-Con. Reitman is overseeing development of both animated and live-action Ghostbusters movies, and he’s indicated that the next entry in the series might include some familiar faces.
Reitman insinuated that the new film, due in summer of 2019, could feature the cast of the original, including franchise faces Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Bill Murray. A fan then asked if Reitman was considering using CGI models to show the Ghostbusters as younger men—and to bring back Harold Ramis, who passed away in February 2014.
“It’s possible,” Reitman said. “It’s something we’re thinking of. Hint!”
That seems like more than a hint.
But will fans accept a digital recreation of the late Ramis, or will they see this as tasteless?
Science fiction fans didn’t seem to mind too much in 2016. That year, the Star Wars franchise brought back Grand Moff Tarkin, a character played by the late Peter Cushing. Cushing hadn’t played Tarkin since 1977—which made sense, given that Tarkin died in the first Star Wars.
But for a brief sequence in Rogue One, filmmakers used archive footage of Cushing to digitally recreate Tarkin. Actor Guy Henry played the role, mimicking Cushing’s voice, and nobody seemed to mind.
Then again, Harold Ramis played a much bigger role in Ghostbusters than Cushing did in Star Wars. Ramis’s daughter, Violet Ramis Stiel, spoke out on the controversy on Monday.
“It’s bizarre,” Stiel said of the rumors. “Personally, for me, it is hard to imagine that people would accept it, but who knows. The technology now is amazing.”
Would she approve of a CGI recreation?
“I try to think what would he have thought,” she said. “If it’s great and it works, then good. And if there is a problem, then obviously no.”
Obviously, the new Ghostbusters film is in its first stages, and there’s no guarantee that the original cast would return—even for a brief cameo.
There will be another significant hurdle: Bill Murray, who famously refused to consider a third “Ghostbusters” for decades.
“Those guys, Danny and Harold [Ramis], were at the top of their game,” Murray told Vanity Fair in 2015. “They were burning nitro at that moment. Unless you have a really clear vision, you’re always trying to recreate that.”
The other original Ghostbusters backed up Murray at the time.
“I totally understand,” Aykroyd said of Murray’s refusal. “The studio knew in their hearts that without Murray there may be nothing there. Plus, Ghostbusters needs a shot of youth. It’s got to be handed to the new generation.”
Murray did make an appearance in the 2016 reboot, but not as his old character, Peter Venkman. When he hit the press circuit to promote the movie, he noted his approval for the franchise’s new direction.
“Believe me, I feel like a stepfather to the whole thing,” Murray told Jimmy Kimmel, referring to the 2016 film. “There is just no quit in these girls.”
If Reitman tries to bring the original crew back together for one last run, he’ll have some hurdles in his way—and the death of one of the actors might not be the biggest challenge.