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Why Ghostbusters 3 Never Happened

At the time of this writing, the female-led Ghostbusters reboot is in the can and slotted for a coveted summer blockbuster release date. With a built-in audience of diehard fans and a comedically proven cast, this new incarnation of everyone's favorite supernatural sleuths is poised for great success. But it's a real departure from the original Ghostbusters concept, and it comes nearly three decades after Ghostbusters II debuted. Why did this new project replace the original characters and universe of the first two movies? Are we really never going to see Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddemore again? Here's why Ghostbusters 3 never happened.

Bill Murray acted super Bill Murray about It

As incredible as Bill Murray is on screen, he's as quirky in real life to the point of becoming somewhat of a living legend. Stories about him range from randomly showing up at house parties to drunkenly joyriding a golf cart around Stockholm. He's also notoriously picky about the projects he chooses despite the fact that Garfield and Aloha will forever disgrace his IMDb page. For years, Murray turned down script after script for the third Ghostbusters installment without speaking publicly about it, a move that sort of accidentally vilified him in the process. He eventually addressed it—presumably because nerds wearing homemade proton packs were threatening to kill him—to Variety and it turns out, he just wasn't that impressed. Telling them the scripts were "not well executed," or "too crazy to comprehend," Murray gave the kind of vague, non-committal Murrayism that everyone should be expecting at this point. This is a guy who the director of St. Vincent couldn't actually get on the phone for days at a time during production of the film, so it's kind of amazing that he bothered to read the scripts in the first place.

Has everyone forgotten about Ghostbusters 2?

Even Harold Ramis, who played Dr. Egon Spengler, has admitted that Ghostbusters 2 was a critical flop despite a healthy showing at the box office. The fans who paid for those theater tickets weren't that impressed either. Ghostbusters 2 made money because Ghostbusters was so great and popular, but the general consensus of the sequel was that it failed to improve upon the concept and ultimately left people wondering what happened. So, when asking the question of how such a groundswell of support for a third movie even existed, it becomes obvious that it sort of didn't. Well, for a few decades anyway. With the release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and the fact that Dan Aykroyd never stopped working on drafts of the next sequel, excitement for Ghostbusters 3 emerged. Any wariness about Bobby Brown songs or psychomagnotheric slime has been replaced by "Ooh! There's a new version of a thing I liked when I was a kid!" which if you think about it, kinds of brings us right back to having no good reason for Ghostbusters 3 to exist at all.

Dan Aykroyd's Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent script was completely nuts

One of Aykroyd's scripts, and presumably the one Murray referred to as "too crazy to comprehend," was titled Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent. It wasn't just a clever name. According to the Ghostbusters Wiki, the script has the original Ghostbusters alongside several new additions (including two female 'busters) traveling to Hell, which is basically a parallel universe to our own. Since the films take place in NYC, this time it's in Manhellton. You read that right, Manhellton—a place where the cops are blue Minotaurs for some reason, and the devil is Donald Trump. Only one of those aspects makes any sense at all, and we feel confident that even if Bill Murray would have agreed to do the movie, no studio would have greenlit the thing. Seriously, Aykroyd, Manhellton? It's alright, Dr. Stantz, you're still our favorite Ghostbuster.

Harold Ramis died

Having shepherded a script from The Office alums, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, then a rewrite by Etan Cohen, Harold Ramis was actively involved in the development of Ghostbusters 3 alongside Dan Aykroyd. Not to mention, he was one of the lead characters. When Ramis died in 2014, a lot of the wind left the sails for that version of the project. Ivan Reitman, who helmed both Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, stepped down from the director's chair, but agreed to stay on as a producer. He and Ramis had both previously acknowledged that the movie would include the original characters in some capacity, but in more of a "baton passing" way to a new, younger cast. With Ramis' passing and Murray's non-commitment, the script would obviously need a major rewrite. Despite all of this, Sony quickly announced plans to move forward with the project, because once a studio knows they've generated significant social buzz, that's not something they let go of easily.

The decision to reboot

Paul Feig was already on Sony's short list of directors to take the helm after Ivan Reitman stepped down. He had tremendous success with Bridesmaids and was a fan of the original Ghostbusters movies, but he kept declining the offer because he wasn't sure how to handle the project. The all-female reboot seems to have been Feig's brainchild. It was also the only way he was going to agree to do the movie. Apparently, he was such a top pick for the studio, they ran with his idea. Though Sony never confirmed having serious talks, Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow were supposedly approached for Ghostbusters, because the comedy world hasn't been oversaturated with those guys at all, right? None of those rumors matter now anyway, because Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones have gotten the proverbial "call." We just hope they ain't afraid of no ghosts.