Original ‘Ghostbusters 3’ Script Killed Bill Murray Within the First Five Minutes

By July 10, 2016

The all-female Ghostbusters reboot is set to hit theatres in just a few short days now, which will be attempting to breathe new life into the beloved franchise, and has been the subject of much unfair and often over-exaggerated controversy over the past year or so.

Much of that controversy can be attributed to the fact that the reboot is coming this year instead of Ghostbusters 3 though, a project that was in development for years on end, and had seemed to be close to actually happening before the death of Harold Ramis and Bill Murray’s overall lack of interest in it seemed to finally lay it to rest once and for all, paving the way for Paul Feig’s new film.

While promoting the new movie though, director Ivan Reitman, who helmed the original two Ghostbusters movies, was going to direct Ghostbusters 3, and is now an executive producer on the reboot, spoke about what the original third film was going to be, including revealing how it would continue the story from the first two films, and the only way they could get Bill Murray in it.

During an interview with io9, Reitman revealed that the third film’s script was going to kill off Murray’s Venkman in the first five minutes, a requirement that the actor had if he was going to come back at all:

“I was working on a more traditional pass-the-torch sequel. I was working on it with Harold [Ramis], Danny [Aykroyd], and Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, two very funny writers. We had a great script. We actually had a script in which Bill Murray dies in the first five minutes because that was the only way he was going to do it. And he was a ghost character for part of it. They’re passing the torch on to a group of younger Ghostbusters, one of which was Oscar, Bill’s supposed son from the second movie. It’s not clear if its his son or not. And it was very funny.”

Things were apparently looking good for the project even, Reitman revealed, before Ramis’ unfortunate passing seemed to extinguish any of the team’s excitement towards it:

“Unfortunately in sort of the last half year of development or so, Harold got really sick and about a year later he passed away. And I realized there was no way I could do this film. If I was going to do Ghostbusters, I had to do it with the Ghostbusters. I was not interested in doing another Ghostbusters movie without Harold and with Bill sort of dragging his heels.”

For those of you out there that have accused Paul Feig of ruining the franchise with his ideas and “agendas” as well, Reitman revealed that it was he and the creative team who approached Feig for the project in the first place, and it was them who gave him the greenlight on the incredibly talented cast also:

“Paul came along with an idea to basically reboot it and still pay tribute to the original. And he already had Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig interested in doing it. So I said ‘This is a no-brainer. These are two of the funniest women in the world,’ much in the way Bill and Danny were when I did it. So we started working with Paul.”

Honestly, from the sounds of it, I don’t think that Ghostbusters 3 would have been much better than the reboot has any chance of being. It seemed like Bill Murray’s overall disinterest towards it had put a cloud on the project from the very beginning, and I don’t think anyone would have wanted to see a third installment that killed off Peter Venkman within the first five minutes, no matter how funny it was. So I don’t blame them for deciding to just start over, and try again with some new characters and new blood.

Do I wish that the franchise had just been put to rest and these women had been brought together for an original movie instead? Yes. Of course, but that’s not the way the studio system works, and out of these two options, I’d say they went with the right one in the end, no matter how much precaution fans may have be approaching the reboot with right now.

We’ll never see Ghostbusters 3, but the new reboot will hit theatres on July 15th.

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Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable