After months of speculation and questions, venerated National Treasure Bill Murray is confirmed to be reprising his role as Peter Venkman for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Along with Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver, Murray’s inclusion means almost all original castmembers will be present in the film. Two won’t be, however. Rick Moranis retired from acting, and it is not believed that he’s filmed anything for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Also, Harold Ramis, co-writer of the original films, died in 2014. In fact, through his absence, Ramis’ Egon Spengler may have the largest presence in the film. Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, and McKenna Grace inherit Egon’s old farmhouse, littered with ephemera from the Ghostbusters. Yet, according to a set report, don’t expect the original Ghostbusters characters to have anything more than glorified cameos.
Bill Murray Appears in Ghostbusters: Afterlife for Just a Few Scenes
Image via Sony Pictures
Bill Murray and his role in Ghostbusters: Afterlife came from an on-set report by entertainment reporter Anthony Breznican. He visited the set for Vanity Fair, and most of his piece discusses what it was like to wear the proton pack prop. (It’s heavy.) Still, this is the first official confirmation that Bill Murray will be in the film, with his involvement a looming question mark hanging over the film. The trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife highlighted new cast members and the story, which takes place in “the middle of nowhere.” The details of this movie are sketchy. We know that Spengler’s grandkids find a ghost trap, Ecto-1, and a proton pack. We also know that there is some ghostly activity shaking the small town where the film is set. Beyond that, it’s all questions.
However, Murray did give Breznican a hint about what the focus of this story will be. It seems that over the 68-day shoot for the movie, the original actors were on-set for a total of a week. Breznican promises that their involvement will be “meaningful,” but that they won’t play a large role in the story. He did offer a hint, however, about what the focus of their story will be.
As he told Vanity Fair:
“Well, we are a man down. That’s the deal…. And that’s the story that we’re telling, that’s they story they’ve written.”
“They” are writer Gil Kenan and writer/director Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman director of the original two films. Reitman says the inspiration for the film came from an image of a 12-year-old girl, played by Grace, wearing a proton pack.
The other thing Reitman wants fans to know is that Ghostbusters: Afterlife is not a “rebuttal” to 2016’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call directed by Paul Feig. That film, starring Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig, and Melissa McCarthy underperformed at the box office. It also became the center of a cultural “war” about female-led films. The problem with that film, however, wasn’t the cast but rather the inexplicable decision to set it in a “new” universe where the original Ghostbusters didn’t exist. Ghostbusters: Afterlife will not make that same mistake.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife debuts July 10, 2020.
What do you think? Are you excited that Bill Murray and the rest of the original cast will be in Ghostbusters: Afterlife? Is there a life for this franchise in the 2020s? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image via Sony Pictures.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.