The popularity of the Ghostbusters franchise is kind of an amazing thing to behold when you consider that it’s really only the first movie that is so beloved. Even a mediocre at best sequel could not tarnish people’s desire to see more. A third movie in the series was one of those often spoken of but never realized projects. Both original writers, Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis, were interested in making the movie, but the two could never get Bill Murray on board. How does Aykroyd feel about the squeaky wheel that refused the grease? He says he doesn’t have any hard feelings about it, though he can’t help but also point out the totally awesome role that Murray would have had if he’d just said yes to the thing.
Dan Aykroyd recently admitted:
I never begrudged him not being in the third movie, though I wrote a nice part for him in Hellbent, where the Ghostbusters go to hell. He’s got very high standards and a high bullshit detector.
In the same interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman says that Bill Murray wasn’t particularly interested in doing a sequel the first time around. The fact that the follow-up was not nearly as well received as the original likely played a part in his lack of interest to return to it again. It may also be somewhat telling that Dan Aykroyd references Murray having a low tolerance for bullshit. Is there an admittance here that the various Ghostbusters 3 scripts may not have been very good? To be fair, he also had some ongoing issues with Harold Ramis that may have also played a part.
Hellbent was one of Dan Aykroyd’s attempts at a third Ghostbusters film. It would have had the Ghostbusters traveling to hell to find an alternate, hellish version of New York City. Murray had previously referred to that script as "too crazy to comprehend." Exactly what would have made Peter Venkman’s character in that script so wonderful is not entirely clear. With Harold Ramis now gone, that script is officially over for the original Ghostbusters, though Aykroyd still has hopes of filming it one day with a younger cast.
Murray has not given up on the Ghostbusters on the whole, however. He will be appearing in a role in the new reboot, though as a new character, not his previous Ghostbuster self. This may be a very good sign for the new film, as if Bill Murray truly has such high standards he wouldn’t be showing up if the new movie wasn’t worth it. The all-new Ghostbusters movie will hit theaters in July of 2016.