Why Ghostbusters Went With A Reboot Over A Sequel

For many years, the next chapter of the Ghostbusters franchise was being developed as Ghostbusters 3 - a direct sequel to Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters 2 that would see the original team passing the torch to a new generation. That idea went away circa August 2014, when news about the female-led reboot was announced, but this left fans asking a simple question: why choose a reboot over a sequel? It turns out the answer is very simple, as Paul Feig really just didn’t like the passing of the torch idea, and wanted to see his characters create the Ghostbusters themselves.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a special Ghostbusters event on the Sony Pictures Studio lot in Los Angeles, CA, and not only did I get an early sneak peek at the trailer that debuted this morning, but also sat in on an extended question-and-answer session with director Paul Feig, co-writer Katie Dippold, and producer Ivan Reitman. Feig addressed the reboot vs. sequel controversy after being asked about the pressure that comes with the spotlight pointed at the Ghostbusters brand, and both explained why he thought the project was a good idea and why he didn’t want to just make a third chapter of the story we knew:

This is such an amazing franchise, with two amazing movies, but it could just keep going! There’s so many things you can do with it. It just seemed terrible to leave it in a box. And yet, at the same time, there’s something exciting about the idea of bringing it to a new generation, but this time… see an origin story of them. I know some people are like, ‘Why is it not a sequel instead of a reboot?’ I didn’t like the idea, personally, of them being handed technology – ‘Here’s how to do this.’ I want to see it develop!

So instead of a movie that would have had Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddmore just giving their gear to a new team, instead we’re being introduced to Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) as smart, independent characters who get into the Ghostbusting business in their own way and design their very own special gear (as you can see in the trailer).

Obviously not everyone is going to love this answer (mostly because it’s impossible to please everyone), but at least audiences should respect the logic of it – not to mention understand the greater creative agency that comes with starting fresh instead of designing a new chapter for someone else’s previous story.

Stay tuned for more about Ghostbusters in the coming days, and look for the film in theaters on July 15th.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.