The new Ghostbusters teaser has a lot of folks talking, and while some are merely content the franchise is getting a true sequel to the classic films from back in the day, others are excited that the 2016 film has potentially been laid to rest. While that may be the case, fans shouldn't be heralding the possible death of the time Ghostbusters tried something new, and instead hope that the franchise is attempting to expand in a big way.
I'm talking, of course, about a Ghostbusters multiverse. Much like Sony did with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, I believe there's great potential in letting both universes live on and acknowledging in some way that both movies are set in alternate versions of New York. In doing so, it establishes that there can be multiple Ghostbusters on multiple Earths, and can ultimately ensure the franchise lives on for decades to come.
Mind you, this is not an original idea. It has already been explored in the Ghostbusters universe via IDW Publishing. In a situation that resulted in the two realities spilling into each other, both sets of Ghostbusters teamed up to take on all sorts of ghosts both new and old. It's an interesting set of stories that could be in jeopardy if the 2016 Ghostbusters is written out of existence.
Now, I'm not saying this upcoming film needs to make significant mention of the female Ghostbusters and find a way to incorporate them heavily into the story. What I am saying, however, is that if there's some post-credits scene where Jillian Holtzman emerges from a portal in front of Venkman and the team and says there's a problem and she knew who to call, fans should be more excited than upset.
After all, let's remember the main problem folks had with the Ghostbusters reboot was that it had no connection to the original movies, and that it featured many former cast members cameoing, which made it feel as though the movie was trying to retcon the original story. Both sides can collectively agree that was a bad idea while still acknowledging that establishing them as doppelgangers in different universes would correct the biggest misstep the 2016 version made in the eyes of many.
The alternative, of course, is to stick with the original cast, enjoy this film and potentially close the book on the franchise. The original cast is getting old and I think those thinking this movie, regardless of quality, is going to be the first of many adventures with the classic cast are sorely mistaken. This feels positioned to be a final chapter to make the Ghostbusters saga a trilogy, or maybe even another attempt to "pass the torch."
If it's the latter, then fine, although to say Ghostbusters is wasting the opportunity to incorporate the talented female cast in a meaningful way and rectify its big mistakes is a gross understatement. I mean, with a little Hollywood screenwriting and special effects magic, there's a way to make this crossover happen that honors Harold Ramis in the best way possible. Hell, that might be what's being planned, considering Egon Spengler's character in both films is largely the same.
For those unaware or who didn't watch the reboot, Egon Spengler is an established scientist in the 2016 Ghostbusters. While he's only seen via a bust statue in the movie, Spengler was credited in Sony's marketing for the picture as the pioneer of the Proton Pack technology that Jillian Holtzmann later perfected. So while other actors portrayed characters in roles unrelated to their original characters, Egon was still a scientist creating ghost-fighting technology.
Perhaps the two Egons were working on something prior to their death, and had created some tech that would allow them to see each other through inter-dimensional travel. Did Sony always intend to blend the universes but backpedaled when the backlash started? We may never know, but I think using this concept to establish a multiverse would be a solid way to further pay homage to the work Harold Ramis did on Ghostbusters.
It feels like a better way to ensure the longevity of the franchise rather than introducing a new set of folks who would inevitably become the next generation of Ghostbusters. That's essentially doing the same thing Sony tried, but giving the original actors a chance to shine in their character roles before handing things off. Granted, had the 2016 movie done that to begin with, maybe there wouldn't have been a sequel to the original being quietly developed.
Still, there's something tragic about a once wholesome fanbase being wholly divided in situations like this. The only thing a split fanbase does is keep the numbers small enough that studios can't justify continuing a franchise in a direction that fully suits either party. With that said, I'm not sure what the split is between fans who prefer the original vs. the remake, but I can imagine there are more folks in the community that grew up with the original.
Which is fine, but there has to be an acknowledgment at some point that catering to the classic fans has its disadvantages. A new generation of viewers may never get a follow-up to a film they enjoyed, and as the old adage always goes, they're the future. If Ghostbusters can only survive on its older and dedicated fans to the original and not the mainstream, the franchise could die sooner than later.
Some people may be fine with that, but I personally think there's still a lot more ground for this franchise to cover. Paranormal films aren't going out of style, and there's honestly no reason why there couldn't have been at least 2-3 more Ghostbusters making light of horror in the years it took to make one reboot. Sure, they may not have been masterpieces, but neither was Ghostbusters 2 and folks are still excited for this new installment regardless.
I want to see more of what the Ghostbusters universe has to offer, and I'm fine if that happens without Peter, Ray, Winston, and everyone else who first made it popular. Ideally, the Ghostbusters aren't just one group of men, it's like a public service capturing ghosts in multiple locations worldwide and keeping the afterlife from invading the otherwise peaceful Earth. Is there anything wrong with that vision, and wouldn't it be great to see the universe expand that way?
Maybe there's a Ghostbusters team in The Conjuring universe or one of the other popular horror franchises? What if there's a universe of Peoplebusters where a team of Ghosts get together and dispose of humans who cross over into the afterlife? Hey, there could be a universe where Seth Rogen, James Franco and Danny McBride get together and fight ghosts while smoking weed. Anything is possible with a multiverse, which is what makes them so great for franchises like this.
Creating a multiverse of Ghostbusters would also allow for team-ups and films that result in crazier and higher stakes adventures. Ideally, I'd like to see a "Crisis On Infinite Earths" scenario, and the only way all the Ghostbusters succeed in the ultimate battle against the undead is via Peter Venkman crossing the "ultimate stream" and sacrificing himself so all worlds live. Ok, I'm mostly kidding about that, but a similar large scale adventure with teams of Ghostbusters sounds fantastic.
Everyone has their own opinion of course, so viewers can share their thoughts on the possibility of a Ghostbusters multiverse in the comments below or in a poll. For more on the upcoming feature, check out how some of the former cast reacted to the teaser or the things I think the third installment should avoid.
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Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.