The history of the Ghostbusters franchise has seen Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddemore remembered as a crucial member of the four-man comedy team that was the heart and soul of Ivan Reitman’s ‘80s blockbuster. But the original intent for his character was changed at the last minute, reducing his role in the initial film and dropping a lot of backstory that had previously been written. Now, with Ghostbusters: Afterlife reuniting the surviving team members to usher in a new generation of paranormal experts, the next chapter in Mr. Zeddemore’s life is about to improve his character’s standing in the franchise once and for all.
During a recent appearance on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside Of You podcast, Ernie Hudson once again discussed the fateful events that fundamentally changed Winston’s character in Ghostbusters. Hudson's got some regret for how the first film built his character, although his latest discussion of Winston’s legacy seems more lighthearted than when we’d last heard from him. In his words,
Basically, instead of coming in page eight, he came in at page 68. All the backstory where I come in and we talk about who I am and I'm auditioning and explaining what I do, he just says, 'If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say.' I find that a funny line, but you don't get to know who this guy is. It's a funny bit, but unfortunately, it doesn't give you a lot to play. So as an actor, you have to bring all of that with you, and hopefully, people will see it.
Ernie Hudson’s role in the first Ghostbusters movie was reduced almost overnight, turning his part in the 1984 film from a military hard nose with a skill set into a smart alec non-believer who’s converted through a baptism by fire. While that may have been a smart move that allowed the audience to go on a similar journey throughout the events that ensued, it came at the development of Winston Zeddemore’s initially drafted personality.
Of course, that’s not where the story ends, as Ghostbusters: Afterlife is set to make even more history with the legendary supernatural comedy saga. As the film will be addressing the absence of Harold Ramis’ Dr. Egon Spengler, there’s of course going to be the chance to draw Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore into better detail. That development is even more promising after Ernie Hudson made the following comment on how Ghostbusters: Afterlife improves Winston’s fortunes:
Yep! Yep, thanks to Jason Reitman. Winston is definitely a complete character.
For as long as it took a sequel like Ghostbusters: Afterlife to properly link into the lineage of the original franchise entries, the wait and the effort both sound like they’ve been worth it. Though involved in the production could say that, and there’s certainly been plenty of praise thus far, hearing Ernie Hudson give a stamp of approval to the continued evolution of Winston Zeddimore is something we’re ready to believe in. November 11, 2021 couldn’t come fast enough, as we’re anxious to see what Ghostbusters: Afterlife has in store.