When Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife finally arrives this November, a full sixteen months later than intended, fans will finally get the direct sequel to his father Ivan’s Ghostbusters II that they’ve been waiting on for over 30 years. Most of the core cast were reunited in Paul Feig’s reboot, but it would be an understatement of epic proportions to call the 2016 effort a polarizing movie.
It’s taken an awfully long time to get to this point, but based on what we’ve seen so far, Afterlife is aiming to hit that sweet spot between nostalgia for the franchise and laying the foundations for a new series of sequels. The original Ghostbusters is an undisputed classic and one of the finest blockbuster family films ever made, but it’s fair to say that the second installment is underwhelming by comparison.
Bill Murray clearly agrees, and in a new interview he revealed that the ensemble signed on to Ghostbusters II under false pretenses, and when they showed up on set, the script they were working from was vastly different to the one they’d agreed to shoot in the first place.
“Ghostbusters II ended up not being the story they wrote. They got us in the sequel under false pretenses. Harold had this great idea, but by the time we got to shooting it, I showed up on set and went, ‘What the hell is this? What is this thing?’. But we were already shooting it, so we had to figure out how to make it work. That was a great bunch of people. Just to be together was great.”
It took five years for the sequel to come together, and while the screenplay was ultimately credited to Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis, there must have been some serious revisions made by the studio. If Murray’s co-stars agree with his sentiments that they turned up for work only to be handed an unrecognizable script, then surely Akroyd and Ramis would have been part of that conversation, too, given that they account for 50% of the central quartet and wrote the thing in the first place. Either way, Ghostbusters II was a pale imitation of its predecessor on almost every conceivable level, something most fans would agree on.