With the stack of announcements that came out of SDCC this year it’s fair to say that the Ghostbusters brand is alive and well, despite a less than stellar 2016. Perhaps the biggest talking point was Ivan Reitman’s announcement of plans for another live action movie, a statement that has Ghostheads going crazy with speculation about what’s next for the guys and girls in grey (or beige). Whether there’s any weight to Reitman’s claim has yet to seen but if nothing else it started a fascinating discussion about which direction the franchise coulda/woulda/shoulda go in.
With an internet full of opinions I generally like to keep mine to myself, but this morning I got to really thinking about where I personally would take the Ghostusters franchise next and here’s what I came up with. I should say, that this was all one thought, bouncing around my brain this morning while out running; I’ve done my best to convert those thoughts into actual words. With that said, I present to you my idea for "Ghostbusters: Answer the Call 2" (bear with me when you read that title).
- This whole idea is based on the comment Ivan Reitman made about combining the 2 unverses. I'm also working under the notion that everyone from GB16 would return, with the exception of Bill Murray (I doubt God himself could get him back a fourth time) and Chirs Hemsworth (I'm sorry but the Kevin character was just awful). I'd also like to include the returns of Rick Moranis and William T. Deutschendorf for a one scene cameo.
- My additional thoughts and further explanations are represented inside of these symbols [ ]
- “GBU” stands for Ghostbusters Universe. GBU1 for 1984 and GBU2 for Answer the Call.
So here we go…
We open to a close up of Ray Stantz standing outside [maybe it’s lightly raining, I’m not sure], with a sombre look on his face. The camera pulls back slowly to reveal Winston, Janine, Louis, Dana and Oscar, all equally as sad. They are standing at the grave of Egon Spengler on the anniversary of his passing [I'd also like to see the surround head stones dedicated to other cast/crew we've lost], recounting their fondest memories of Egon with each other [his love of Crunch bars, sleeping with slime, stuff like that]. They turn to walk back to the car(s) and Louis asks Dana if she’s heard anything from Venkman. She says she’s heard nothing "in years, not since the funeral". She says that Venkman "blames himself for Spengler’s death". Meanwhile Winston is talking with Ray about his progress on figuring out what caused the opening of a portal in Times Square [This parallels GB16’s end scene, whereby Spengler goes into the portal to try and close it with Venkman going in after him however, unlike Erin he is unsuccessful in his attempt to save his partner (the guilt of which causes him to quit the Ghostbusters and go AWOL)]. Ray says he's still not certain what caused it but "knows" that Spengler is still alive and trapped inside it (a sentiment that Winston and the other guys do not share). [I feel this senario not only gives a reason for Venkman/Murray’s complete absence from the film but it also doesn’t require you to (majorly) reference him again beyond this point (it also leaves the door open for a Venkman/Murray return down the line) but more importantly, it highlights Ramis’/Spengler’s memory as a hero, a founding Ghostbuster and the linchpin to this whole movie. Spengler died saving his friends & his city and in doing so brought about this entire movie].
We then cut to GBU2 where we see Erin, Abby and Holtzmann in the middle of catching a ghost (since the portal breach they have been inundated with calls). [It’s a straight forward bust, just as a way to segue into this universe.] After the bust Holtzmann wants to know why Patty doesn’t have to work today, to which Erin explains that Patty is taking her final exams to earn her PHD in history [let’s just kill the uneducated black character stereotype right here] but she will meet them back at the firehouse to continue analysing the data collected from inside the portal and further investigate how it relates to Zuul (the name heard by Patty in the end credits scene of GB16). Back at the firehouse they come to the conclusion that Zuul came through the portal when it breached and is responsible for the unprecedented (and rising) levels of spook activity over the last x number of years (they also arrive at the conclusion that theirs is one of many universes). Given that there is no written material on Zuul available to them (because it doesn’t exist in their universe) Abby postulates that Zuul is a traveller, moving from world to world attempting to conquer and destroy. She concludes by saying that if they could re-open the portal they could not only gather more data on where Zuul came from but also potentially gain information on openings to other universes and/or help with understanding, locating and eventually defeating Zuul.
In a (somewhat) similar discussion back in GBU1 Ray explains to Winston that the only way to know for sure if Spengler's still alive is to re-open the portal and that based on the data Venkman brought back with him Ray is confident that he can do so, right there in the firehouse. [I love the idea that both teams are aware of the portal and can at least theorise its potential, yet have no idea each other exists in the manner in which they do] Winston is vehemently apposed, stating that “we already lost two friends to that thing” and can’t understand why Ray would risk his life to re-open it. He wants Ray to just “let it be”, while Ray can’t understand why Winston won’t accept the scientific possibility that Spengler is still alive [there’s definitely tension between these two as Winston tries to mourn while Ray refuses to, this is something that would be very cathartic to see played out on screen]. Ultimately Winston “storms out” telling Ray he needs to sell the firehouse and move on [it should be noted that while they did franchise out the company they themselves gave up busting after the portal incident and Egon’s death].
Ray & Holtzmann both continue to work simultaneously on opening the portal until they complete their contraptions and make plans for a re-opening. The GB16 crew are all in, whereas Winston is very reluctant, although he eventually agrees (for no other reason than Ray’s own safety).
In a tension building scene that I’m not talented enough to write both parties open their respective gateways simultaneously. We reach a moment where Holtzmann is standing at one end of a tunnel with Ray at the other. Here I envision that Holtzmann is (really) keen to enter the portal but is held back by the girls. Ray is also eager to enter the portal and breaks free from Winston’s respective grap. Ray then tries to guilt Winston into the portal with something along the lines of “come on man, I jumped into a river of slime for you” with Winston replying “fine, but this is the last time you can use one” before gingerly following Ray in. Both are sucked in quick and wind up in the Firehouse of GBU2. All parties are understandably stunned at what just transpired [with perhaps the exception of Ray and Holtzmann, I imagine a simultaneous “that was awesome” moment from them both].
The following scenes would include both parties introducing themselves, fascinated by their similarities and marvelling at their differences (as people) before moving onto the business of Ghostbusting. [I’d love to see Ray’s reaction at the sight of their Proton Packs and the identical No Ghost logo. The interaction between Patty and Winston (as Ernie Hudson played her Uncle in GB16) could also be really fun to see]. This continues until one of the girls turns to the guys and says “have either of you ever heard the name Zuul?”
Now in between these scenes you would include the whereabouts and activities of Zuul but honestly, I haven’t given it much thought beyond the fact that (somehow) Zuul survived the encounter with the Ghostbusters and during the explosion was pulled back through the portal (this would mean that the temple in GBI is a gateway to the same “other world” seen in GB16). Now, during the time between movies Zuul has risen up and taken the place of Gozer (a position perhaps given by Shandor, who controls the “other world”) and has sent Zuul out to continue Gozer’s original mission, leading Zuul to GBU2 after the portal opening [maybe Zuul intended on going back to GBU1 but wound up here instead].
Back in GBU2 we see the GB84s passing on their knowledge of, and experience with Zuul as well as offering to train the girls to become better Ghostbusters [this line works on a couple of different levels depending on your feelings towards ATC]. During this time Ray is given access to the girls’ data on the portal and combined with his own data comes to the realisation that Spengler simply couldn’t have survived inside the portal for this long, leading to him finally accept Spengler’s death, allowing him to not only mourn the loss but also reconcile with Winston.
The level of activity around GBU2 New York continues to build [it might be fun to see Ray and Winston join the girls on a bust or 2 (Extreme Ghostbusters “Back in the Saddle” style)] until finally they come face to face with Zuul. [For me, I’d love this encounter to take place on the roof of the same apartment building from GB84, I think it would be cool if Shandor had one of these temples built in every New York city throughout the GB multi-verse]. I envision the first encounter (with all six busters) to be similar to that of GB84, with Zuul even asking Erin if she’s a god, then just as she goes to reply “no” Ray steps in and says something like “just an FYI, the answer to that question is ALWAYS “yes”. At this point Zuul recognises Ray and proceeds to fill in the gaps between GB84 and now (as written above).
Now, after all that, this feels like a bit of a cop out but honestly, beyond this point I don’t really have an ending in mind (clearly) I'm no screen writer. The one thing I do know is that a CGI Harold Ramis does NOT feature anywhere in this movie.
So I'll throw it out there, how would you end my movie? Where would you like to see Reitman and Aykroyd take the GBU next? ATC 2 or GBIII? Are you on board with a CGI Harold Ramis? The questions are literally endless!
Peace, Love & Who You Gonna Call?