The Gist: Dan Aykroyd has talked of “handing over the torch” to a new generation of Ghostbusters, so the plot will likely involve Egon and Ray setting up some sort of academy for paranormal investigators, with a new foursome (mirroring the personalities of the original ‘busters) coming together to take on Manhattan’s resident spooks. You want names? Well how about Jesse Eisenberg in the Egon mould, Seth Rogan for Ray, Anthony Mackie for Winston and maybe Jeremy Piven for Peter?
Pros: You get all the original team on board, without asking too much of their now creaking limbs. Meanwhile a cracking comedy cast can breathe new life into proceedings.
Cons: Perhaps a little too conventional, given how offbeat the original was? You also run the risk of the action sagging whenever Bill, Dan and Harold aren’t on screen...
The Gist: If you’ll cast your mind back to Ghostbusters 2 (come on, it wasn’t that bad...) you’ll recall Dana Barrett’s infant son Oscar. Now a teenager, he wants to become a Ghostbuster himself, but Dana’s new husband won’t allow it. Why? He’s merely a vessel for a malevolent spirit, that’s why! With no one else to turn to, Oscar seeks out Venkman and chums to help bust his evil stepdad.
Pros: Great potential for some villainous hamming in the stepdad role (we’re picturing Willem Dafoe here), not to mention Venkman taking out his ex’s new fella.
Cons: You’d have to explain away why of all the people to possess, the spirit plumped for a Ghostbuster’s love-rival.
The Gist: Our heroes have been upstaged by a rival enterprise known as the Ghosthunters. Backed by a shadowy millionaire (Michael Douglas), their low rates and greater manpower have put the Ghostbusters out of business. However, when Egon discovers the company have been re-releasing ghosts to keep profits up, he recruits a new band of busters to blow the whistle and clean up the city.
Pros: Gordon Gekko mk. 2 was a pale imitation of the original. We’d love to see Michael Douglas as a proper panto villain again.
Cons: Douglas would cost a few quid, which might be a bridge too far if they want to get Bill Murray on board as well.
The Gist: No ancient Gods this time around, as the villains are the ghosts of the late Egon, Ray and Peter! Unhappy to see a younger generation have replaced them in the famous jumpsuits, they set about causing mayhem by unleashing years worth of captured ghosts back on an unsuspecting city.
Pros: Bill Murray has said he’d only return if they bumped his character off. Problem solved!
Cons: Murray we could swallow, but could cuddly old Dan Aykroyd play a malevolent ghoul? Doubtful...
Here's Looking At You
The Gist: With his academy churning out Ghostbusters left right and centre, Egon does a bit of redecorating, installing a mysterious old mirror in the main hall. Naturally, the mirror is haunted, creating an evil doppelganger of anyone who looks in it. Cue a public outcry as Egon’s young protégés are seemingly caught menacing the good people of New York...
Pros: Plenty of scope for mirror-image capering. We like the idea of the Ghostbusters taking on their doubles...
Cons: A bit contrived? Hmmm. Something tells us you’re not going to like the rest of this list...
Welcome To Hell
The Gist: Back in 2007, Dan Aykroyd knocked up a script in which the Ghostbusters take an inter-dimensional leap into Hell. With a bit of tweaking, there’s no reason why this has to end up on the scrapheap, with Venkman and co. considering themselves “too old for this shit” and training up some new recruits to head into the fiery depths.
Pros: Aykroyd probably has a copy of the script kicking around his attic, so that Christmas 2012 release date may yet be doable.
Cons: Aykroyd’s “Manhellton” moniker for the parallel Manhattan is frankly a bit shit.
The Gist: Nothing to do with the animated series of the same name, this would be a straight horror-movie treatment of the franchise, with Slimer-based chuckles replaced by change-your-underwear scares, as the old fire station falls prey to a sinister presence. Aykroyd has talked up casting female Ghostbusters, so this could be the perfect vehicle for some classic Scream-Queenery. With proton packs.
Pros: The first movie was genuinely creepy in places, so why not take that to the next level? Plus, we like Aykroyd’s picks Eliza Dushku and Alyssa Milano to play the Ghostbuster-ettes.
Cons: No gags? Can’t see Bill Murray signing on for this one then…
The Gist: Having hung-up their proton blasters some years earlier, the Ghostbusters are conveniently shacked up together in a New York rest home. Unhappily for them, there’s no sleepy retirement to be had as their new home is crawling with spooks. Cue a Bubba-Ho-Tep style caper as the chaps struggle with a haunted stair-lift, a possessed bingo master and some chronically bland food.
Pros: Plenty of opportunity for Bill to roll out the hip-replacement gags. Bruce Campbell as a ghost? Yes please.
Cons: Unlikely to attract the next generation of fans. Still, that’s the studio’s problem. We couldn’t give a stuff about it, so long as Bill, Dan and Harold are all present and correct.
The Gist: With Manhattan’s spirit community having been comprehensively slapped down by the Ghostbusters, the ghoulish gits need to mix it up a bit. Sick of ending up in ghost traps, they start inhabiting the bodies of the recently dead, placing the Ghostbusters in the midst of their very own zombie movie. Awesome.
Pros: When Bill Murray meets the walking dead, magic happens. See Zombieland for further details.
Cons: Will proton streams work against zombies? Best get your thinking cap on Egon…
A Michael Bay Production
The Gist: New York’s spooks have evolved from the original’s egg-smashing pranksters to become a far more aggressive breed of ghost with a penchant for blowing things up. In a move to counter this, a new team of pumped-up muscle-heads sign up as Ghostbusters, armed with proton grenades and an inexhaustible supply of one-liners. Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson and John Cena take the starring roles in this slomo-heavy explosion-fest.
Pros: Due to the film’s disastrous box office performance, Bay is never allowed to work again.
Cons: Bill Murray hangs himself in protest.
The Gist: Egon has mentored a new team of Ghostbusters, much to the amusement of a sceptical Peter. When his protégés notice Egon behaving erratically, it becomes apparent he’s been possessed by the returned spirit of Gozer, and is attempting to reopen an inter-dimensional portal. The new team must track down Ray and Peter (and Winston, if you like) to stop their old friend flushing Earth down the swanny.
Pros: A neat way of pairing the fresh-faced new Ghostbusters (we’re thinking eager, clean-cut, wholesome types like Chris Pine) with the grizzled old guard.
Cons: Do we need a new villain, rather than Gozer? Maybe, although he is the seminal GB big bad. Vigo the Carpathian didn’t quite measure up…
Ghostbusters: The Movie
The Gist: The team’s lives are being turned into a movie, much to Egon’s consternation and Venkman’s delight. However, filming at the old fire station inadvertently releases a vault of long captured ghosts. The Ghostbusters, now of pensionable age, must train the pampered Hollywood luvvies to clear up the mess they’ve made.
Pros: Plenty of laughs as the moneyed posers brought in to play the Ghostbusters (We’ll have Sam Worthington, Shia LaBoeuf and Zac Efron sending themselves up) find themselves forced into some genuine spook-hunting.
Cons: Maybe a bit pretentious and postmodern for some, but we actually quite like this one!
Party at Gozer's!
The Gist: If we’re having Gozer as the baddie, why not freshen things up by sending the Ghostbusters into his part of the universe? Why would they ever go there? Well, if Oscar was trapped over there they might. How did he get over there in the first place? Er, well…stop asking so many questions! It would be filmed in 3D, with plenty of the spirit world’s ghostly denizens hurtling out of the screen. Nobody will notice the gaping plot holes!
Pros: It would look all sparkly and impressive.
Cons: It would be really bloody stupid.
Chip Off The Old Block
The Gist: Another rumour that was doing the rounds a while back was that the villain of the piece will be Peter Venkman’s love-child. We can imagine the bitter and twisted fruit of his loins (Jason Schwartzman) nursing a grudge as Venkman lords it as a national celeb. In search of revenge, he dedicates his life to reawakening Gozer, thus bringing Pa’s champagne lifestyle grinding to a halt.
Pros: The chance for Schwartzman and Murray to rekindle the excellent chemistry they shared in Rushmore .
Cons: It would be very Murray-centric. An excellent thing in its own right, but problematic given the star’s apparent desire for a smaller part.
The Gist: With paranormal activity having more or less died out years earlier, Venkman is still flogging a dead horse by presenting a phoney, Most Haunted -style TV show. However, when his latest project uncovers a genuine spook that possesses all his viewers, old Pete has to get on the blower to Egon and Ray to help sort things out.
Pros: Having Venkman as a cynical old media whore would be a treat, especially when he’s forced to recruit the sycophantic telly-types he works with to help him out.
Cons: A lawsuit from Derek Acorah might throw a spanner in the works.
The Gist: With the Ghostbusters advancing years making them less efficient, the US army is equipped with souped-up proton packs to help deal with the nation’s spook problem. However, when a new piece of high-powered weaponry risks blowing open a portal to the spirit world, the Ghostbusters face a race against time to avert disaster.
Pros: The chance to take a satirical swipe at America’s military heavy-handedness.
Cons: The film is labelled “unpatriotic” and is denied a release in any of the Red States.
The Revenge Of Murray The Mantis
The Gist: No, we haven’t gone barmy. The title actually refers to a vintage episode of the classic Real Ghostbusters animated series, in which a giant balloon mantis (part of New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade) becomes possessed by a ghost. Who comes to the aid of the Ghostbusters to take him down? None other than the Stay-Puft marshmallow man…we’re not making this up, by the way.
Pros: Stay-Puft is back. Wooooooooooo!
Cons: There’s a chance, a small but very real chance, that it might look a bit silly.
Everybody Loves Ray
The Gist: A labour of love from Dan Aykroyd. Unable to come up with any ideas good enough to convince Harold Ramis and Bill Murray, Aykroyd knocks up a spin-off sequel following the continued adventures of Ray Stantz. Cue a series of hilarious pratfalls as Ray finds various humorous ways to fall arse-over-tit, whilst chasing Slimer across New York.
Pros: Fairly cost-effective as Aykroyd is the one and only star. Slimer’s always good for a chuckle, too.
Cons: The unedifying sight of a screen icon making a spectacle of himself.