Ivan Reitman no longer directing Ghostbusters 3

After years of rumours and speculation, Ivan Reitman has confirmed that he will not direct Ghostbusters 3 .

The director of comedy classics like Kindergarten Cop, Junior, Twins and the previous two Ghostbusters movies will leave the project, but will stay on-board to help Sony's Amy Pascal find a new director.

Citing his reasons, the long-running 'will he/won't he?' confusion regarding Bill Murray's involvement prompted script re-writes, but it was the recent and saddening passing of Reitman's friend and Ghostbuster Harold Ramis that prompted his decision to leave.

Speaking to Deadline , he said: "A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career. We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters .”

Regarding the script overhauls, Murray's involvement (or lack of) instigated a series of rewrites that ensure the new threequel will be very different to what was originally intended.

“The first was done by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, and me, Harold and Dan helped them on it,” Reitman said. “It was a really good script, but then it became clear that Bill really didn’t want to do another Ghostbusters and that it was literally impossible to find him to speak to for the year or two we tried to get it going. When Bill finally…well, he never actually said no, but he never said yes, so there was no way to make that film. We decided to start over again, and I started working with Etan Cohen, with Dan lending a helping hand. Harold got sick about three years ago, and we kept hoping he would get better. I kept pushing forward on the Etan Cohen and we now have a draft that is very good, that the studio is very excited about."

As for what we can expect, Reitman's intent on creating something very much in the same emotional and tonal ballpark as the originals.

“It’s a version of Ghostbusters that has the originals in a very minor role,” he said. “I’m not going to say how many Ghostbusters there will be in the new cast, but we are determined to retain the spirit of the original film, and I am pleased that all of this seems to have happened organically. I’m hoping we can get started by the fall, set in New York, but given the logistics and the stuff that happens, the beginning of 2015 seems more likely.”