OG Ghostbusters Aren’t Just Fan Service in Frozen Empire, Says Director

Dan Akryod, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

Image: Sony/Columbia Pictures

Once Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought back Luke, Han, and Leia to massive box office success, legacy sequels really started working overtime to keep the original (and available) franchise stars around when possible. Ghostbusters: Afterlife brought back the still-living Ghostbusters from the original two movies, and they’re back again alongside an also-returning Annie Potts for March’s Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

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Talking to SFX Magazine, director Gil Kenan promised the fifth film will do right by the original cast by having them be actual characters. Some legacy sequels bring back the older stars just to collect a paycheck, but Kenan promised the veterans would be “more fully fleshed out” here. “We had a duty to make those legendary characters integral to this story.”

Kenan co-wrote both Afterlife and Frozen Empire with Jason Reitman (who directed the former). As a fan of the series, having Winston, Venkman, and Ray show up in Afterlife was “really thrilling,” because he felt the film “redefine itself” with their arrival. “[They] grew and became more fully fleshed out in a way that speaks to the promise of the original Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2,” said Kenan. “There’s a direct line from there into who they are now and how they act here in our new story.”

Afterlife was dinged for overly relying on fan service, a criticism that’s stuck to Frozen Empire with some of its marketing so far. If the new film is going to have more to offer than seeing the original cast suit up One Last Time (again), hopefully that’s better conveyed so audiences know what to expect.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire releases in theaters on March 22.


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