For a long time, many intelligent, funny people have been frustrated in their efforts to resurrect the Ghostbusters. Back in 2010, Ivan Reitman, who directed the franchise’s first two blockbusters, finally told outlets that he planned to film the long-awaited third movie that year. It obviously didn’t happen. The major stumbling block has always been Bill Murray, who’s expressed his stubborn resistance to the very notion of another sequel in numerous amusing public appearances and interviews.
The franchise was dealt another blow when Harold Ramis died in February. Even though the potential sequel would focus on a new generation of Ghostbusters, the original crew—with or without Peter Venkman—was always meant to appear in a third movie, if only to symbolically pass the torch. Ramis’ passing put a damper on that spirit, so much so that Reitman quickly announced that he no longer would direct the film.
A Ghostbusters sequel is still in the works, but all the flux has allowed Sony to take a step back and rethink the future possibilities. According to Variety, Bridesmaids director Paul Feig has had conversations with the studio about directing a Ghostbusters reboot—not a sequel—that would likely feature an all-female cast. Given Feig’s history of collaborating with Melissa McCarthy, it seems inevitable that she’d have a leading role in such a film—which raises a new possibility altogether.
Feig’s Ghostbusters has the potential to be a stealth Bridesmaids followup—an irony of sorts, since, like Murray, Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig sniffed at the opportunity to parlay her own summer blockbuster into a quick sequel. But think about it: McCarthy is as bankable a female comedienne as there is right now. Rose Byrne proved she was more than just a pretty face in Bridesmaids and again in this summer’s Neighbors. Maya Rudolph has perfect comedic chemistry with the other women, especially Wiig. Bringing all of them back for a new take on Ghostbusters seems simple enough on paper.
Just don’t bother trying to match up the actresses with the Ghostbusters personalities they’d most likely appropriate. There will be no she-Venkman or she-Egon, per se; hence why this is a reboot, not a remake or a sequel. If Feig and company choose to follow this direction, they’d do best to start from scratch, relying on what makes these ladies funny in their own right—rather than be straightjacketed by our enhanced collective memory of a comedy classic.
But as much as Feig’s Ghostbusters seems like the perfect vehicle to unite the Bridesmaids gang, I’d actually be more enthusiastic for a different yet similar ladies reunion: keep Wiig, keep Rudolph, and add their former Saturday Night Live co-stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I know I’m just three sentences removed from saying that there’s no hope for a she-Venkman, but Poehler has the potential to craft a unique character with a similar devil-may-care attitude. Fey would be the default bossypants, Wiig the quirky oddball, and Rudolph the streetwise gal who takes no guff.
The Bridesmaids crew might have an advantage in this hypothetical matchup, since a high-concept Melissa McCarthy comedy isn’t something Hollywood throws away these days. In fact, Feig’s next movie is Spy, starring McCarthy and Byrne. But the Fey/Poehler tag-team has its own built-in advantages: their popular Golden Globe hosting stints and their hilarious cameo in the recent Anchorman sequel have laid the groundwork for another big movie collaboration. (They co-starred in Baby Mama in 2008, and star opposite each other again in 2015’s The Nest.)
If recent Ghostbusters history is any guide, Feig’s distaff version is at least 12 years and six Bill Murray late-night appearances away from theaters. But if there’s any hope, let’s punch our tickets to the right reunion.