It’s been about 2 years since the new Ghostbusters movie was announced with Paul Feig helming an all-female team. The inclusion of Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig in the cast was not only expected, but such a no-brainer that I was almost surprised that the quartet wasn’t rounded off with Rose Byrne and Ellie Kemper.
Instead, Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones were selected—obvious choices given the movie’s attempts to stay true to the spirit of the original by casting those associated with the show (Melissa McCarthy had hosted an episode of SNL shortly before the casting announcement, and Kristen Wiig, of course, was a long time cast member). Even shortlisted actresses were closely tied to SNL with Emma Stone having hosted it three times, and Cecily Strong being of the same casting era as McKinnon and Jones.
Certainly, props had to be given to the casting team, even if the selection felt a little lazy. After all, while Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray were both SNL cast members (as were John Belushi and Eddie Murphy, who were considered for the movie), neither Harold Ramis nor Ernie Hudson were associated to the show. So maybe the casting team could have traipsed a little away from NBC’s weekend programming to find actors.
Nevertheless, the cast was strong. All four actresses were hilarious on and off the stage of Studio 8H and had not only proven chemistry with each other, but also had equal, if not more, experience than the original cast.
Sexist assholes aside, there really didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the movie. Of course, I had my own trepidations—not with the cast of the movie, but the intent of the casting itself—but I was just so happy that Max “Moron” Landis was being kept away from the franchise that I wasn’t gonna question much.
But then the first trailer dropped. It wasn’t bad, no—it was just not very reassuring either. Much like Fox’s juggernaut of a faux pas with X-Men: First Class, this Ghostbusters trailer did not seem to know if it was selling a reboot or a sequel.
Acknowledging the events of the first Ghostbusters film “30 Years Ago” (it’s actually been thirty-two) and that “Four Scientists Saved New York” (pretty sure Winston wasn’t a scientist… that’s kinda the whole point of the character), the trailer then goes on to introduce and establish the new team almost as if they had no actual predecessors whatsoever… making the reference to the original films was just an excuse to get the theme music in there.
Interestingly, the international version of the trailer is slightly more accurate, if not also slightly more ambiguous. Stating that “30 Years Ago Four Friends Saved the World” it still goes on to make it look like while the trailer thinks it’s advertising a sequel, the movie itself wasn’t one.
This was about when I was actually bothered. Being marketed as a sequel, even if it wasn’t one, was an understandable choice. An incredibly stupid one that was sure to backfire, but, still, understandable. The question was: why wasn’t it a sequel?
We’re talking about an industry that was perfectly fine with making a Terminator movie that was not only a sequel to a movie then 24 years old, but also removes two other movies and a TV series from the franchise’s continuity. The same could be said for Superman Returns and Jurassic Park. So why not make this a sequel, too?