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Jason Reitman on the Future of the ‘Ghostbusters’ Franchise: ‘I Want to See Ghostbusters Films From Other Voices’

The ”Ghostbusters: Afterlife“ filmmaker isn’t intent on directing the next sequel

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” marks a continuation of the “Ghostbusters” story that began in the 1984 film and continued in the 1989 sequel “Ghostbusters II,” but while “Afterlife” co-writer and director Jason Reitman certainly sets up a new era for the franchise in his film, he’s not quite sure he’s the right person to continue telling “Ghostbusters” stories onscreen.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” connects a present day story to the original “Ghostbusters” through a young, science-minded girl named Phoebe Spengler (played by Mckenna Grace) who is Egon Spengler’s (Harold Ramis) granddaughter. The new film kicks off with Egon’s death (Ramis passed away in 2014), and Egon’s estranged daughter (played by Carrie Coon) and her family then move into his dilapidated farmhouse in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. Soon thereafter supernatural occurrences begin, and it’s up to Egon’s family to save the day.

There’s an Amblin-indebted vibe to Reitman’s approach to “Ghostbusters” in this film, and it ends in a way that very much leaves the door opens for more stories to be told in this universe. But in an interview with TheWrap, Reitman somewhat surprisingly revealed that he may be more inclined to see other filmmaking voices put their stamp on the franchise in further sequels or continuations.

“I think honestly the bigger question is going to be whether I should still be writing and directing these or is Ghostbusters the kind of franchise where we need to hear from other voices?,” Reitman said. “There are other writers and directors whose voices should be [heard]. You just got my version of a Ghostbusters film. The original two are the voice of Harold [Ramis] and my father [Ivan Reitman]. The third film is the voice of Paul Feig and those brilliant actresses. This is one in my voice. I really want to see Ghostbusters films from other voices. There are so many gifted directors out there, and if I’m excited about it I have to imagine other people are excited about that possibility.”

This is a surprisingly magnanimous approach to franchise filmmaking, especially in the wake of so many sequels and reboots where a specific director seems inclined to continue guiding the direction of said franchise forward.

But Reitman’s not wrong in that all the “Ghostbusters” films thus far have celebrated different filmmaking voices. 2016’s unfairly maligned film was told through a very specific comedic lens courtesy of Feig and the actresses at the center of that story, and Reitman’s “Afterlife” takes a more serious and emotional approach to the material than ever before.

Sony Pictures

The “Up in the Air” filmmaker even took strides to single out his filmmaking team for the film’s ultimate success. “I think the movie succeeds by virtue of the people I got to work with,” Reitman said during TheWrap’s interview. “I got to work with extraordinary artists, so when you talk about visual effects and puppetry, we talk about that team at MPC we talk about Arjen Tuiten who brought the Terror Dog back to life, we talk about Rob Simonsen who brought the music back to life. These are the artists who made it possible. In many ways I was directing a movie like I’ve always directed a movie – directing the actors, editing with my editors. These other artists brought it to the scale that you’re talking about.”

Especially as the ending of the film sets up a certain character to guide characters moving forward (Reitman referred to said character as the franchise’s “Tony Stark” in TheWrap’s interview), it’d be great to see a diverse group of filmmakers put their own stamp on what “Ghostbusters” means to them in future films. And with “Afterlife” scoring a solid $40 million opening weekend at the box office, one imagines Sony Pictures will be eager to continue this franchise as well.