Column: The Private Sector – Somebody Turn on the Lights!

Sorry guys, I was out on a smoke break (and I don’t even smoke, isn’t that weird). What’d I miss?

(Pauses as he hears about Chris putting the site into cryofreeze)…

Oh? Is that all? Okay.

No, do not adjust your sets, you’re not in some crazy time vortex where the site has auto-updated and posted an old article. Chris has given me the okay to post from time to time here on PC to keep some new content running in addition to the Broadsheets (how cool are those) and I thought, why not jump back in with another Private Sector.

Proton Charging was and always will continue to be a daily read for me. It’s in my DNA now much as I’m sure some people find themselves hitting the address bar in Firefox and absentmindedly typing in Facebook because they need their fix. There was a daily ritual in the morning of hitting the trades and hitting all the fansites including Proton Charging that I won’t be able to shake and it’s a testament to what Chris built here. Much as Ghostbusters HQ was the go-to for people to hear me run rampant (that’s all it was really good for, right?) – Chris had built the go-to for the no-nonsense news and features. You could always cut through the noise with a quick view of Proton Charging, and get a pretty good gauge on the response based on the articulate and pointed comments.

So let’s stick to what Proton Charging was really known for… the news. Anybody heard any news lately? Something about some guy named Murray and a third movie? I may have seen it in a place or two. Looking to the left in the GBFans aggregate RSS feed, I don’t see anything remotely close to mentioning it but…

…all kidding aside though, it seems like there are peaks and valleys, ups and downs to the on-going saga of Ghostbusters III on a daily basis. And for us fans, that’s not exactly news.

After all, we’ve been enduring this since the first days that I remember jumping into the online fandom in the mid-90s. Will they? Won’t they? Bill Murray is in! Bill Murray would rather not. Bill Murray is willing to try again! Bill Murray shredded the script… it seemingly is endless and I’m not sure if I’m in the minority, but when friends ask me about my thoughts I just kind of shrug. Hard to get worked up over it because it’ll probably change with the weather tomorrow.

That said, you can’t help but get the feeling that we’re closer now than we’ve ever been to a third incarnation of the franchise hitting the big screen. As Tom Lennon and Ben Garant will tell you, a writer being fired from a movie and replaced by another writer is a good thing – it means the studio is actually spending money on it and wanting to see it through.

So what does a Ghostbusters film without Peter Venkman mean?

Stating the obvious, it means that there will be a void that one of the “new generation” cast members will need to fill. That much is abundantly clear. But I’d argue on the side of this being the best possible scenario for another film being an original work rather than a rehash of what we’ve seen. This way the old guard is giving way to the new guard without possibility of being upstaged or missed because they were hardly used.

Let me hit you with a hypothetical situation…

June 2013. You’re sitting in your movie theater seat with your large Dr. Pepper and popcorn and the house lights come down as Ghostbusters 3, begins. As you’re watching the film, it becomes clear that Bill Murray might be phoning it in. His heart just isn’t in it. There’s glimpses and shades of familiar things that get you excited, but ultimately the experience just isn’t fulfilling because you’re expecting certain things that you just aren’t getting. Much like a certain war in the stars or an archeologist donning the fedora again, you’ve pictured the next episode intricately in your head. Some people have written their own version, produced their own fanfilmed incarnation, or at least argued what the “only possible perfect sequel could contain.” (Pause to look directly at myself).

But in this hypothetical situation, where you’re sitting watching something just not up to par, you begin to realize that all the warning signs were there. It’s not like Murray didn’t warn you. For years, he’s been on the fence and not exactly championing a third film. You can’t possibly be upset with him for finally giving in and not jumping into the role fully.

Now let’s change that hypothetical situation up a bit… as you watch the events on-screen unfold, you realize that the new film is being respectful, reverent, and giving nods to what came previous in ways that cater directly to you. Bill Murray isn’t in the movie (or he shows up for a quick impactful cameo ala Zombieland), but it’s something fresh and something new. But at the same time, you’re getting a new story, with new characters, new worlds to explore. Nobody is trying to replicate Bill Murray, nobody is trying to capture that lightning in a bottle again. They’re trying to create NEW lightning. In other words, the film isn’t trying to BE Ghostbusters, it’s trying to BE a different Ghostbusters.

“A different Ghostbusters!?!?” I just heard you shout in revulsion, understandably. I know, change can be a little distressing. After all, if the N-filter isn’t the exact diameter to some peoples’ specifications, it causes a (tiny) uproar. But if this new film is being positioned to be a relaunch, a stepping-off point, then it has to be something different. It has to bring something new to the table rather than rehash everything that you’ve seen before.

And to me, if this crazy voyage called Ghostbusters III is going to happen – that’s what I’d like to see. Rather than the continuing story, I’d rather see the first part of a new story.

And if Bill Murray wants to be there to break the bottle on the newly Christened ship, all the better… But it can still be done in his honor.

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