Is a Female Ghostbusters Cast a Bad Idea?

Rumors about a new Ghostbusters movie came out around mid-2014, inciting mixed reactions among fans. With Ghostbusters being the iconic movie that it is, resulting in people feeling a sense of “ownership” – as is the case with many a franchise, the idea of rebooting the movie more than two decades later understandably makes fans edgy. After all, we know how sequels almost always don’t live up to the original.

Think about Ghostbusters II, which received reviews along the lines of “we’ve been slimed”. The film received a two thumbs down from the late Roger Ebert. How can we expect a third installment to be better?

As if the divide were not enough, talk about an all-female cast spread. By now, everyone knows that all that talk about the female cast for the third film has been confirmed.

Welcome Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, and Melissa McCarthy, who are going to be our new Ghostbusters.

AP Images/Invision

Well, Melissa McCarthy has signed while the other three are still in talks. It does seem that the deal’s pretty much in the bag.

Female Ghostbusters – good or bad idea?

Ernie Hudson (Winston) was quite vocal in expressing his discontent about the idea last year. CinemaBlend reports:

If it has nothing to do with the other two movies, and it’s all female, then why are you calling it Ghostbusters? I love females. I hope that if they go that way, at least they’ll be funny, and if they’re not funny at least hopefully it’ll be sexy. I love the idea of including women, I think that’s great. But all-female, I think, would be a bad idea. I don’t think the fans want to see that.

He does have a point about the third movie not having anything to do with the first two…but thinking for the fans? Not too sure about that. Since then, he has changed his tune, though. Maybe it’s because his original co-stars are all for the idea.

Dan Aykroyd has nothing but good to say about the female cast. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the original Ghostbusters member says that “The Aykroyd family is delighted by this inheritance of the Ghostbusters torch by these most magnificent women in comedy.”

Bill effin’ Murray even threw in his two cents four months ago, suggesting actresses for the movie: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Emma Stone, and Linda Cardellini. He got two out of four.

Is a female Ghostbusters cast really a bad idea?

Heather Magee of Huffington Post Canada writes:

“…I started thinking, is that really a good idea? Female “Ghostbusters”? Women putting on proton packs and saving Manhattan (again) from the paranormal? I think it’s a terrible idea. The only reason producers would consider an all-female cast is to sell tickets, which I get. But wouldn’t it be better to reprise the original cast and develop a kick-ass script instead?”

I have to admit, a similar thought was the first thing that came to mind when I heard about the all-female cast. I was thinking, why the need to emphasize the gender switch for Ghostbusters III? The connection between an all-female cast and selling tickets didn’t really occur to me.

But is it really such a bad thing to have four women going round with proton packs, busting ghosts, and having fun while at it?

Maybe it’s not about the gender.

I still think that the emphasis on the gender of the new Ghostbusters is unwarranted. At the risk of being labeled anti-feminist (again), this kind of angle – Hooray! One step forward for women! – doesn’t do women any justice.

If, in reaction to this development, you say that producers are casting females so that they can sell tickets, doesn’t that have a derogatory connotation? It’s not championing the cause of gender equality. Quite the contrary, in fact.

On the other hand, for just one moment, if we can forget about gender, and discuss the merits of Ghostbusters III on its own…

Then that might be a totally different story. Then perhaps it may not be all that good an idea. Peter, Raymond, Egon, and Winston are forever embedded in our minds as they were when we were kids (at least for those of us who were kids back then). There is a certain image of each individual, as well as the entire group. There are certain expectations. Another movie, following a sequel that wasn’t exactly a favorite, probably wouldn’t live up to those expectations.

Plus Egon (Harold Ramis) has passed away, bless his soul. The Ghostbusters wouldn’t be the same at all without him, and replacing him with another actor is unthinkable.

So, why fix what ain’t broke? Why not let sleeping dogs lie, and allow us to remember the Ghostbusters the way they originally were?

That brings us back to a salient point: Ghostbusters III is going to be a reboot.

What part of reboot don’t people get? Heck, in case it’s not clear, Urban Dictionary (yeah, I know. UD of all things!) tells us what a reboot is:

To start anew with fresh ideas in a way that is consistent with the principals of the original, but not unnecessarily constrained by what has taken place before.

So the movie’s going to have new elements but still have its roots in the original concept. Four ghost-busting individuals working to save the general populace.

What’s wrong with that? I shall withhold my judgment till I actually see the movie. )After all, everyone raved about Gravity, and I think it’s one of the most overrated movies I’ve seen.)

So, is an all-female Ghostbusters cast a bad idea? Not necessarily. The success, or failure, of the movie probably wouldn’t even depend on that. It will boil down to the writers, director, artists, and all the people who play an important role in the creation of the movie.

Your turn
What do you think about Ghostbusters III and all the hullabaloo about it? What would you like to see in the reboot?

More ghostbusting goodness:

Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Art Show Sneak Peek!

Tribute to Dr. Egon Spengler: Our Favorite Fanart

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