…that I wrote over fifteen hundred words about theories about wether it was really a reboot or not.
Be warned there are SPOILERS!!!
But also NO POLITICS!!!
(You're welcome, though I may get into that in a later post)
The 2016 movie Ghostbusters is not a reboot. It’s a continuation of the previous two films, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II.
Here’s the proof:
The authorities already know about the existence of ghosts.
They don’t deny the good work of the Ghostbusters, but do their best to make them look like frauds to prevent the public from panicing. (Seriously, I’m tired of that trope, as it overestimates the ease of brushing cataclysmic events off as nothing, and underestimates the resilience of people. But that’s a rant for another time, and has little to do with the quality of this film)
In the original film, the Ghostbusters were freshly discovering all this, and the city only got involved when all hell broke loose.
How does the city know about ghosts in this film? It doesn’t get addressed. It could be just a plot contrivance.
But it could be that the city has known for 30 years, since the original Ghostbusters were around, and it has all been swept under the rug, as the authorities want it to be.
The cameos, are not just cameos.
Assuming that the authorities have covered up the existence of Ghosts, the existence of the original Ghostbusters would also have to have been swept from the public consciousness. And the previous Ghostbusters will have gone undercover (If working with the authorities) or underground (if they are hiding from the authorities)
Let’s cover the cameos one by one.
Martin Heiss is Peter Venkman
Martin Heiss (played by Bill Murray) is a debunker of the supernatural who shows up in the press an expert on such frauds. Kinda like an Amazing Randi type, only a bit cheesy. This would make him the reverse form of Peter Venkman who at times tried to work on cheesy cable access shows about the supernatural.
Here, he shows up at the new Ghostbusters office to take a look at their equipment, and ask for proof of what they did was for real, only to get thrown out of the building by the ghost released from the trap.
I’m guessing Heiss was injured pretty bad (and presumably not dead) and wasn’t able to comment on what he had just seen.
If Heiss IS Venkman this would mean that Venkman wanted to see if these new Ghostbusters were for real. What he planned for once he ascertained their legitimacy is unknown, as he didn’t get a chance to do much other than get hurt badly.
The desk clerk is Janine Melnitz
Annie Potts appears briefly as the Desk Clerk at the hotel where the villain of the film, Rowan North, works, and is building his device to bring a whole ton of ghosts into the world.
Without much prompting she just lets the Ghostbusters in to investigate and encourges them to take Rowan away. This is supposedly because he’s considered a creepy freak by his coworkers at the hotel (and much of the world, hence his motivation to strike back against it ).
But if this Desk Clerk is really the original Ghostbusters’ receptionist Janine, it could be that she’s already been looking into the supernatural plans of Rowan, and is there undercover. She may well even be working with Venkman, and/or others from the original team.
The random cabbie is Raymond Stanz
Just before the climactic fight of the film, Erin Gilbert (one of the new Ghostbusters, played by Kristin Wiig) tries to hail a cab. The cabbie (Dan Ackroyd) refuses to drive her to Chinatown. She implores him to do so due to the crisis around them. At this point he says that the ghost are merely “level five” phantasms, and he “ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”
That’s awfully specific terminology from a mere cabbie. It sounds suspiciously like the technobabble Ray Stanz easily spouted during the original film. WHY would Stanz refuse to help Dr. Gilbert by taking her back? This could disprove the theory that this cabby is Ray. Maybe he had plans of his own in motion to deal with the crisis elsewhere, possibly along with the original Ghostbusters, and couldn’t spare the time.
Rebecca Gorin is Dana Barrett
At the end of the film Sigourney Weaver has her cameo as Gorin, who has been the mentor of Jillian Holtzmann, the new Ghostbusters’ lead techie and weapons-smith, played by Kate McKinnon. She’s been inspecting Holtzmann’s new devices and commenting on their design.
If this is actually repeat client of the original Ghostbusters, Dana Barrett, she’s been drawn into the world of the Ghostbusters very deeply, to where she is now an expert in the paranormal field herself. And under this new identity she’s assumed has been grooming new talent.
It could be that Holtzmann was encouraged by “Gorin” to seek out and work with Dr. Abby Yeats, once the original Ghostbusters heard of her work.
“Uncle Bill” is Winston Zeddemore
Patty Tolan, played by Leslie Jones, is the lone non-scientist of the new Ghostbusters. She provides the team with a car to use, a hearse from her “Uncle Bill”, who runs a funeral home. The hearse, supsiciouisly enough already has the custom license plate, “ECTO 1”, the license plate of the original Ghostbusters’ vehicle.
It’s a loaner vehicle throughout the film, and though Holtzmann takes the unwelcomed initiative to customize the vehicle for their use, including painting it white with the “no ghosts” logo on the side. I doubt Holzman would have re-registered the car with a new custom plate.
At the end of the film, “Uncle Bill” is played by Ernie Hudson, who was the lone non-scientist of the original Ghostbusters.
If Uncle Bill is Winston Zeddemore, he kept the license plates from the ECTO 1, and transferred them to the hearse in his new identity and profession.
This does however begin to strain the suspenion of disbelief in the number of coincidences that his niece would find her way into a new Ghostbusters team. So maybe behind the scenes, Bill upon hearing of his niece’s ghostly encounter in the subway, steered her towards the new team to investigate, maybe even enouraging her to seek a job with them. And was willing to contribute the hearse for the cause.
Now about the unseen classic characters.
Egon Spengler, R.I.P.
Harold Ramis was unavailable to be in a cameo, due to his death. The film was dedicated to him in the closing credits. But he does appear in the form of a bust sitting in the hall of the college that Erin Gilbert was teaching at (and seeking tenure). Could it be that Spengler helped get Gilbert the job in the first place? And that with the absence (and maybe the presumed death) of Spengler, that he was unable to provide any safety net for Gilbert when her prior involvement in paranormal studies derailed her from the tenure track, and her job.
Louis Tully, M.I.A.
Rick Moranis hasn’t been doing much acting lately, if IMDB is correct. From what I've read, he didn’t want to appear in this film. In the original film Louis was a neighbor of Dana Barrett’s and a tax attorney. He gets in over his head going beyond tax law in assisting the Ghostbusters in a doomed lawsuit against the city in Ghostbusters II, for unpaid services (their having saved the city in the first film).
I have no idea if Tully fits into the new story at all. Probably not. Sometimes a no-show is just a no-show.
Up until now, I've been taking my cues from the clues in the film. Here I'm about to go on a wild flight of fancy. Unsupported by anything in the film. But if I'm right, it's a doozy.
Kevin is actually Oscar!!!
Really, I’m going out on a limb on this theory, but it removes one key coincidence.
By now Oscar, the infant son of Dana in Ghostbusters II, would now be grown up. If he appeared in this film, who would he be? I’m speculating that Kevin, the receptionist hired by the new Ghostbusters, IS the adult Oscar!
It would mean the whole ditz act is just that, an act. That he’s there undercover to keep an eye on the new team. It means that his accidental naming of the team, when he answers the phone “Ghostbusters”, is no accident, but a deliberate act to pass on the team name.
It would mean that Kevin’s desire to suit up and be a more active participant on the team is less impulsive and more purposeful on his part. That Kevin’s trip to absent mindedly get a sandwich while the team was fighting the villain, may have been cover for an attempt to check in with the original Ghostbusters (or at least Ray), who were working behind the scenes as well.
The acquisition of the logo still seems a bit too coincidental if this is a continuation not a full reboot, but then again this is Ghostbusters, not Men in Black with their mind-wipes, the history of the original team may well still be out there and in the public conciousness to a small degree that the grafitti artist replicated it.
So with all of this in mind, it means that many of the events in this film were being manipulated and brought into being BY the original Ghostbusters. And we have at least one, potentially two, relatives of the original team on the new one.
It also means..
This is not just “only Zuul”
The post-credits scene where the name “Zuul” is discovered on a tape is now even more ominous.
If this was just a pure reboot of continuity, it would mean that the next film would be a rehash of the orginal film’s scenario. But if my theorizing is correct, this means Zuul, and presumably Gozer, will be back with a vengance, and the classic team may be forced to out themselves to the new team, and the audience.
I’d also like to see the team take the Statue of Liberty out for a stroll again, with Holtzmann at the stick. Or is that too fanboyish a request? Ah heck, I’ve written over 1,500 words of fan theory, why show restraint now?
Update: Upon seeing the film a second time, I noticed something that DOES support my Kevin = Oscar theory.
Just before Kevin gets possessed he's asking to take a more active role, is suited up, and is asking for a proton pack. The last line before he's possessed is, "I was born to be a Ghostbuster!" This could be a nod to his connection to the original team.