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12 Things You Probably Never Knew About the Ghostbusters Movies

There’s something strange in the neighborhood, and with Gil Kenan’s Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire once again defrosting the fan-favorite funny frightener, it’s time to pick up the phone and call in Venkman, Stanz, Zeddemore and the legacy of Spengler. Following the misfire of 2016’s Ghostbusters and the reinvention of 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, we’re firing up the proton packs for the next generation of spook hunters.

Following its original run of Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, and the beloved The Real Ghostbusters cartoon, we once feared that Gozer the Destructor had “destroyed” our hopes of more outings. Thankfully, it seems that even 40 years later, bustin’ makes us feel good. With that in mind, here are 12 things you might not know about the Ghostbusters franchise.

Buy tickets to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire HERE

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The original Peter Venkman

Bill Murray as Peter Venkman.


While it’s hard to imagine anyone other than the smart-talking Bill Murray as the leader of the Ghostbusters, the Groundhog Day star wasn’t always the first choice for Peter Venkman. Having worked together on Saturday Night Live and The Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd wanted John Belushi to play Venkman. 

Speaking on Netflix’s The Movies That Made Us, Aykroyd confirmed he was typing a line for Belushi when he got the call about his death. A pre-Batman Michael Keaton was poised to play Venkman thanks to his sarcastic tone, however, when Murray expressed an interest, Keaton was promptly shown the door. 

There’s still a nod to Belushi, with the Onion Head Ghost (later known as Slimer) being based on him. We’re not sure that’s a compliment, but Slimer is an icon of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon and one of the series’ most merchandisable assets, so Belushi’s legacy lives on.

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Buy tickets to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire HERE


A ghostly cameo

Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz in CASPER (1995).


We know Sony was once talking about an expanded Ghostbusters universe that would’ve united the female and male teams, but much like plans to bankroll a new era of Men in Black, the idea crumbled following the failure of Ghostbusters (2016). Still, we’ve seen the main gang break free from the confines of their own world before.

1995’s underrated Casper had nods to The Exorcist and Ghostbusters. During a scene where the villainous Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) is trying to banish the ghosts from Whipstaff Manor, a frightened-looking Aykroyd runs from the house in full Ghostbusters getup. 

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Sporting a mustache, Stantz says, “Who ya gonna call? Somebody else.” It’s only a bit of fun that bizarrely connects the worlds of Casper and Ghostbusters, but Ray never stood a chance — he broke the golden Ghostbusters rule of “never go solo.” Also, who could forget Bill Murray sporting a proton pack and playing himself in Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland?

Buy tickets to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire HERE


Ghostbusters 3

Ghostbusters 2009 video game.

Despite Ghostbusters II underperforming compared to the original, it was enough of a success to spark plans for a trilogy. Murray was particularly reluctant to return, which led to Aykroyd’s 1999 Ghostbusters III: Hellbent script that would’ve reduced him to a minor role and killed him off-screen. 

Hellbent continued, with the script taking the original team to a nightmarish alternate world called ManHellton. Here, they crossed paths with the Devil — a smarmy businessman going under the guise of Luke Sifler (Lucifer). As with Afterlife, the original plan for Ghostbusters III was to sideline the old guard and introduce some new blood. 

Way back when, Ramis suggested (via Aint It Cool News) that Chris Farley, Chris Rock, and Ben Stiller were considered for the next generation of Ghostbusters. Aykroyd’s third movie fell into development hell, although the original cast reprised their roles for 2009’s Ghostbusters video game, which many consider the ‘real’ Ghostbusters 3.

Buy tickets to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire HERE


Ghostbusters HQ

Hook & Ladder Company 8 in New York.


The Ghostbusters wouldn’t be who they are without their base of operations, and in real life, the Hook & Ladder Company 8 is a New York City landmark. After filming had wrapped, Hook & Ladder Company 8 kept half of the Ghostbusters II sign and would hang it outside on events like Halloween.

After the sign was permanently moved inside for preservation, an impressive 2021 GoFundMe campaign raised enough funds for a full-size replica. The funding was such a success it’s become an annual tradition held on Ghostbusters Day every year.

Hook & Ladder Company 8 is still an active firehouse, with its firefighters assisting in the September 11 rescue attempts. It’s poised to return in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Buy tickets to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire HERE


Poor Winston

Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore.


The Ghostbusters movies continue to sideline Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddemore as the often-forgotten fourth Ghostbuster. Even the Ghostbusters Minimates figures swap Winston out for Sigourney Weaver’s Dana. 

Eddie Murphy was finding his fame on SNL and starred alongside Aykroyd in Trading Places, making him the original choice for Winston. On The Movies That Made Us, Aykroyd said, “I wrote it for Eddie Murphy. It was me, John Belushi, and Eddie Murphy. We were supposed to be the original Ghostbusters.”

Although Ivan Reitman denies that the role of Winston was specifically written for Murphy, it was greatly reduced from the original draft and remains something of a sticking point to this day.  There are obvious accusations of racism, but in a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Hudson said, “If I go to the racial side of it and blame that, it takes all my power away, because if I blame racism there’s nothing I can learn from it.”

Buy tickets to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire HERE


A Stone’s throw

Emma Stone and Bill Murray–Ghostbusters.

It’s fair to say that 2016’s Ghostbusters got a bit of a rough reception, once being the most-disliked movie trailer on YouTube — until The Marvels came along. Toxic fandom was a contributing factor in the movie’s failure, and we doubt much could’ve been done to change that.

Before things really got underway, Aykroyd had mentioned Eliza Dushku, Anna Faris, and Alyssa Milano as potential stars for a female-centric Ghostbusters movie. Murray ad