After the risible 2016 version of Ghostbusters crashed and burned it looked like the franchise was done. Then a small tease dropped out of nowhere that things were afoot. Those things turned out to be Ghostbusters: Afterlife. That movie got a broadly positive reception from fans and critics alike and made enough money to warrant a sequel.

After teasing the project a few months ago, dropping news that development had officially begun, Sony Pictures has now set a date of December 20th 2023 for release.

The working title is Firehouse as it will pick up where the last movie left off, with Ecto-1 returning to New York and the original home of the Ghostbusters after Winston Zeddemore used his corporate power to purchase his old place of work.

Once again it will be directed by Jason Reitman from a screenplay he is co-writing with Gil Kenan and will focus on the Spengler family from Ghostbusters: Afterlife, so expect some Afterlife cast members to return. Ernie Hudson will return as Winston and you can’t keep Dan Akroyd away from a Ghostbusters project so expect his appearance. As for Bill Murray? Well, it’s probably complicated.

A third Ghostbusters film was in development for decades, ever since the release of Ghostbusters II. Production stalled because Murray refused to return to the series.

Egon Spengler actor Harold Ramis was also an accomplished director and longtime collaborator of Bill Murray. They had a falling out during the filming of Groundhog Day, which Ramis attributed to problems that Murray had in his own life at the time. They did not speak for more than 20 years.

When Murray learned that Ramis was critically ill and unlikely to survive, encouraged by his brother Brian Doyle-Murray, Murray visited him to make amends.

He famously arrived at the Raimi residence with a police escort after stopping to ask a policeman for directions who recognised the actor and knew of Ramis, leading to them offering him the escort to show him the way.

Ramis had lost most of his ability to speak, so Murray did most of the talking over several hours as they reconciled. After Ramis died on February 24 2014, Sony switched to the female-driven reboot.

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife was basically a giant tribute to Ramis, whose Egon Spengler character is a huge part of the story even after his death.

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