Watch Harold Ramis Talk About a Hellish 'Ghostbusters 3' Idea a Decade Ago

The second sequel that almost happened.

With Ghostbusters 3 now officially happening, we’re all left wondering how the new film, set 30 years after Ghostbusters II, might continue the story of Egon, Ray, Peter, and Winston. Almost a full decade ago, actor Harold Ramis, who played Egon Spengler, talked about an idea for the third movie that was absolutely hellish — literally.

“Dan Aykroyd wrote a script on spec several years ago. Some publicity got out about it,” Ramis said in a 2009 interview with MakingOf to promote his film Year One. “It was basically ‘Ghostbusters Go to Hell’, which I thought was a great premise.”

The actual script, titled Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent, existed in limbo between 1994 and 2007, and it was ultimately never produced. The core premise actually sounded a lot like the Upside Down from Stranger Things, based on what Dan Aykroyd told Hollywood Online in 1998.

“Hell is not some distant place, far away from this dimension or realm. Hell is right next door. It’s like those old tintype photos where you turn them one way and they look positive, then you just flick them slightly and they look negative. … Given the right technology you could flip the switch and all of a sudden the positive that we see in this room suddenly becomes negative. … You look down at the river and there’s a ferry of Wall Street commuters, except they’re being shoved off with pitchforks into the river which is now boiling blood. Flick it back and it’s just the Brooklyn Bridge and just a normal traffic jam.”

Ghostbusters 2
The gang in 'Ghostbusters II'.

In the 2009 interview, Ramis offered skeptic thoughts on sequels in general, saying they often feel “tired” or “manufactured,” citing widely panned movies like like Spider-Man 3 and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

If there’s one thing he wanted to see in a potential sequel, it was to recapture analog special effects and character-driven tone of the original Ghostbusters.

“What made Ghostbusters funny was the low-tech aspect of it,” he said. “For us it’s always going to be about character, and then secondarily about the pseudoscience of it, the made-up gadgets and fake mythology. If there’s a message that underlies the whole thing, personally I want to believe in that message and feel like we’re saying something useful to the audience.”

Ghostbusters has always been about campy pseudoscience with practical effects, so hopefully, the new movie follows suit.

Something Aykroyd told Daily Sci-Fi in 1999 about the original Hellbent script would be the perfect way to continue the Ghostbusters legacy into a new film:

“Hell gets filled up, and all other damned souls begin to roam the Earth, unleashing a poltergeist plague. So, they come out of retirement … passing the torch to some younger, slimmer guys.”

So assuming they use a similar story, who could those “younger, slimmer guys” be in the 2020 follow-up? And could some of them be women instead?

The new Ghostbusters movie is due out in summer 2020.

Here's the teaser for the new 'Ghostbusters' movie.
Media via Columbia Pictures, Weston Green