The Download: 'Ghostbusters' Reboot and Spider-Man Rumors


The third Ghostbusters won't be a sequel, but a complete reboot led by a female cast. We discuss that and more on this week's Download.

Binh: The next Ghostbusters movie has gone from laughingstock to one of the most interesting movies in development. Paul Feig is on board to produce and will write the script with his The Heat co-writer Katie Dippold. Wasn't it just a couple weeks ago that Dan Aykroyd was assuring us that Ghostbusters 3, with most of the old cast, is definitely happening and that Marvel-ization of the franchise is in the cards? What has changed?

Jeff: Only real life's ability to intrude upon Dan Aykroyd's delusions!

Binh: Ha! I wonder if Feig's decision to reimagine the movie with female Ghostbusters and not connecting it to the previous two movies is a way to cut Aykroyd out of the decision making process and maybe not to work with him at all. I'm sure he will fight for a cameo though.

Jeff: After all these years of struggling to get it made, it really would be a terrible insult if Aykroyd was locked out of Ghostbusters 3, although I suppose there are so many questions about where the other guys on the team have disappeared to that it could end up being too distracting for the movie's real story. Either you stick Aykroyd (and hopefully Hudson) in for a little cameo and shoehorn in a bunch of stuff about what's been going on in Ghostbusters World for the last 25 years, or you just sever ties and start over.

Binh: While Bill Murray, and possibly others, felt that they're too old for any more, Aykroyd just want to continue chasing ghosts. A tiny cameo will serve him just fine. So, which actresses are we looking at to star in the new movie? Are we looking at a Bridesmaids reunion here?

Jeff: Well, you know Kristen Wiig's name has been mentioned, and I'm sure Melissa McCarthy's isn't far behind. Can we get Kate McKinnon to play a character based on the old Italian lady who vandalized that old painting of Jesus?

Sara: Kate McKinnon is incredible! And I realize this is an unpopular perspective but I bristle at the thought of a Bridesmaids reunion for any purpose--would we call this Bride-busters? Seriously, SNL should make a skit about it--just put the Bridesmaids cast in any franchise because it'll get women to go to movies.

Jeff: It'll be lazy for sure, but that's what the studios understand, and I'd imagine that Feig has already been handed about a hundred notes suggesting a Bridesmaids redux.

Binh: Think of them as a troupe like Monty Python. I have no problem with a reunion, really. This is already miles better than what Aykroyd has envisioned.

Jeff: Well, that's true. And the Ghostbusters guys were already linked through the same comedy ecosystem before they joined up for that movie, so I suppose there's a precedent. Still, there are plenty of funny females, and it'd be a shame if a high-profile and purposely female-focused project like this one was too timid or lazy to widen the parameters established by Bridesmaids.

Binh: There are plenty of funny females as you say, but can they play off each other and have the on-screen chemistry? The Bridesmaids have proven that.

Okay, let's move on to Sony and Spider-Man. There are a couple of rumors floating around. One is that the Venom spinoff is dead, again. Another is that they'll recast Spidey with Sinister Six, and yet another is that Spidey will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Are there others not listed here?

Jeff: I think that about covers the Spidey rumor roundup -- although I'm still taking all of these with a huge grain of salt.

Binh: Why's that? You don't think Sony would willingly cede control of one of its biggest property to another studio or that it would change course on something that's not working?

Jeff: All of the above? I guess I find it at least a little unlikely that they'd reverse course on the Venom movie so soon after announcing it, for starters, and I also question their willingness to hand over the reins to a franchise that's made them a ton of money. The rumor that makes the most sense is using Sinister Six as a "soft reboot" (ugh), sticking a new Spidey in the middle of a movie he doesn't have to carry...but there's been so much scuttlebutt about this property since Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed that I'm leery of taking any of it at face value.

Binh: I'm willing to believe that some of these things were discussed because the studio is under pressure to perform and to cut cost. I'm not sure about the other rumors, but I see Spider-Man joining up with The Avengers as highly probable because it's win-win for both parties. They just need to figure out how to split the profits.

Sara: Apologies for my ignorance, but isn't Spidey part of a different crime fighting cabal? I should really just lead with my real question: who's in the super friends and why don't we have a jingle to remember their names?

Jeff: In the comics, Spidey is an occasional Avenger. They tossed him out recently, but that was only because they didn't know he'd been taken over by the evil spirit of Doctor Octopus, who used a robot to upload his consciousness into Peter Parker's body. Not making any of that up, by the way.

Binh: Oh, the old take-over-the-body plotline. I assume they've already went through the lost-his-powers-and-have-to-live-as-a-normal-person one?

Jeff: I guess they've probably done that. I gather that's what's happening to Captain America now -- some villain or other found a way to withdraw the super-soldier serum from his body, so now he's just your average 90-year-old man.

Sara: Wait, so Dr. Octopus is INSIDE Peter Parker. Why hasn't anyone made a porn about this?! Oh, gross.

Binh: How do you know there isn't one?

Sara: Sound point.

Jeff: An interesting tangent that springs up here is Marvel's apparent willingness to tinker with its titles in order to reflect (or drive) what happens on the screen and vice versa. I assume we've all heard the news that the Fantastic Four book has been canceled, allegedly in order to spite Fox's upcoming FF reboot?

Sara: While I haven't heard any official info on this I have a going suspicion that "reboot" is code for "TV show."

Binh: It used to be that TV shows are made into movies, but now it's going the other way. Rush Hour, anyone?

Jeff: Not to mention Uncle Buck. Lordy, lordy, lordy. Thank goodness Cameron Crowe helped shame the people responsible for the Say Anything... series that was briefly in development into putting the kibosh on it.

Binh: Now that FF rumor is just bunk in my opinion. Like Sony, Fox is discovering, or will discover, that without a host of popular characters to work with, character fatigue will set in and they'll have to have wait a number of years before they can reboot it once that happens. By weaving all these characters and stories together, Marvel can offset that somewhat.

Jeff: The FF cancellation isn't bunk. As for the supposed reasons behind it, well, that could be nothing more than conjecture. But the timing is certainly convenient.

Binh: I don't know...if it's selling, the comic wouldn't be cancelled. Convenient timing and maybe engineered to PROMOTE the FF movie, even.

Jeff: Oh, I have no doubt that sales are soft. But the company has really been savvy about shifting its priorities, too. Now that they have a cinematic leg to stand on, they can revive a dormant title like Guardians of the Galaxy and use it to fuel movie buzz and vice versa, or build a crossover event around also-ran characters like the Inhumans and the Eternals, rather than relying on endless X-Men and Spider-Man spinoffs.

Binh: I imagine the money Marvel make from the comics side is minuscule compared to its movie division, so like you say, it's smart of them to shift those people to more popular titles. Movies, TV, comics tie-ins are coming, if they're not here already.

Jeff: Right. And more to the point, rather than having to rise or fall on their own merits, the comics titles are now ancillary markets for the films, which draw on the books' history without being totally beholden to it.

Marvel started off hamstrung, with some of its most popular characters beholden to other studios. So now that they've built an empire out of the major characters they do own, they can broaden their base by bringing fringe properties like Doctor Strange and Ant-Man to the forefront.

It's no accident that the titles the print division has started firing out over the last couple of years lean heavy on traditional B-listers like Moon Knight and She-Hulk, or that the new Ms. Marvel is a teenage Muslim girl. They're positioning themselves for cheap, broad-based dominance. Of all the rumors surrounding the superhero films, I'd wager that the one about Avengers 3 focusing on a group of relative unknowns might be closest to the truth.

Binh: Don't forget, it's all about the plush toys and theme parks. You've touched upon a potential trouble spot for Marvel here. Can the various franchises survive a recast? I think they can because of how the movies are planned out. They can do it gradually or have an event that would kill off the majority of the characters in one of the universes.

Jeff: Well, again, Steve Rogers is no longer Captain America in the comics -- and Thor is now a woman, too. Identity has a tradition of being fluid in those books, as we earlier touched on in the Doc Ock-as-Spidey discussion. Recasting is as simple as coming up with a compelling reason for a switch.

Binh: True, and they don't need a "reboot" to do that. That Doc Ock inside of Spidey storyline needs to end soon and never to be brought up again.

Jeff: Oh, it ended with the last shred of Peter Parker's consciousness rising from the psychic rubble and convincing Doc Ock to give up the ghost. That was months ago, and I have no idea what's happened since. Maybe Mary Jane is Spidey now.

Binh: Good. Maybe Spidey needs go on a vacation with the Fantastic Four.

Sara: If Mary can be Spidey maybe she can be talked into wearing a proton pack.

Binh: Aykroyd might have already pitch that to Sony.

Sara: That could totally be the gimmick! Single Moms cleaning up the psychically grody neighborhood...are reincarnations of the original SNL cast! I just totally bored myself!

Jeff: Pouring one out here for Jan Hooks, who has sadly passed away at the too-young age of 57.

Sara: Oh my god, I had no idea. 57 is way too young. She was kind of the mistress of the so-serious-it's-funny sketch. I remember her taking Alec Baldwin's pie order. What a performer!

Binh: The afterlife just got a whole lot funnier with Robin Williams and her there. RIP. With that, we'll conclude this week's Download. Thanks for joining us.

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The third Ghostbusters won't be a sequel, but a complete reboot led by a female cast. We discuss that and more on this week's Download.

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