Ghostbusters is one of those classic films that everyone loves. The catchy theme song, iconic white hearse, and clunky proton packs are easily recognized by all and beloved by many. In the era of sequels and remakes, it’s no surprise that this cherished franchise is being adapted to entertain a new generation of viewers. But the drama surrounding the 2016 and 2020 Ghostbusters remakes may come down to more than just creative differences.
On Jan. 16, a teaser trailer was released, officially confirming a brand–new installment of the Ghostbusters franchise. The new movie is going to be a continuation of the original '80s films and will be directed by Jason Reitman. His father, Ivan Reitman directed the original movie in 1984 and its sequel in 1989. Reitman has chosen to ignore the 2016 all–female Ghostbuster version, which starred Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and comedian and Saturday Night Live cast member Leslie Jones.
Jones wasted no time and took to Twitter to express her frustration over the choice to treat the 2016 movie as something to be brushed aside.
"So insulting. Like f*ck us. We dint count. It’s like something trump would do. (Trump voice) 'Gonna redo ghostbusteeeeers, better with men, will be huge. Those women ain’t ghostbusteeeeers' ugh so annoying. Such a dick move. And I don’t give f*ck I’m saying something!!"
It didn’t take long for the sci–fi bros that make up most of the Ghostbusters fanbase to begin hating on Jones and her opinion. Claiming that the 2016 film was a flop and disgrace to the Ghostbusters franchise, many fans feel that Jones, and women in general, should be satisfied with the movie they were given and sit down to watch how a "real" Ghostbusters movie is made.
Unfortunately, Jones and her female Ghostbusters co–stars are no strangers to this type of response. The reactions to Jones’ tweet are very similar in misogynistic tone to the comments that their movie was subject to three years ago. The amount of gendered and racist hate Jones received especially, for being a black woman, was unprecedented and disappointing.
These types of reactions aren’t new and are very common when it comes to women in traditionally male–dominated media. Whether it be in video games, comic books, action films, or sci–fi films, it’s undeniable that woman are rarely granted nuanced, complex portrayals. On the few occasions they are included, they’re often hyper–sexualized, one–dimensional, or dependent on a male lead. Ghosbusters (2016), although divergent from the classic original, offered a necessary, updated re–telling.
Although the fierce backlash against both the 2016 movie and Jones’ opinion is unwarranted and revealing, is she right in saying that the exclusion of her movie is sexist and Trump–like? Fans of the franchise, many of them female, are looking forward to the 2020 sequel and have no problem with returning to the good old days. But are the good old days, some characterized by intense sexism and hatred, really something to be returned to?
Let’s be clear—Ghostbusters (2016) was a great and successful movie. It was funny with its SNL–like humor and had strong, diverse, and lovable female leads—each with their own unique personality and sense of humor. The story was entertaining with an unconventional villain and even included cameos from some of the original cast. Although a fantastic modern adaptation, it largely separated itself from its predecessor by creating a totally different universe and plot line with unknown characters. While the new and unknown isn’t bad at all, it’s still different. Fans have been vying for a continuation of the original plot line for decades and the 2020 cast is rumored to consist of four teenage leads—two males and two females. With these things in mind, Reitman’s decision to omit a whole new world of characters and story lines seems like its based in practicality, not sexism.
That’s not to say that Ghostbusters (2016) doesn’t deserve a sequel of its own or that Jones and her co–stars deserve to be verbally attacked and shamed for their creation or opinions. Jones and everyone involved in the 2016 movie did an amazing thing. They adapted a classic to include some desperately needed girl power to the sci–fi genre while maintaining the same level of intelligence, comedy, and success the originals have. Now a new generation of Ghostbusters is taking center stage and that’s okay. One can only hope they do all three Ghostbusters movies the justice they deserve.