Last week, it was announced that Sony Pictures would once again be getting back into the Ghostbusters game. A new film was revealed, to be directed by Jason Reitman, the Oscar-nominated director of Juno and Tully, who also happens to be the son of the original director Ivan. This project will also be a sequel to the first two films directed in the 1980s, rather than an independent story set within a new timeline or universe. This means that the 2016 reboot of the same name, directed by Paul Feig, will not be part of the Ghostbusters canon. Explaining his decision to Entertainment Weekly, Reitman said, “I have so much respect for what Paul created with those brilliant actresses, and would love to see more stories from them. However, this new movie will follow the trajectory of the original film.” Otherwise, very little is known about the project, including whether the surviving cast members of the original movie will appear. But that news that the much maligned and unfairly controversial reboot will essentially be side-lined as part of this franchise’s history remained disappointing, if not especially surprising. Even Leslie Jones had a few things to say about the news.
When this news broke, it didn’t take long for the ever-spinning wheel of the pop culture hot takes market (of which I am admittedly part of) to start trying to analyze what this reboot news meant in terms of the franchise’s cultural context. Was this a sign that Sony was admitting the 2016 movie was an unmitigated disaster, as so many had been determined to paint it as? Since that all-female version didn’t become a commercial success, would the new film stick to all guys for its cast? And ultimately, after all those months of anger and abuse and concerted harassment of stars and critics alike for daring to be positive about something as benign as a gender-swapped remake, does Sony making a U-turn prove those bullies right?