Rick Moranis Reportedly Not Returning for Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Original Ghostbusters star Rick Moranis will not reprise his role as awkward accountant Louis Tully in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the threequel following 1984's Ghostbusters and 1989's Ghostbusters II. The new film from writer-director Jason Reitman focuses on a new cast — mom Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two children, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), who are joined by seismologist and schoolteacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd) — following the death of Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis). Aside from Moranis, surviving Ghostbusters cast mates Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts and Bill Murray will reprise their original roles in what is essentially Ghostbusters III.

According to Vanity Fair, who visited the film's set in September, Moranis will not return for the decades-later sequel. Moranis has largely withdrawn from acting, last reprising his famed Bob McKenzie role in Bob & Doug McKenzie's Two-Four Anniversary in 2007. As of 2020, Moranis' last credited role came in ABC sitcom The Goldbergs, where he briefly reprised his Spaceballs role as Dark Helmet in a voice-only cameo.

In 2015, Moranis revealed he turned down a cameo appearance in the Paul Feig-directed Ghostbusters reboot. Set outside the mainline Ghostbusters continuity revisited in Afterlife, the 2016 reboot featured the surviving Ghostbusters stars in different roles, including a zany cab driver played by Aykroyd and a supernatural debunker played by Murray.

"I hope it's terrific. But it just makes no sense to me," Moranis previously told The Hollywood Reporter of the reboot. "Why would I do just one day of shooting on something I did 30 years ago?"

After stepping away from acting in 1997 following the death of wife Ann Belsky, Moranis' break "turned into a longer break."

"But I'm interested in anything that I would find interesting. I still get the occasional query about a film or television role and as soon as one comes along that piques my interest, I'll probably do it," Moranis said. "[But Ghostbusters 2016] didn't appeal to me."

During the years Ghostbusters III languished in development hell, long before the younger Reitman boarded the project, Moranis said in a 2013 interview with Empire Magazine he had no interest in doing "anything [he's] already done," adding the 1989 sequel was a "disappointment."

It's not yet known how the original Ghostbusters cast returns in Afterlife, the franchise's first film set outside New York City. The new movie takes place in Summerville, Oklahoma, where Egon likely relocated to investigate supernatural happenings tied to original movie villain Gozer. Grooberson investigates strange earthquakes in Summerville just as Egon's daughter and her family relocate to the sleepy town after inheriting his house.

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"The script is good. It’s got lots of emotion in it. It’s got lots of family in it, with through lines that are really interesting," Murray told Vanity Fair. "It’s gonna work."

Ghostbusters: Afterlife opens July 10.

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