The early ideas for a movie can sometimes differ drastically from the final product, and if those films become fan favorites, as is the case with 1984's Ghostbusters, the ideas of "What if" lead to some interesting contemplations. One of these cases is the original plans for the titular team themselves, which Dan Aykroyd had originally planned to be himself and fellow SNL alums Eddie Murphy and John Belushi. Another for the classic comedy is such a radical departure from what appeared in the film that it's almost unbelievable.
One of the new episodes of the Netflix series The Movies That Made Us has fresh interviews with the creative team behind the film where one incredibly perplexing detail is revealed about the movie, the original form of the evil Gozer. Visual Effects Art Director John Bruno revealed that he did extensive storyboards for the film and was given one specific directive for "The Destructor" during the pre-production phase.
"At one point they said 'Pee-wee Herman's going to be Gozer,'" the designer revealed.
Bruno's official storyboards for the film were shown on screen after this revelation in the episode, which clearly depicts Pee-wee Herman in place of Serbian actress Slavitza Jovan, complete with lightning bolts firing out of his hands and striking the Ghostbusters. The unmistakable widow's peak of the character can be seen in the art, though he has traded his red bowtie for a straight necktie, suggesting perhaps that actor Paul Reubans was likely to fill the role and not appear specifically AS Pee-wee Herman in the film.
The all-powerful Mesopotamian deity of Gozer could very well play a major role in the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife too. The trailer for the film shows Phoebe and her classmate (Logan Kim) entering property with a sign that belongs to the "Shandor Mining Company," referencing a character mentioned by Spengler in the original Ghostbusters. That character is Ivo Shandor, member of the Cult of Gozer and the architect of 550 Central Park West from the original movie. As revealed in the original film, the building was created to serve as an opening into our world for Gozer to arrive through, followed by destroying the planet.
It's unclear if the character will make an appearance in the new sequel, but with this Shandor shout out and a clear appearance by a "Terror Dog" in the trailer it's certainly a possibility. Despite first arriving in a feminine, human-like form, Gozer would terrorize the Ghostbusters in 1984 with the line "Choose the form of The Destructor!" leading to the arrival of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man in the film. Should Gozer make an appearance, and demand such a choice from the new characters in Afterlife, perhaps the new form could be none other than Paul Reubens as a nod to this choice in the film. As unlikely as it would be, it would fit with the theme of trying to think of "the most harmless thing" as Aykroyd's Ray Stantz attempted before summoning the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is scheduled to open in theaters on July 10, 2020.