Bill Murray confirms earlier reports Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II co-star Rick Moranis will not participate in the cast reunion taking place in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, writer-director Jason Reitman's direct sequel to father Ivan Reitman's original movies, saying both Moranis and late Egon Spengler star Harold Ramis will be "greatly missed" in the long-awaited Ghostbusters 3. The new movie, marking a return to the original continuity ignored by Paul Feig's 2016 reboot, reassembles the surviving founding Ghostbusters — Murray's Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd's Ray Stantz, and Ernie Hudson's Winston Zeddemore — alongside returning co-stars Annie Potts, back as Janine Melnitz, and Sigourney Weaver, reprising her role as the twice-haunted Dana Barrett. Ramis, who died in 2014, will be involved with Afterlife in spirit as the story centers on Egon's relatives.
"We're missing two great people. We're missing Rick Moranis and we're missing Harold Ramis," Murray said on Ellen over video chat. "And they're greatly missed for so many reasons. They were so much a part of the creation of it and the fun of it. But Harold is featured in the story of the movie, so it's going to be very interesting."
Taking place more than three decades after the events of 1989's Ghostbusters II, the new movie follows a single mother (Carrie Coon) and her two children, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), who uncover Egon's past when they relocate to the small town of Summerville, Oklahoma. The town, experiencing strange seismic activity investigated by summer school teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd), has ties to Gozer — villain of the 1984 film — as hinted by the film's first trailer.
It's unknown exactly how the original Ghostbusters cast reunite in Afterlife, which Murray earlier revealed is driven by Egon's death and the real-life loss of Ramis.
"Well, we are a man down. That's the deal," Murray previously told Vanity Fair. "And that's the story that we're telling, that's the story they've written." The script, penned by Reitman and Monster House director Gil Kenan, has "lots of emotion in it" and "lots of family," Murray added.
Aykroyd, who co-wrote the first two movies with Ramis, earlier confirmed the threequel will touch on the loss of loved ones.
Describing the younger Reitman's movie as "scary … thought-provoking… very heartfelt," Aykroyd said on The Greg Hill Show, "You'll feel it, if you have loved ones that you miss and that you've lost, and you want to get back with. It'll be very evocative that way."
Sony Pictures releases Ghostbusters: Afterlife March 5, 2021.