American comedy lost one of its most influential voices this week, with the great Harold Ramis dying at age 69. In the wake of that massive loss, Sony has decided to revamp the script for the long-awaited Ghostbusters III, which originally featured a cameo appearance from Ramis. Ramis, who played Dr. Egon Spengler in the original 1984 comedy and its 1989 sequel, co-wrote both films with Dan Aykroyd.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the third Ghostbusters film was supposed to feature a "baton-passing" scene between original three castmembers (Ramis, Aykroyd and Bill Murray) and a trio of newbies. One unnamed insider speculates the project will face "some repercussions" following Ramis' death, but the film (written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, veterans of The Office) is expected to continue with some subtle story tweaks. Director Ivan Reitman, who helmed the first two Ghostbuster films, is expected to meet with Sony producers to plan their next steps.
Following Ramis' death from complications due to autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, friends and collaborators have been speaking out with heartfelt tributes. “Harold Ramis and I together did the 'National Lampoon Show' off Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day," Murray said on Monday in a statement to Time. "He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him.”
Even President Barack Obama offered an introspective reflection on Ramis' career and creative themes: "When we watched his movies – from Animal House and Caddyshack to Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day – we didn’t just laugh until it hurt," he said. "We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings."