Dan Aykroyd has confirmed Ghostbusters 2020 will be paying tribute to late franchise star Harold Ramis. Recently, Aykroyd confirmed in a new interview he had completed his work on the movie along with other returning stars Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts. Earlier this year, Ernie Hudson's return as Winston Zeddemore had also been confirmed. As Ramis passed away in 2014, Egon Spengler won't be featured in the upcoming sequel, though Aykroyd makes it clear the movie will definitely be paying tribute to him in some fashion.
"I miss him a lot. He was, of course, a really intelligent, great writer and collaborator... We paid tribute to him in the movie that Paul Feig made with the girls, he was there in a bust, and Billy and I showed up to work on that because we had faith in that vision... So, we paid tribute to Harold there, and of course, we'll recognize him in this film in some way, however small."
The bust Dan Aykroyd mentions is referring to the Harold Ramis Easter egg from the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot. Directed by Paul Feig, the controversial remake stars Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Melissa McCarthy as a reimagined version of the titular spirit-hunters. Aykroyd, Murray, and Hudson all made special cameo appearances in the movie as well as original characters in bit parts. As Ramis had passed away prior to shooting, he was included in the movie by way of showing a bronze bust of Egon Spengler to pay tribute to both the actor and his Ghostbusters character. The ending credits also included the words, "For Harold Ramis."
Written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd and directed by Ivan Reitman, the original Ghostbusters was released in 1984. It tells the story of a group of parapsychologists forming their own ghost-hunting business in New York City, leading to a climactic battle against an oversized version of the Stay Puft marshmallow man. The sequel Ghostbusters II would bring back all of the main cast members in 1989, but further attempts to make a third installment couldn't make any traction for years. However, all four lead Ghostbusters actors also lent their voices and likenesses to their characters for Ghostbusters: The Video Game in 2009, which for many fans serves as the Ghostbusters 3 we never got.
Jason Reitman, son of the director of the first two movies, will be helming Ghostbusters 2020 using a screenplay co-written with Gil Kenan (Monster House). Although it's a direct sequel to the first two Ghostbusters installments, it will mostly follow a new cast of characters led by Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Logan Kim, and Paul Rudd. Full details on its plot aren't clear, but it's been speculated that the story will follow Egon's surviving family members. If this turns out to be accurate, it would be a wonderful way to pay tribute to Ramis, but in any case, we can expect the character to be touched on one way or another.
Ghostbusters 2020 is set to premiere in theaters on July 10, 2020. Because one of the biggest complaints about the 2016 reboot was that it wasn't set in the same universe, we'll see if a direct sequel to the original movies fares better at the box office. You can listen to the full interview with Dan Aykroyd on The Greg Hill Show.