Which 'Ghostbusters 3' Star Will Carry Which Original 'Ghostbusters' Torch?

We shouldn’t expect Paul Feig’s Ghosbusters reboot to be a carbon copy of Ivan Reitman’s 1984 classic. The Bridesmaids writer/director approaches the project with a voice of his own, setting up the story for a generation with different comic demands than that of the original Ghostbusters’ audience. Furthermore, our introductory glimpse at the characters to be occupied by stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones shows a new regimen for the story’s main four. One will play a dutiful academic of the paranormal, another her sell-out former colleague who has committed to a life of bona fide ghost chasing, the latter’s as-of-yet-without-description partner is No. 3, and, finally, a New York City MTA employee who finds herself tangled up in some otherworldly hullabaloo.

Despite the tenacity of Feig’s comic tongue and the specifics mandated by these character points, it’s also not too out of line to predict a little bit of the old Ghostbusters formula finding its way into the new movie. While there might not necessarily be a Bill Murray incarnate among the bunch, it’d be logical to assume that at least some of Peter Venkman’s dry sass makes its way into Feig’s script. Likewise, we shouldn’t be surprised to see glimmers of Egon Spengler’s robotic frustration, Ray Stantz’s perpetual agita, and Winston Zeddmore’s bombastic enthusiasm, and the web of relationships between these sorry excuses for grown men that made the original such a delight.

The question is, then, which of Feig’s Ghosbusters stars is best suited to carry which torch?

Leslie Jones

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Saturday Night Live 's newest cast member is the biggest question mark among the forthcoming reboot's stars, despite having been a regular background player in comedy film since the late 1980s. But Chris Rock's stamp of approval, and a blossoming SNL presence, are helping Jones bolster her reputation, cementing her as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to commanding a room.

In any one of Jones' "Weekend Update" routines with Colin Jost, you can see her laying waste to her smiling counterpart's agency, grabbing tight hold of the scene without mercy — not unlike Murray does as Venkman when teeing off with the nefarious ConEd rep.

While her emission of absolute confidence makes her a solid Venkman, Jones' up-to-11 energy suggests an aptitude in filling another Ghostbuster vacancy (or two):

With such a delightful capacity for comic terror, Jones could just as well fall into Dan Aykroyd's old shoes as the shivering Ray Stantz. Clearly, Ghostbusters will give Jones plenty of room to play around with her established talents, not to mention to invent herself anew for her first high-profile big screen role. So what about her fellow stars?

Melissa McCarthy


We've got a pretty good read on what McCarthy can do, and on what sort of work Feig prefers to give her. Although her The Heat character could dole out wiseassery like Murray at his best and Sookie St. James was a wide-eyed dweeb of Rick Moranis-ian proportions, her cinematic image is founded on going bonkers. You can bet that McCarthy's Ghostbusters role has her playing up all that past wiliness to and beyond levels of Ernie Hudson's Winston Zeddmore.

In fact, what Feig's Ghostbusters has at its advantage over that of Reitman is a star whose established appeal lies in the realm of mania. Murray was a favorite for his maintenance of "cool" in even the most trying of scenarios; meanwhile, what Ghostbusters lacked (perhaps to a fault) was its John Belushi — the unhinged alpha male to take the bawdy, boyish comedy all the way. That's what McCarthy has proved herself to be through her mainstream film career thus far, and that's what we should expect in this next turn.

Kate McKinnon

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

SNL 's McKinnon is certainly best known for her wide variety of impressions, though this isn't the skill that is likely to take priority in developing her Ghostbusters character. In fact, there are two big ways that the movie can go with McKinnon. On the one hand, she's terrific at playing oddballs, playing slightly out-of-touch weirdoes managing to thrive in a world that has no place for them.

On the other hand, she's fantastic at palpable discomfort, playing against the same sort of alienation but with a wrenching frustration that doubles the output of laughter.

Either way, we've got ourselves a Spengler.

Kristen Wiig

The most versatile of the bunch by a mile, we could really see Wiig developing a Ghostbusters persona in line with any of the four original characters. She's done her share of Venkman-style snarking...

...of Egon-ian "off"-ness...

...and, perhaps best of all, of that special brand of wild insanity that we see in the vast majority of her Saturday Night Live work. Considering her star power and notability, we'd be inclined to stamp her as Feig's lead (the academic, presumably), which would keep her confined most likely to a more reserved style of comedy — some hybrid of Peter, Ray, and Egon. But whatever Wiig is asked to do, we know she'll do it well.

Images: Columbia Pictures; Getty (4)