The 2016 Reboot Wasn’t the First Female-Led ‘Ghostbusters’

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Jillian Holtzmann, Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates in Ghostbusters: Answer the Call

Credit: Sony Pictures

It’s a surprise that there weren’t rivers of “mood slime” flowing beneath movie theaters when Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016) was released. Following its disastrous trailers, the film caught only $229 million worldwide against its $144 million budget, and was critically panned.

Fast forward six years, and we’ve already had a third film in the main series with Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021), and there’s also a new movie on the way, as recently confirmed by Sony Pictures. But while Paul Feig’s controversial reboot is now a thing of the past, why did it perform so poorly?

Ghostbusters 2016
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Well, what really got the ball rolling on the film’s disastrous journey from trailer to theater was the fact that it simply didn’t look good. Coupled with the fact that the movie was a reboot of a beloved and revered ’80s comedy classic, it’s fair to say that it didn’t get off to a great start.

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call had every opportunity to prove fans wrong, but it didn’t. Many will have you believe that the film never stood a chance because of “misogynistic” fans tearing the film down before it even hit theaters, but these people don’t represent the fanbase in its entirety.

Erin Gilbert Ghostbusters Reboot
Credit: Sony Pictures

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There’s no denying that members of the cast — namely Leslie Jones (Patty Tolan) — suffered a barrage of online abuse, but this behavior has nothing to do the quality of the film, and is not indicative of the Ghostbusters fanbase. It’s really the final product that speaks for itself.

The fact of the matter is that while Ghostbusters: Answer the Call gets a few things right, it just wasn’t meant to be. And it’s likely a mixture of things that are to blame, with horrible creative decisions such as the paper-thin script and ad-libbed dialogue being at the top of that list.

Patty Tolan Ghostbusters Reboot
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Even back in 2016, Ghostbusters fans — decent ones, that is — were long aware as to the existence of female Ghostbusters from the wider Ghostbusters universe. In other words, the female Ghostbusters in the 2016 reboot weren’t the first to don the proton packs.

Ghostbusters fans will be familiar with animated shows such as Extreme Ghostbusters (1997), which follows on from the original show, The Real Ghostbusters (1986). However, the former introduced the first female Ghostbuster in the form of the fan-favorite Kylie Griffin (Tara Strong).

Extreme Ghostbusters
Credit: Columbia TriStar Television Distribution / Bohbot Entertainment

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In the animated show, Kylie Griffin is a pupil of Professor Egon Spengler (Maurice LaMarche), and along with three fellow students, Eduardo Rivera (Rino Romano), Roland Jackson (Alfonso Ribeiro), and Garrett Miller (Jason Marsden), becomes part of the “Extreme Ghostbusters”.

An expert on all things occult, with a scientific interest in the paranormal, and more than capable in the field with proton packs and ghost traps, Kylie Griffin remains among the more interesting Ghostbuster characters. She’s also headstrong, determined, and fiercely intelligent.

Kylie Griffin Extreme Ghostbusters
Credit: Columbia TriStar Television Distribution / Bohbot Entertainment

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She has a pretty interesting backstory too, having been traumatized by monstrous entities at a very young age, which inspired her interest in the paranormal. It’s even possible that this backstory inspired that of Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) in the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot.

While Extreme Ghostbusters was very short-lived, it’s worth checking out, as it definitely pushes the boundaries of child-friendly horror. Since the animated show, Kylie Griffin has gone on to appear in other mediums of storytelling within the Ghostbusters universe.

IDW Ghostbusters Comics
Credit: IDW Publishing

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In IDW Publishing’s long-running “Ghostbusters” comic book series, Kylie Griffin is a recurring character, although she is re-created slightly for the purpose of this particular medium of storytelling. Here, she’s the invaluable assistant to Dr. Ray Stantz at his store, Ray’s Occult Books.

So, needless to say, Kylie Griffin isn’t the only female Ghostbuster out there. For starters, there are of course the ladies from the 2016 reboot — Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig), Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones).

Jillian Holtzmann Ghostbusters Reboot
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Then there are the two younger characters from Ghostbusters: Afterlife — Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace) and Lucky (Celeste O’Conner). However, beyond the movies, there are even more female Ghostbusters you’ve probably never heard of.

In fact, the 2016 reboot wasn’t even the first female line up in the franchise. The “Ghostbusters” comic book series’ “Volume 5”, which is also titled “The New Ghostbusters”, was the first to introduce a female-led Ghostbusters team.

Lucky Ghostbusters Afterlife
Credit: Sony Pictures

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The team in question consists of Kylie Griffin, Janine Melnitz, Melanie Ortiz, and Ron Alexander (the only male member of the team). The latter two characters were created exclusively for IDW Publishing’s “Ghostbusters” comic book series, however, you’ll likely be familiar with the first two.

While she’s Ray’s trusted assistant, just like her Extreme Ghostbusters counterpart, Kylie Griffin is no stranger to going out into the field. As for Janine, who appears in most Ghostbusters material, whether movie, game, comic, or cartoon, this is her first official outing as a Ghostbuster.

Louis and Janine Ghostbusters 2
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Melanie Ortiz is an FBI agent who joins the new Ghostbusters team, which is established by Janine Melnitz when the original Ghostbusters, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore, are trapped in another dimension by supernatural forces.

From a skills perspective, this is a more diverse team of female Ghostbusters than the reboot, which, like the original 1984 film, is comprised mainly of scientists (which is still impressive, of course). But more importantly, it’s the first female-led Ghostbusters team in the franchise.

Abby Yates Ghostbusters Reboot
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Even beyond the release of the 2016 reboot, the “Ghostbusters” comic book series continued with female Ghostbusters, whether it was bringing in the characters from the reboot using the multiverse concept, or further utilizing the talents of Kylie Griffin, Janine Melnitz, and Melanie Ortiz.

Sony Pictures recently confirmed that a fifth Ghostbusters movie is in the works. While this will more than likely follow on from Ghostbusters: Afterlife, here’s to hoping that the filmmakers take note of the Ghostbusters multiverse and bring in characters from the 2016 reboot.

IDW Ghostbusters Comics
Credit: IDW Publishing

And though that film remains widely hated by Ghostbusters fans, never say never — the multiverse is opening across many major movie franchises, from the DC Extended Universe to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both of which take inspiration from their respective comic book counterparts. And it looks like Ghostbusters is certainly no exception.

Have you read any of the IDW Publishing “Ghostbusters” comics? Let us know in the comments below!

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