While the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel (2023) previously announced returning cast members from Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) — Celeste O’Conner (Lucky), Carrie Coon (Callie), McKenna Grace (Phoebe), Finn Wolfhard (Trevor), Logan Kim (Podcast), and Paul Rudd (Gary Grooberson) — there has been some back and forth on whether or not Ernie Hudson will be reprising his role as legendary Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore.
Last year, Hudson said that he’d received the first draft of the script for the Ghostbusters sequel and that he was “really happy” with it, only to later suggest that he wasn’t sure if he had a role in the film or not. He then seemed to confirm his involvement, but now, it appears that the beloved actor has once again been left in limbo where the new film is concerned.
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This comes just a week after he spoke candidly in an interview on The Howard Stern Wrap Up Show about his troubled relationship with the Ghostbusters franchise in the past. It’s common knowledge that Hudson was brought on board for the original 1984 film at the last minute following major script rewrites, which originally had its sights set on Eddie Murphy.
This last-minute casting resulted in a criminal lack of screentime for Hudson, and ultimately, he was also absent from a lot of the film’s promotional material. These problems can also be felt throughout the 1989 sequel, and it hasn’t been until recent years that Hudson’s worth within the Ghostbusters franchise has finally been recognized.
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Though he enjoys only a small cameo at the end of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, in which he returns alongside fellow OG Ghostbusters Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz) and Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), Hudson’s character gets a post-credits scene that suggests the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel will finally give him the spotlight he deserves.
On The Howard Stern Wrap Up Show, Hudson talked at great length about his history with the franchise, explaining how the studio wasn’t inclusive enough and how he was “pushed aside”, while also talking about how he wasn’t on the movie posters even during a 30th-anniversary-release screening at a Chicago theater in 2014.
Talking specifically about his involvement — or lack thereof — in the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel, he said the following:
“It took a long time for the studio, and even now, we’re negotiating a new movie that’s gearing up to start shooting in March, and I’m like, “Guys, you know, there’s a place that I, I’m not an add-on,” so, if I’m going to do it, it has to make sense.”
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On Thursday, Hudson was a guest on The Jennifer Hudson Show, on which he said that he’s “not sure” if he’s in the upcoming Ghostbusters 4, saying, “They’re doing another one [Ghostbusters sequel], and I’m not sure if I’ll be in it, but for the fans to know, it won’t be because of me.”
What’s particularly concerning about this news is that filming on the new Ghostbusters sequel will begin tomorrow, March 6, in London. Recently, co-writer Jason Reitman and director Gil Kenan even took to Instagram to tease a picture of what looks like a London-based Ghostbusters firehouse.
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Based on his comments on The Howard Stern Wrap Up Show, it sounds like Hudson may have been offered a role in the upcoming film, but that it’s too small, and not what he envisions for his character, which, in turn, wouldn’t reflect his worth in the franchise.
If this is the case, or if Hudson has been left out of the loop altogether, not only is it bizarre because he’s one of the most beloved characters in the franchise, but also because he has featured heavily in other forms of medium within the franchise in recent months.
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He appears as a main character in the asymmetrical multiplayer video game Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed (2022) which was released last October, and is also the narrator in the new trailer for upcoming virtual reality game Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord (2023).
Either way, Winston Zeddemore will be one of many things fans expect from the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel.
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As per the Ghostbusters/Sony Pictures website, here’s the synopsis for Ghostbusters: Afterlife:
From director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman, comes the next chapter in the original Ghostbusters universe. In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, when a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind. The film is written by Jason Reitman & Gil Kenan.
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Ghostbusters: Afterlife stars McKenna Grace (Phoebe), Logan Kim (Podcast), Celeste O’Connor (Lucky), Finn Wolfhard (Trevor), Carrie Coon (Callie), Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz), Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett), Paul Rudd (Gary Grooberson), Olivia Wilde (Gozer the Gozerian), JK Simmons (Ivo Shandor), Bill Murray (Dr. Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Dr. Ray Stantz), and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore).
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Ghostbusters 4 will be released on December 20, 2023.
Will you still be watching Ghostbusters 4 if Ernie Hudson doesn’t return? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!