'Ghostbusters 3': Bill Murray Out, Dan Aykroyd Says Film's Future Uncertain

Columbia/Courtesy of Everett Collection

With one co-star refusing to participate, long-awaited sequel in question.

Ghostbusters 3 will remain just an elusive specter, for now.

After a number of false starts, re-assurances and rumors, Ghostbusters creator, co-writer and co-star Dan Aykroyd has told London's Telegraph newspaper that a long-awaited third film in the famed sci-fi comedy franchise is on the backburner.

"At this point it's in suspended animation. The studio, the director Ivan Reitman and Harold Ramis feel there must be a way to do it, but Bill Murray will not do the movie. He doesn't want to be involved," Aykroyd explained. "He's got six kids, houses all over America. He golfs in these tournaments where they pay him to turn up and have a laugh. He's into this life and living it. I know we'd have a lot of fun [but] I can't be mad at him. He's a friend first, a colleague second. We have a deep personal relationship that transcends business and he doesn’t want to know."

PHOTOS: Top 10 Grossing Films

Earlier in the month, Akroyd hinted in an interview with Empire Magazine that Murray, who played Dr. Peter Venkman in the first two films, was not eager to be involved, but had not shred the script, as had been rumored on the web.

"Bill Murray is not capable of such behavior. This is simply something that would not be in his nature." he said. "Bill has too much positive estimation of my writing skills to shred the work."

In late 2010, Aykroyd said that the script offered Murray "a comic role of a lifetime."

Speaking of the script, Aykroyd told the Telegraph that anything they film would have to be respectful of the franchise's past.

"We're not going to do a movie that exploits the franchise," he said. "The script has to be perfect. I'm the cheerleader, but I’m only one voice in the matter."

In August, Aykroyd told The Hollywood Reporter that the film was written, and it could work without Murray.

STORY: Ivan Reitman Talks ‘Ghostbusters III,’ ‘Baywatch’ Movie and ‘Private Parts’ Sequel

"What we have to remember is that Ghostbusters is bigger than any one component, although Billy was absolutely the lead and contributive to it in a massive way, as was the director and Harold [Ramis], myself and Sigourney [Weaver]," he said. "The concept is much larger than any individual role and the promise of Ghostbusters 3 is that we get to hand the equipment and the franchise down to new blood."

The new franchise members, he said, would require the casting of three young men and one woman.