After the highly successful relaunch of the 1980s franchise with 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Sony Pictures has moved forward on the pre-production of the sequel to that film, with the news that Afterlife‘s co-writer and executive producer, Gil Kenan, is set to take over the directing duties for the film. Deadline reports that, according to sources, Jason Reitman – whose father Ivan directed the first two films in the franchise – is stepping into the co-writer and producer role, alongside Jason Blumenfeld, swapping places with Kenan in the process.
Kenan previous directed such films as Monster House, City of Ember and last year’s A Boy Called Christmas. For Monster House, he earned Best Animated Feature Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, and following the success of Afterlife, he signed a producing deal along with Reitman to fast-track the sequel. Getting a sequel moving quickly was a priority for Sony after its November 2021 opening, and the film – which starred Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard – went on to gross over $200 million worldwide after a $44 million opening weekend at the tail end of the pandemic. Kenan said, of taking on the role:
It’s an absolute honor to pick up the proton pack and step behind the camera for the next chapter of the Spengler family saga. I just wish I could go back to 1984 and tell the kid in the sixth row of the Mann Valley West that one day he was going to get to direct a Ghostbusters film.
“A few years ago, my father handed me the keys to Ecto-1, and together we made Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” said Reitman. “Words will never express how grateful I am to have made a film with my father by my side. It’s now time to hand those keys to my creative partner and fellow Ghostbuster Gil Kenan, a brilliant director who will keep the Spengler spirit alive. I can only hope to provide him the same producorial care and support that my father showed me.”
Deadline also notes that “insiders add that the Ghostbusters: Afterlife ensemble is on board to return,” with casting now in progress for additional characters, and that the story is unknown, but is said to involve a return to New York City, as well as building on the end credits sting which saw the famous firehouse headquarters returning to the hands of the team.
Production on the film is set to begin in the early months of 2023, with more casting set to be announced in the coming months.