Dan Aykroyd's Abandoned Ghostbusters Sequel Featured A Trip To Hell And Donald Trump (Kinda)

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With almost 30 years passing between the 1989 release of Ghostbusters II and this summer's reboot of the franchise, it's easy to assume that Columbia Pictures was in no rush to bring the series back to theaters. But the truth is, after the sequel grossed more than $200 million, the studio was dead-set on producing more Ghostbusters movies. Unfortunately, a small army of writers, directors, and actors couldn't get the project in front of cameras, leaving it to wallow in development hell for decades.

Development hell is an ironic landing spot for a sequel that was set to take place in a devilish version of Manhattan, appropriately called "Manhellton." In a radio interview given in 2007, Aykroyd said that not only would the Ghostbusters have actually traveled to Hell in a potential sequel, they would have met up with the devil himself, who was to bear a striking resemblance to a certain presidential candidate:



"I wrote a script called Hell Bent—Ghostbusters go to Hell, basically. The premise is that it’s Manhellton. There’s Manhattan and ManHELLton. And ... you can build an inter-dimensional phase system so that you can go from one dimension to another. We’ve succeeded doing that, and we go to the Hell side. Central Park is this huge, deep mine, green demons there, surrounded by black onyx thousand-foot-high apartment buildings with classic red devils. Very wealthy. And we go visit a Donald Trump-like character—Mr. Siffler. Lou Siffler, Lucifer. So I will say we meet the devil in it."

The Ghostbusters transported to Hell to do battle with a Donald Trump stand-in who also happens to be Satan himself? Aykroyd could have no idea how prescient this script would be in 2016 as he was developing it throughout the 1990s and 2000s, but before he could make the Ghostbusters great again, reality set in.

Before the word "reboot" was even on Hollywood's radar, the idea behind a Ghostbusters sequel hinged on the original cast returning to reclaim their roles. Well, another go-around with a proton pack just didn't interest star Bill Murray, who routinely turned down offers for another stab at the franchise.

“Look, he was not interested in doing the second one,” Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “He doesn’t really like the idea of sequels, and we were burdened with that at the start. We got close a few times. Bill kept flirting.”

“I never begrudged him not being in the third movie, though I wrote a nice part for him in Hellbent, where the Ghostbusters go to hell,” Aykroyd said in the same interview. “He’s got very high standards and a high bulls*** detector.”

That "bulls*** detector" might have gone off once Murray actually sat down to read Aykroyd's treatment for the script: "I read one that Danny wrote that was crazy bizarre and too crazy to comprehend,” Murray said in an interview with Variety. “It was kind of funny, but not well executed." Murray's non-involvement was a huge obstacle for the cast, crew, and studio to overcome, and it's one of the major culprits behind the 27-year gap and eventual reboot.

Aykroyd and others kept plugging away, though, and throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Hellbent took on many forms. At one point it was even going to feature a new generation of 'Busters that would lend a helping hand to the aging crew—possibly setting up a new slate of sequels with a younger cast. In a review of the script, IGN gave a rundown of the diverse new breed of paranormal investigators:

"This new crew includes: Franky, a body-pierced, tough New Jersey punker; Lovell, a dread-locked dude; Moira, a pretty but uptight gymnast and science grad; and Carla, a Latino beauty. There's also Nat, a prepubescent genius whose powerful brain has made his head abnormally large."

There was even an idea that Hellbent would actually be the basis for a fourth or fifth Ghostbusters movie, with even more sequels coming before it.

Unfortunately, after years of stalling and false starts, it was the 2014 death of Harold Ramis that really snuffed out the last glimmer of hope that the original cast could come together for one last adventure (or maybe even two or three more). However, there is one place where a few morsels of Hellbent actually lived on: the video games.

In 2009, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was released, and somehow Terminal Reality and Atari—the developer and publisher behind the game, respectively—did what no billion-dollar movie studio could: they managed to get Aykroyd, Ramis, Murray, and Ernie Hudson together to provide the voices for all of their original characters. With a story credited to Aykroyd and Ramis, the game featured the evil Ivo Shandor opening up alternate dimensions to cause havoc in Manhattan—a plot point that was set to be explored in Hellbent.

In the end, Ghostbusters: Hellbent was just one of many attempts to revive the franchise after the financial success of Ghostbusters II. Over the years, a handful of Ghostbusters comic books, cartoons, and novels have acted as pseudo sequels for the franchise, but none of them have quenched the thirst of fans. There were even scripts other than Hellbent that almost got produced—including one with baby Oscar leading a new generation of Ghostbusters along with the ghost of Peter Venkman—but the stars never aligned properly to get the projects off the ground.

After all of the behind-the-scenes turmoil that engulfed the original cast and crew, maybe it's best to start over and let a new generation do what so many others have tried: make the Ghostbusters relevant again. At least that's what Sony is hoping for as the new Ghostbusters hits theaters this weekend.

10 Reusable Gifts for Your Eco-Friendliest Friend

Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
DecorChic/Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

By this point, your eco-friendly pal probably has a reusable water bottle that accompanies them everywhere and some sturdy grocery totes that keep their plastic-bag count below par. Here are 10 other sustainable gift ideas that’ll help them in their conservation efforts.

1. Reusable Produce Bags; $13

No more staticky plastic bags.Naturally Sensible/Amazon

The complimentary plastic produce bags in grocery stores aren’t great, but neither is having all your spherical fruits and vegetables roll pell-mell down the checkout conveyor belt. Enter the perfect alternative: mesh bags that are nylon, lightweight, and even machine-washable.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Animal Tea Infusers; $16

Nothing like afternoon tea with your tiny animal friends.DecorChic/Amazon

Saying goodbye to disposable tea bags calls for a quality tea diffuser, and there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t be shaped like an adorable animal. This “ParTEA Pack” includes a hippo, platypus, otter, cat, and owl, which can all hang over the edge of a glass or mug. (In other words, you won’t have to fish them out with your fingers or dirty a spoon when your loose leaf is done steeping.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Rocketbook Smart Notebook; $25

Typing your notes on a tablet or laptop might save trees, but it doesn’t quite capture the feeling of writing on paper with a regular pen. The Rocketbook, on the other hand, does. After you’re finished filling a page with sketches, musings, or whatever else, you scan it into the Rocketbook app with your smartphone, wipe it clean with the microfiber cloth, and start again. This one also comes with a compatible pen, but any PILOT FriXion pens will do.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Food Huggers; $13

"I'm a hugger!"Food Huggers/Amazon

It’s hard to compete with the convenience of plastic wrap or tin foil when it comes to covering the exposed end of a piece of produce or an open tin can—and keeping those leftovers in food storage containers can take up valuable space in the fridge. This set of five silicone Food Huggers stretch to fit over a wide range of circular goods, from a lidless jar to half a lemon.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Swiffer Mop Pads; $15

For floors that'll shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.Turbo Microfiber/Amazon

Swiffers may be much less unwieldy than regular mops, but the disposable pads present a problem to anyone who likes to keep their trash output to a minimum. These machine-washable pads fasten to the bottom of any Swiffer WetJet, and the thick microfiber will trap dirt and dust instead of pushing it into corners. Each pad lasts for at least 100 uses, so you’d be saving your eco-friendly friend quite a bit of money, too.

Buy it: Amazon

6. SodaStream for Sparkling Water; $69

A fondness for fizzy over flat water doesn’t have to mean buying it bottled. Not only does the SodaStream let you make seltzer at home, but it’s also small enough that it won’t take up too much precious counter space. SodaStream also sells flavor drops to give your home-brewed beverage even more flair—this pack from Amazon ($25) includes mango, orange, raspberry, lemon, and lime.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Washable Lint Roller; $13

Roller dirty.iLifeTech/Amazon

There’s a good chance that anyone with a pet (or just an intense dislike for lint) has lint-rolled their way through countless sticky sheets. iLifeTech’s reusable roller boasts “the power of glue,” which doesn’t wear off even after you’ve washed it. Each one also comes with a 3-inch travel-sized version, so you can stay fuzz-free on the go.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Countertop Compost Bin; $23

Like a tiny Tin Man for your table.Epica/Amazon

Even if you keep a compost pile in your own backyard, it doesn’t make sense to dash outside every time you need to dump a food scrap. A countertop compost bin can come in handy, especially if it kills odors and blends in with your decor. This 1.3-gallon pail does both. It’s made of stainless steel—which matches just about everything—and contains an activated-charcoal filter that prevents rancid peels and juices from stinking up your kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Fabric-Softening Dryer Balls; $17

Also great for learning how to juggle without breaking anything.Smart Sheep

Nobody likes starchy, scratchy clothes, but some people might like blowing through bottles of fabric softener and boxes of dryer sheets even less. Smart Sheep is here to offer a solution: wool dryer balls. Not only do they last for more than 1000 loads, they also dry your laundry faster. And since they don’t contain any chemicals, fragrances, or synthetic materials, they’re a doubly great option for people with allergies and/or sensitive skin.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Rechargeable Batteries; $40

Say goodbye to loose batteries in your junk drawer.eneloop/Amazon

While plenty of devices are rechargeable themselves, others still require batteries to buzz, whir, and change the TV channel—so it’s good to have some rechargeable batteries on hand. In addition to AA batteries, AAA batteries, and a charger, this case from Panasonic comes with tiny canisters that function as C and D batteries when you slip the smaller batteries into them.

Buy it: Amazon

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15 Extremely Valuable Funko Pop! Figures That Might Be Hiding In Your Collection

In the 1990s, collectors salivated over Beanie Babies. In the 2000s, it was Pokemon. Today, the collectibles market is dominated by Funko Pops!, the ubiquitous vinyl figures that turn pop culture characters into block-headed, saucer-eyed cute bombs.

While Funko has a deep bench of licenses, many figures are exclusive to retailers, available for a limited time, or are otherwise hard to find. After perusing recent auction sales and Funko online price guides, we’ve excavated a few figures that are being bought and sold for stacks of cash larger than the toys themselves—and could be hiding in your very own collection. Take a look at 15 of the most sought after and valuable Funko Pop! figures that could net you a small fortune on the secondary market.

1. Ghost Rider Metallic Freddy Funko // $4210

The spirit of vengeance was unleashed as an ultra-exclusive variant edition that's a mash-up of the Marvel hero with Funko mascot Freddy Funko. Released in 2013, it was limited to just 12 figures. As a result, it’s a high-ticket item. The Pop Price Guide, which tracks Funko Pop! values and sales, estimates it at $4210.

2. She-Ra // $690

Funko

The warrior princess of the 1980s Masters of the Universe spin-off cartoon made a splash in 2013. The figure wasn’t a limited edition, but so many fans snapped her up that she’s hard to find.

3. Mike Wazowski Glow-in-the-Dark // $1960

The jolly green creature from 2001’s Monsters, Inc. was available in a limited glow-in-the-dark edition beginning in 2011, but collectors had to go on a scavenger hunt—only 480 were produced.

4. Reggae Rasta // $1200

Walmart

This Bob Marley-inspired figure has been sought after by collectors for sporting a limited-edition green outfit instead of the multi-colored one in the image seen above. That regular version sells for around $400.

5. Holographic Darth Maul // $5070

The horned villain from The Phantom Menace, 1999’s Star Wars prequel, got the glow-in-the-dark treatment from Funko in 2012. San Diego Comic-Con attendees had first crack at the variant, which was limited to 480 figures.

6. Master Chief // $650

Funko

The hero of the Halo 4 video game was a Blockbuster Video exclusive and commands $650 on the open market.

7. Ken Griffey Jr. Bronze // $3150

One of Major League Baseball’s most celebrated players got the Pop! treatment in 2018, with just 24 gold-finish variants made for fans at Seattle's Safeco Field (which was renamed T-Mobile Park in late 2018). The current market value is $3150.

8. Headless Ned Stark // $980

Funko

One of the most tragic and unexpected deaths on Game of Thrones was immortalized in this 2013 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive, which features the head of the Stark family and his detachable melon. The Pop Price Guide has valued Stark at $980.

9. Black Ranger Freddy Funko // $1850

This hybrid of Funko mascot Freddy Funko and the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was limited to fans attending the Funko Fundays event at 2017's San Diego Comic-Con. Only 24 were produced, which is why they’re extremely difficult to find, even on auction sites.

10. The Notorious B.I.G. Metallic // $1930

Funko

The late rap headliner got the deluxe treatment in 2011, with a metallic coat and hat version that was limited to 240 pieces. (The regular version is pictured.) Its listed value is $1930.

11. Batman Blue Metallic // $1400

The Dark Knight is looking a little more ostentatious in this 2010 San Diego Comic-Con offering, with a shiny blue cowl and accessories.

12. 1970s Elvis Presley Glow-in-the-Dark // $2170

Funko

A 1970s-era Elvis (above) comes in a special glow-in-the-dark version that has an estimated value of $2170. Another limited chase figure that depicts him at the height of his powers in the 1950s will run you as much as $1700.

13. Clown Dumbo // $5900

The ear-shaming of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo continues to strike a chord with people. The 2013 edition of Dumbo in clown make-up was limited to 48 pieces for San Diego Comic-Con attendees.

14. Planet Arlia Vegeta // $3500

Funko

The flame-haired Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z was exclusive to fans at the 2014 New York Comic Con and the Toy Tokyo store in New York City.

15. Bob’s Big Boy // $850

This iconic advertising character was a San Diego Comic Con exclusive in 2016. Only 1000 were made.

This story was updated in 2020.