Bill Murray revealed he was “very, very reluctant” to reprise his role in the sequel

Bill Murray's return to the Ghostbusters franchise came through a series of events he never saw coming.

The Ghostbusters star, 70, got candid about his time working on the franchise at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Saturday where he virtually received the Maltin Modern Master Award.

Murray admitted he was "very, very reluctant" to make the 1989 sequel and "in absolutely no hurry" to reprise his role as Dr. Peter Venkman until the studio pitched an idea that never came to be.

"Someone outfoxed me anyway. I don't know if Ivan [Reitman, director] set it up, but they got us all back together in a room, and really, we hadn't been together in a room since the movie came out and it was just really, really fun to be together," Murray said. "We were really funny together."

"Those are some really wonderful, funny guys and girls," he continued.

Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson / Ghostbusters / 1984 directed by Ivan Reitman [Columbia Pictures]
From left: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson in 1984
| Credit: Columbia Pictures/Alamy

The nostalgia along with the studio's pitch for the sequel convinced Murray to sign onto the film. "I thought, 'Holy cow, we could make that work,'" he recalled. 

However, once production started, Murray discovered the pitch that had captured his interest in reprising his role as Venkman was no longer a part of the sequel's screenplay.

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"It ended up not being the story they wrote," he revealed. "They got us in the sequel under false pretenses."

By the time Murray realized, it was too late. "I showed up on set and went, 'What the hell is this? What is this thing?' But we were already shooting it, so we had to figure out how to make it work." 

Ghostbusters - Reunited Apart
Credit: Josh Gad/YouTube

Although Murray says he still enjoyed filming the sequel with his co-stars, it doesn't compare to the first Ghostbusters which was released in 1984.

"I probably like the first one better than the second one, just because the first cut is the deepest," Murray said.

The actor will reprise his role in director Jason Reitman's Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which Murray said "really brings [the franchise] back to life" and matches the spirit of the original movie.

The film also stars Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Carrie Coon and Paul Rudd.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is set for release on Nov. 11.