Ghostbusters Reboot Stays True to Original Iconography

By  · Published on June 30th, 2015

A funny thing about remakes: they’re often made as much for fans of the original as they are for a new generation. One of the very reasons for remaking a well-known movie, after all, is to cash in on the pre-sold title and other grabs at familiarity and nostalgia. But then those preexisting fans get very, very upset when the look of the new version isn’t faithful enough to the first movie. They criticize RoboCop redesigns and Freddy Kruger faces.

Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot is ripe for scrutiny, and it will continue to receive a mix of reactions with every plot point and piece of imagery revealed. This week’s official items on display, though, are clearly being offered up for the diehard Ghostbusters loyalists. One photo tweeted by Feig presents the new Ghostbusters uniforms, and on them are patches of the original Ghostbusters logo icon of the ghost trapped in the no sign. See it here:


— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) June 29, 2015

The second image Feig shared this week is a look at the new proton pack. Like the uniforms as a whole, this prop closely enough resembles those of the original 1984 movie that fans shouldn’t make a fuss. Then again, one of my buddies who is a hardcore Ghostbusters fan immediately focused on a seemingly minor change (“fuck that nuclear symbol,” he told me). See the ghost-busting weapon here:


— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) June 30, 2015

My friend also predicts that these will be merely the initial materials for the new team but will be updated at some point during the movie. They’ll just exist on screen long enough to meet our nostalgic needs, basically as a marketing strategy also to allow images like these to be tweeted out. This wouldn’t be the first time. Ghostbusters 2 had updated iconography, giving the team a new no-ghost patch with the sequel-themed two-finger imagery that didn’t make much sense in the context of the movie. Oh, and a lot of fans hate that sequel, too.

Also released via social media this week is a uniform patch from Star Trek Beyond, the also currently-shooting next installment of a rebooted franchise with a large fan base. The fact that the familiar Starfleet insignia is not really unchanged from the original TV series and film franchise is not a revelation at this point in the reboot’s run, but it’s a reminder that Star Trek went for the same strategy as Ghostbusters in terms of keeping enough the same.

Let the next Starfleet voyage begin! #StarTrekBeyond #LLAP

— Justin Lin (@trailingjohnson) June 29, 2015

Some things never change, and some things never could. You can’t do a reboot of Star Trek, even one without any narrative link to the old, with totally fresh designs of the USS Enterprise and other iconography. We’re still not sure if the new Ghostbusters will have any narrative connection to the original to make its repeated iconography a necessity in that regard, but it doesn’t matter because it’s a necessity for the outer narrative of the fandom.

Ghostbusters will hit theaters on July 22, 2016.

Star Trek Beyond will arrive a few weeks earlier on July 8, 2016.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.