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"Ghostbusters 3" has been in the works for years, but Bill Murray's involvement with the project has been a flashpoint of speculation, with rumors ranging from one in which Murray would appear only as a ghost to one with the notoriously cagey star ripping a draft of the script to shreds. Now, Murray's co-star and the film's shepherd Dan Aykroyd has some serious news regarding the future of the long-awaited project.

Aykroyd tells the U.K.'s Metro that although he's "confident we'll be in production in the next year," Bill Murray "won't be involved."

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"It's sad, but we're passing it on to a new generation," says Aykroyd. "'Ghostbusters 3' can be a successful movie without Bill. My preference would be to have him involved, but at this point he doesn't seem to be coming and we have to move on. It's time to make the third one."

Regarding the "it's on, it's off, it's on" nature of the project, Aykroyd says, "Now we've got the studio on side. We've tried a few concepts which weren't right, but now we've got a good structure and will make it happen. We've got a brilliant new writer on it and we'll be passing the torch on to a new generation. We're working on it to make it just right to satisfy our fans."

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Perhaps Murray will have a change of heart once the final script is delivered, which of course would prompt yet another rewrite. No word on whether or not we'll see the likes of "Ghostbusters" stars Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, or supporting players Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis and Annie Potts, but it's a good bet Slimer will make a cameo.

The last time we saw New York's finest supernatural pest controllers was in 1989's "Ghostbusters II," and of course the first "Ghostbusters" conquered the world in 1984.

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