just to add to the #discorse, do you think Butch's comments about ghosts just being monsters is to kill the Danny is (half) dead joke/headcannon?? (aka "it's not gay if he's dead")
And here’s the reason why: it’s not gay if he’s dead is a recent meme. Elmer Earl “Butch” Hartman changed the canon on ghosts in the middle of the series.
This clarification is never stated, but in between Danny Phantom season 2 and season 3, several writers were replaced by Nick (among them Steve Marmel). There’s very little leaked information about why, all we know is that writers like Marmel disagreed with writers like Hartman, and that Marmel lost.
In season 3, we’re introduced to new “types” of ghosts. Characters like Vortex, Undergrowth, Nocturne, and Frostbite. Before this season, super powerful ghosts were just as human as anything else. In fact, it seemed the more powerful a ghost was, the more detailed their human bodies were. The exceptions - Skulker, Wulf, and Dora/Aragon - still fit within this canon. Skulker is a weak ghost who uses armor to give his form strength; his actual form is very un-human and blobby because he is a weak ghost. Wulf is clearly a werewolf, and so therefore still fits within the “they were human” canon, and Dora and Aragon (the dragons) were only dragons because they wore amulets that made them into dragons, but their standard form was human. (The dragons protecting Pariah Dark’s keep did, incidentally, also wear necklaces…amulets for transformed human ghosts?)
The season 3 ghosts, on the other hand, are clearly not human - often in ways that suggest they never have been. Undergrowth is a giant plant monster, Nocturne is clearly just The Void in a mask, Vortex is a storm, etc. Most interesting of all of them is Frostbite: Frostbite is the most concrete evidence that Butch wanted to destroy the entire concept of “ghosts” as “dead.” Why? Frostbite had culture. Here’s this giant yeti, trudging through his ice fields, to his ice CITY? With advanced medicines, society, currency, other giant yetis wandering around freezing things, and he’s proving that these are not dead people. Up until this point, ghosts were nomadic - it’s implied that even Pariah Dark’s army had to be bloodily obtained by killing humans - but here we have a society. An entire, non-nomadic, traditional society, and they’re proving that they’re a society unconnected from the death/life cycle of the human/living world, that they’re just creatures from another dimension. And then Hartman brings this concept home when he gives Danny an ice core, the same core as these ‘yeti’ ghosts - thereby connecting the ghosts = monsters to the ghosts = monsters = danny phantom = all ghosts are just monsters.
These ghosts lack the ‘human’ touch of season two; and here marks the difference between Hartman and Marmel. Hartman (supposedly under pressure from the studio to “tone down the death vibes” after TUE didn’t make enough money) wanted to turn the ghosts into monsters from another world, and Marmel, like any moderately sane writer said something along the lines of “you can’t change the story in the middle of the story, you’ll ruin it,” and then got fired.
So essentially, anon, Elmer Earl (actual real name) Hartman hasn’t wanted the ghosts to be ghosts for a decade.