We finally have a new trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was delayed multiple times before landing on its current November release date. This sequel to the iconic Ghostbusters films from the 1980s introduces a new generation to the franchise. So it’s fitting that the film is directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking), son of Ivan Reitman, director of the 1980s’ films and one of the producers on Afterlife.
As I’ve written previously, Vanity Fair offered a first look at the latest film in [checks notes] December 2019, featuring several stills—including one showing the tricked-out ambulance from the original Ghostbusters. Per the official synopsis, “A single mother and her two children move to Summerville, Oklahoma, after inheriting property from a previously unknown relative. They discover their family’s legacy to the original Ghostbusters, who have become something of a myth, as many have long since forgotten the events of the ‘Manhattan Crossrip of 1984′”—i.e., the events of the original film.
Carrie Coon (The Leftovers) plays mom Callie, while Mckenna Grace (The Haunting of Hill House) plays her science-loving daughter Phoebe. Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) plays son Trevor. Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) plays summer school teacher Mr. Grooberson. The cast also includes Logan Kim as Podcast, Celeste O’Connor as Lucky, Oliver Cooper as Elton, Bokeem Woodbine as Sheriff Domingo, Marlon Kazadi as Thickneck, Tracy Letts as Jack, and Sydney Mae Diaz as Swayze.
Many members of the original cast have been confirmed to appear in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, including Bill Murray (as Peter Venkman), Sigourney Weaver (as Dana Barrett), Dan Aykroyd (as Ray Stantz), Ernie Hudson (as Winston Zeddemore), and Annie Potts (as Janine Melnitz). Harold Ramis, who played Egon Spengler, died in 2014, and the first trailer (which dropped in December 2019) made pretty clear that Spengler is the kids’ recently deceased grandfather. As I observed at the time, “that might explain the relatively subdued, more contemplative tone of this first trailer: at once mourning the loss of Ramis and celebrating the legacy he helped create, now handed down to a new generation.”
We learn even more from Reitman’s breakdown of the new trailer (embedded at the end of this post). For instance, we get to see Potts as Janine, although it’s unclear whether she is Carrie’s mother by Spengler and, by extension, grandmother to Phoebe and Trevor. “We get the sense that Janine is still connected to Egon Spengler,” Reitman says. “In the ’84 film, she was in love with him and clearly she still has a connection to him and that she was attempting to take care of him in his older age.”
We also get fresh takes on some of the classic ghosts, most notably the decaying cabbie and the little green monster, Slimer—in this case, reimagined as a ghost from the same specter class that Reitman has dubbed “Muncher.” One of my favorite moments is the appearance of a bunch of mischievous Stay-Puft marshmallow men in the local Walmart—they ride a Roomba and make s’mores out of one of their compatriots (who doesn’t really seem to mind). And is that a Terror Dog chasing Mr. Grooberson out of the Walmart?
In the final scene, a red phone rings and a tattooed arm reaches out to answer. Reitman confirms that the arm belongs to Ray Stantz, who is still running Ray’s Occult Books (as we learned from Ghostbusters II). As for the tattoo, it’s a callback to a conversation in the original film between Ray and Winston concerning the Book of Revelation.
More than anything, according to Reitman, this will be a film about family—and not just the Spengler family. “I feel like I’m not really carrying the Spengler story, but I’m carrying my own family story,” he says. “It’s been a long wait for me, as it has been for anyone who has anticipated the next Ghostbusters film. And I’m just thrilled to share it with everybody. It’s a movie that was made by a family about a family. My father and I cannot wait for you to see this in theaters.”
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is currently slated to hit theaters on November 11, 2021, in the US and on November 12 in the UK. We strongly recommend only going to see movies in theaters if you are fully vaccinated.
Listing image by YouTube/Sony Pictures