Unlike Ghostbusters (2016), Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a direct sequel to the 1989 film, Ghostbusters II and will feature a return to the original universe which they occupied. The entire original cast is set to return, save for Harold Ramis, who played Egon Spengler. Ramis had passed away at the age of 69 in 2014.
After being evicted from their home, two children and their single mother move to Summerville, Oklahoma after inheriting property from their late grandfather. When the town experiences a series of unexplained earthquakes, the children discover their family’s link 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”, and the secret legacy that their grandfather left behind
While technically the third Ghostbusters film to follow the original canon, Afterlife is sort of a Ghostbusters 4, in that the 2009 videogame tie-in, ‘Ghostbusters: The Video Game‘, followed the events of Ghostbusters II, with a story that takes place in 1991 and features a variety of plot elements from Aykroyd and Ramis’ unused Ghostbusters III script they had been working on at the time.
Due to Bill Murray being uncertain as to whether he would return for a third film, the game was made instead. However, Murray, along with the rest of the original cast, returned to voice their respective roles which motivated Sony to work towards delivering a third Ghostbusters film featuring the original cast.
What happened instead was a major flop with Ghostbusters 2016, which had a lot of controversy around it. This was mostly related to writer/director Paul Feig’s involvement where fans felt that the all-female cast was being used as a gimmick and that the film itself being a one-off, rather than being a direct sequel to the other films, which was a poor story choice.
I remember this very vividly, as the media was working hard towards painting a picture that fans of the original films were hating on it due to an all-female cast as if to suggest that every person who despised the film was a sexist bigot of some kind. However, I would debate that the cast was excellent and that the negativity surrounding it was more the resentment of abandoning the originals than anything else. Personally, I feel very strongly that if this movie was a sequel that took place in the same universe, it would have done much better among fans and critics alike.
Additionally, Ivan Reitman shared a similar sentiment in an interview where he said “I think there’s way too much talk about gender [when it comes to this film]”, and “I think that many of the people who were complaining were actually lovers of the [original] movie, not haters of women.”
What Reitman was trying to say was that fans wanted to see the original cast and a continuation, and not a remake that had nothing to do with them. If anything, had the movie been written by someone like Tina Fey or Kristen Wiig and maybe saw one of the leading ladies as a granddaughter of one of the original Ghostbusters, fans would not have had nearly as many negative things to say about it.
From director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman, comes the next chapter in the original Ghostbusters universe. In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, when a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind. The film is written by Jason Reitman & Gil Kenan.
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Written by: Gil Kenan & Jason Reitman
Release Date: July 10, 2020