It seems safe to say that anticipation for the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife is about to go through the roof in the next week. Not only is the first full trailer for the Jason Reitman-directed sequel expected to arrive on Monday, Dec. 9, we now have our first slate of photos and plot details, courtesy of Vanity Fair. For the first time, these details give us some hints as to the shape of this story.
To begin with, Ghostbusters: Afterlife does indeed take place in the same timeline established by 1984’s Ghostbusters and its sequel, Ghostbusters 2. The original team of Ghostbusters has long since retired in this setting, and their exploits have been forgotten to some extent, with the original “Manhattan Crossrip” event caused by the invasion of Gozer the Gozerian in 1984 having been reduced to something of an internet urban legend. Afterlife, meanwhile, picks up in the current day, with a family moving to a strange farmhouse in small town Oklahoma. Carrie Coon of The Leftovers plays mother Callie, who moves her two kids Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) into a mysterious new home “after inheriting property from the father she didn’t know,” according to Vanity Fair.
“Most” of the film’s original cast are reportedly returning as their classic characters in some capacity, although Bill Murray has historically always been the most difficult to lock down for Ghostbusters projects. According to director Reitman (Juno, Young Adult), the son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, the story “is a new adventure that connects back to the Manhattan Crossrip of 1984.” He also adds this telling note: “As the family arrives at an old farm, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters. Trevor and Phoebe are about to find out who their grandfather was and whether they’re ready to pick up the proton pack themselves.”
Time for theorizing: The past tense of “was,” coupled with the fact that Callie has inherited the property of a presumably dead father, would seem to imply that these two children characters would in fact be the grandchildren of one Dr. Egon Spengler. After all, if the rest of the original cast (Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson) are indeed appearing, it would make sense if the deceased father was attributed to the one actor among the group who is sadly no longer with us: writer-director Harold Ramis. It would also explain the children being described as “science-obsessed” and “gearhead,” respectively. Of course, who knows: Maybe these kids’ grandfather will somehow be Rick Moranis’ Louis Tully, although Egon seems like the much more obvious choice.
Also appearing in some of the new photos is new addition Paul Rudd, playing a summer school teacher apparently named “Mr. Grooberson,” who grew up idolizing the original Ghostbusters. We can only assume that he’ll be providing a vital link to the younger characters on the exploits of the original foursome. For even more details, check out the full Vanity Fair piece, and brace yourself for the arrival of that trailer on Monday. You can also check out the original teaser from earlier this year below.