Ghostbusters: Afterlife is now in theatrers, and the long awaited continuation of the original Ghostbusters timeline is poised to be the blockbuster event of the Thanksgiving holiday. Unlike the 2016 remake from director Paul Fieg, which relaunched the series with a new continuity and cast, Ghostbusters: Afterlife continues the universe established in the original two films.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife picks up with a new generation of heroes who uncover artifacts from the original gang, and centers around the grandchildren of Harold Ramis’s character Egon Spengler. Production of a straight up Ghostbusters sequel has been in question since Ramis’ death in 2014, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife features many tributes to the departed character’s legacy.
In another family tie-in, original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman’s son, Jason Reitman, stepped into his father’s role behind the camera on the new sequel. While some fans and critics have been touched by the nostalgic tone of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, others have criticized it as being another legacy sequel that’s more “for the fans” than it is for the story.
Here’s your guide to the new faces in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, as well as the original returning players.
Phoebe Spengler (Mckenna Grace)
Sexist so-called “Ghostbusters fans” that bullied the last reboot’s female stars will be horrified to learn that Afterlife also centers on a highly intelligent female character who takes on the task of tracking the supernatural creatures. Egon’s granddaughter Phoebe, played by McKenna Grace, retains her grandfather’s aptitude for unusual scientific experiments and aloofness in social interactions. Grace is one of the most prominent child actors of her generation, having appeared in films such as Gifted, I, Tonya, Captain Marvel, Malignant, Annabelle Comes Home, Troop Zero, and Ready Player One by the age of fifteen.
Trevor Spengler (Finn Wolfhard)
Phoebe’s older brother doesn’t quite share the same interest in science that his sister does, as he’s more interested in finding a summer job (and potentially a first love) when the family relocates to Egon’s farm in Oklahoma. Trevor isn’t particularly excited about the trip, and he’s concerned about how long he’ll have to stay in the Summerville home considering his mother’s financial woes. Wolfhard is of course the star of Stranger Things and It, and has ventured into podcasting and music with his band Calpurnia.
Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon)
While Egon is beloved by Ghostbusters fans, the character himself left behind a complex family legacy, including a strained relationship with his sole granddaughter Callie Spengler, played by Carrie Coon. Callie never got the chance to connect with her workaholic grandfather, and only returns to his homestead when the family is evicted from their apartment. If you don’t know the name Carrie Coon you absolutely should. Outside of stellar lead roles in The Leftovers, The Sinner, and the third season of Fargo, her film roles include Gone Girl, The Nest, Widows, Kin, and The Post.
Gary Gooberson (Paul Rudd)
The man who refuses to age, Paul Rudd, is an all-around delightful, charming guy, and that’s exactly the same archetype he plays in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Middle school science teacher Gary Gooberson lazily plays classic old horror movies to the students he’s assigned to watch in summer school. while he pursues his real interests in tracking the tectonic activity in Summerville. Rudd is no stranger to playing endearing slackers, having helped launch the Apatow era of studio comedy with his participation in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I Love You, Man, Wet Hot American Summer, Knocked Up, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He’s certainly diversified his filmography by bringing his fun presence to films like Mute, The Catcher Was A Spy, The Fundamentals of Caring, Prince Avalanche, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the titular role of Scott Lang in the Ant-Man series.
Podcast (Logan Kim)
Trevor and Phoebe end up gathering an eclectic band of friends to help take on the Ghostbuster mantle, including Phoebe’s friendly classmate known only as “Podcast.” The middle school geek lugs around his own audio equipment as he attempts to interview a distintered Phoebe for his Internet series, which has at least one loyal follower in one of the Ghostbusters founders. The hilarious turn by Logan Kim is his debut role.
Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor)
The subject of Trevor’s attraction is Lucky Domingo, a quick-witted teenage hostess at Summerville’s old-fashioned 50’s burger joint. Lucky and her group of friends may have suspected something unusual lies beneath the surface of their hometown, but she’s surprised to learn that it's supernatural in nature. Lucky is portrayed by non-binary performer Celeste O'Connor, whose other credits include Selah and the Spades, Irreplaceable You, and Freaky.
Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray)
Plans for a Ghostbusters III in the ‘90s were halted due to a lack of interest by Bill Murray, who professed his disapproval for lazy sequels (he recently stated he was ”tricked” into appearing in Ghostbusters II and has frequently lamented his involvement in the Garfield series). Murray appeared in the 2016 remake as a different character, the paranormal debunker Dr. Martin Heiss, but he finally returns to his signature role of Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The cranky, sarcastic New York scientist is just as snappy as you remember, but he’s slightly more reflective in his older years.
Dr. Raymond Stanz (Dan Aykroyd)
Dan Aykroyd has been heavily involved in the development of a new Ghostbusters from the beginning, having written drafts of a new installment several times after the release of Ghostbusters II in 1980. Despite enthusiasm for the cast of the 2016 film, Aykroyd blasted Paul Feig for supposedly pushing the film out of its original budgetary range. He had more praise for Reitman’s new project, which he called “beautiful” and “heartfelt.” Like Ray, Aykroyd returns to the big screen after a bit of an absence. The comedy legend of Saturday Night Live, The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Grosse Pointe Blank, and Driving Miss Daisy fame has spent his recent years focusing on podcasting and his Crystal Head Vodka brand.
Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson)
Ghostbusters fans will certainly want to stick around to the closing credits to hear about the extended exploits of the other Ghostbusters core member Winston Zeddemore, who despite his lack of a scientific background is often the most well-adjusted member of the original team. Ernie Hudson said that “emotions welled up in me” during the “almost spiritual” filming of Afterlife, which marks his return to one of the signature roles of his career. Hudson’s other great work includes The Basketball Diaries, Miss Congeniality, Leviathan, and Congo.
Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz)
While the other Ghostbusters take their time in showing up for the climax of Afterlife, Annie Potts’ Janine Melnitz is introduced early on, retaining her original responsibilities of keeping Egon’s messy work together. One of the notable characters of the original, Janine is reintroduced as the manager of Egon’s homestead and introduces herself to his daughter and grandchildren. Potts may not be a “ghostbuster,” but she’s a comedy legend in her own right thanks to her iconic work in Designing Women, Pretty in Peak, Corvette Summer, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, and the Toy Story franchise.
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