Ghostbusters 3: Every Original Character Returning In Afterlife

WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS from Ghostbusters: Afterlife

The sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife introduces a new generation of paranormal ghost-catches, but it also brings back familiar faces from the original movie. The franchise began in 1984 with Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters, which introduced viewers around the world to a group of eccentric scientists who start their own ghost-catching business: Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson). The film was a box office hit and had a big cultural impact that can still be felt to this day, expanding to other media such as video games and comic books.

A sequel, simply titled Ghostbusters II, arrived five years later, but it couldn’t repeat the success of the first film. The franchise was rebooted in 2016 with Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters, starring an all-female team capturing ghosts in New York City. Sadly, the film was overshadowed by unnecessary backlash over the change from a male team to a female one. Now, following the steps of other franchises like Halloween and Terminator, Ghostbusters returns to theaters with a new film that is a direct sequel to the first two, leaving the 2016 reboot behind (for now, at least).

Related: Why Ghostbusters: Afterlife Reviews Are So Mixed

The new film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, was announced in January 2019 and has Jason Reitman as director and Ivan Reitman as producer. The story centers on Callie (Carrie Coon) and her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), who move to Summerville, Oklahoma after being evicted from their home. There, Trevor and Phoebe discover how their family (specifically their grandfather) is linked to the original Ghostbusters team. This discovery will come in handy when the town starts experiencing a series of unexplained earthquakes that eventually lead to the return of the villain Gozer (Olivia Wilde). While Ghostbusters: Afterlife focuses on a new generation of Ghostbusters, the film has many connections to the original movies (Trevor and Phoebe are Egon’s grandchildren) as well as appearances from the original cast. Here’s every original Ghostbusters character that returns in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

It can’t be a Ghostbusters film without Peter Venkman, and luckily, Bill Murray reprises his iconic role in Afterlife. In Ghostbusters, Venkman is a professor at Columbia University (along with Egon and Ray) and holds PhDs in parapsychology and psychology. He was initially interested in paranormal phenomena even though he didn’t believe in ghosts — until he saw one. Venkman is cynical, sarcastic, and more concerned about flirting with female test subjects and clients than the business itself. Even though he’s portrayed as the “lazy” member of the team, he’s also seen as the leader. Bill Murray had a cameo appearance in Feig’s Ghostbusters though not as Venkman, so his return in Ghostbusters: Afterlife is great news for fans. Venkman makes a return with the original Ghostbusters in Afterlife to help Trevor, Phoebe, and their new Ghostbusters team defeat Gozer.

Ray Stantz is an expert on paranormal history and metallurgy. He’s the most devoted to the company, its mission, and the studying of the paranormal, to the point where he mortgaged his childhood home to get the company started. He’s very handy and was the one responsible for repairing and modifying the Ecto-1 in the original movies. In addition to both Ghostbusters films and a cameo appearance in the 2016 reboot, Stantz has appeared in the animated TV series The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters, as well as the video games Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and had a fun cameo in the 1995 fantasy film Casper. Ray returns in Afterlife when Phoebe calls the Ghostbusters hotline for help. He assembles the remaining original Ghostbusters to help Egon’s grandchildren.

Dana Barrett is a cellist who asked the Ghostbusters for help when strange things started to happen in her apartment – turns out that the place was the gateway for the apocalyptic deity Gozer the Gozerian. Dana was later possessed by the demon Zuul, but she was eventually rescued. In Ghostbusters II, she, along with her baby son, became the target of the evil Prince Vigo the Carpathian, but they were saved by the Ghostbusters once more. After the first two films, Dana has only appeared in Ghostbusters comic books. Her return in Ghostbusters: Afterlife is only the briefest of cameos in a post-credit scene with Bill Murray, in which Venkman and Barrett reenact Venkman’s psychic phenomena shock test.

Related: Ghostbusters: Afterlife Is Copying Force Awakens Approach

Winston Zeddemore joined the team when the business boomed and the demand increased, prompting them to look for a fourth member. During his job interview, he was asked if he believed in various supernatural beings, to which he replied that he would believe in anything as long as there was a steady paycheck – and that pretty much sums him up. He’s responsible, dependable, and serves as the voice of reason of the group, and took over the mechanical aspect of Ecto-1 so Ray had more time to work with Egon and build new equipment. Ernie Hudson's character returns in Ghostbusters: Afterlife when the rest of the original team arrives to help Egon’s grandchildren defeat Gozer and he is also part of the second post-credit scene in Afterlife. The moment focuses on Winston and what he’s done with his life after his time as a Ghostbuster, teasing at possible future movies featuring the next-generation team returning to the old fire-house headquarters in New York.

Janine Melnitz is the Ghostbusters’ secretary and confidante. She was initially very bored with her job, but when the Ghostbusters became a hit and they got more and more clients, she began to complain of being overworked – still, she came back when the business was up and running again. Janine showed romantic interest in Egon, but it wasn’t mutual, and in Ghostbusters II she got involved with Louis Tully. She appeared in the animated TV series The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters, and Annie Potts had a cameo appearance in the recent reboot, but she returns as the unforgettable Janine in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Janine makes an appearance at the beginning of the movie, introducing herself to Egon’s family as his friend and financial advisor. She also has a discussion with Winston Zeddemore in a post-credit scene which hints at the future for the Ghostbusters franchise.

Unfortunately, Harold Ramis, the genius writer behind such movies as Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, and the original Ghostbusters, and the man behind the role of Egon Spengler, passed away in 2014. But Ghostbusters: Afterlife wouldn’t be the same without all four original Ghostbusters, so the film found a way to give Egon Spengler a meaningful tribute. The main characters, Trevor and Phoebe, learn that they are Spengler’s grandchildren after he dies of supposedly natural causes, and their mom inherits his dilapidated farmhouse. It soon becomes evident that Spengler’s spirit is still guiding his grandchildren toward completing his work of destroying Gozer, and a CGI version of Egon Spengler even makes an appearance at the end of the film, along with the tribute "For Harold."

Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) - Rick Moranis did not make an appearance as the character Louis Tully in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, but that’s no surprise. Rick Moranis has been on a widespread acting hiatus since the early '90s when his wife passed away. Moranis had no role in the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot and has shown no interest in reprising the role of Louis in the future.

Related: Ghostbusters: Afterlife's Revelation 6:12 Explained

Mayor Lenny (David Margulies) - Sadly, David Margulies, who plays the Mayor of New York in the original Ghostbusters movies, died in 2016. His character had no appearance or mention in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, but that makes sense because the story largely takes place in Oklahoma, rather than New York City.

Slimer - Everyone’s favorite disgusting green ghost, Slimer, is absent from Ghostbusters: Afterlife, but there is a blue cousin of his called Muncher! Muncher has a similar affinity for gobbling cuisine (although he prefers metal objects).

Oscar Barrett - Dana Barrett’s son, Oscar, was introduced in Ghostbusters II,  but does not appear in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Seeing as how Sigourney Weaver returns only briefly for a cameo, it makes sense that her son wasn’t mentioned or included. A grown version of Oscar could make an appearance in the alluded to future Ghostbuster movies, especially if the action moves back to New York City.

Next: Ghostbusters: Afterlife Ending & All Hidden Meanings Explained

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