'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' has finally hit theaters. The long-awaited third entry in the iconic franchise is being described as a "love letter" to the original movie, but the truth is that it's more of an homage to late actor Harold Ramis, whose onscreen counterpart Egon Spengler is at the heart of the plot. So, if you've seen the movie already, let's talk about everything that happened from start to finish. Here's the 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' ending explained.
Warning: There are spoilers ahead for 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'!
The film starts with a prologue that takes place a week before we meet our central characters. Egon Spengler, now 32 years older than the last time we saw him in 'Ghostbusters II' is driving frantically through Summerville, Oklahoma, before finally arriving at 'Dirt Farm' - a property he owns in the area.
With ghost traps and a whole bunch of other gizmos, it seems that Egon (who was played by the late Harold Ramis but in this movie has been shrouded in darkness for obvious reasons), is trying to capture something supernatural.
However, things go horribly wrong when he takes a seat in his armchair indoors, as those same Terror Dog arms that got a little too close for comfort with Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) in the original 1984 film, emerge from the upholstery and kill him. This moment will likely come as a shock to many fans, although what won't surprise is the fact Egon is killed off.
We all knew it was going to happen, but we expected it to happen 'off screen' between this movie and 'Ghostbusters II'. While this scene is teased in the trailer, many assumed it was a flashback of some sort. We then jump forward a week and meet our new heroes of the piece.
With her two children Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), Callie (Carrie Coon), who has fallen on hard times, decides to move to her estranged and now dead father Egon Spengler's house in Oklahoma. However, unbeknownst to the children, Egon was one of the original four Ghostbusters who saved New York twice in the '80s.
But no sooner after they arrive, it becomes clear that Egon had a reputation as a bit of a hermit with the locals. We also learn that he abandoned his family to study a strange phenomenon happening out in this backwater town, which is why Callie and her children had no relationship with him. Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) also shows up at the property, who explains that she dealt with Egon's finances.
Before long, Phoebe discovers a lot of strange equipment hidden away in the house, such as a ghost trap and lots of spores, molds, and fungus. Meanwhile, Trevor discovers the old Ecto-1 hidden beneath some tarp in the barn.
Phoebe shows the trap to her friend Podcast (Logan Kim) and her science teacher Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) and learns all about the Ghostbusters, who have been forgotten about over the last three decades. She also learns that her grandfather was one of them. After practicing with the proton packs, Phoebe and Podcast discover a ghost in a local factory called Muncher.
Trevor befriends a fellow teenager named Lucky (Celeste O'Conner), and when they hang out at the local mines (built by Ivo Shandor, no less - the evil architect from the early 1900s who was responsible for building 'Spook Central' in Manhattan in an attempt to summon Gozer), they see a spectral Terror Dog emerge from a mineshaft.
Later, after Phoebe, Podcast and Trevor use the Ecto-1 to capture Muncher, they're arrested, and all the Ghostbusters' equipment - including the car - is put in lock-up. While in jail, Phoebe calls Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) for help, who explains to her that he, Peter (Bill Murray) and Winston (Ernie Hudson) fell out with Egon a long time ago, as he left New York with all their equipment to try and prevent an apocalypse in Oklahoma.
When the kids - along with Lucky - investigate the mines, they realize that something strange is going on in their new neighborhood. The mines actually house a temple that features a statue of Gozer and its two Terror Dog minions, the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster, as well as the body of Ivo Shandor himself, perfectly preserved inside a glass tomb.
Meanwhile, Callie discovers her father's secret basement and comes across a shrine of photos depicting her life, and realizes that her father never abandoned her to save the world, but to save his family. Soon, the two Terror Dogs attack Callie and Gary, and they become the new minions of Gozer, while an army of mini StayPuft Marshmallow Mans wreaks havoc in the local Walmart.
When Callie and Gary 'unite', Gozer is released from its dimension, and Ivo Shandor awakes. However, seeing no further use for him, Gozer quickly lays waste to Shandor.
As a result of the supernatural energy, ghosts appear all over the town. With Gozer free, the four children free Muncher so that he can release the Ghostbusters equipment from lock-up. When they're all suited up, they lead Gozer back to Dirt Farm, which they realize is a giant ghost trap previously built by Egon Spengler before he died.
Suddenly, the original three remaining Ghostbusters appear and help the new team battle Gozer on Dirt Farm. As they struggle with holding the Sumerian demigod in place, the ghost of Egon shows up to lend a helping hand. Together, they're able to defeat the entity once and for all.
While he doesn't speak a single word, Egon offers closure to the grandchildren he never knew, his estranged daughter, and his fellow teammates, before disappearing into the stars.
Related: Will There Be a Ghostbusters 4?
A mid-credits scene reveals that Peter and Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) are still together, while a post-credits scene shows Winston - who is now a successful and wealthy businessman - talking to Janine about the opportunities his fortune bring him, before reopening the fire station in Tribeca. The scene ends when the fire doors are seemingly open again for business.
While the final scene is somewhat ambiguous, it's suggested that a new frontier of Ghostbusting might be at hand. In the graphic novels from IDW Publishing, a 'Ghostbusters International' is established, in which several teams around the world tackle paranormal threats on a daily basis. Whether or not this is where an inevitable fourth movie is heading remains to be seen.
'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' is out in theaters now.