After 2016’s Ghostbusters reboot failed to impress audiences and critics alike, we were almost certain that any chance of a sequel to the original two movies and a return of the beloved characters was dead in the water (though at least Ghostbusters: The Video Game did grant that wish in 2009, which also served as an official sequel). If anything, despite the reboot being as popular as Slimer at a dinner party, fans expected a sequel that would see the return of Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. But the 2016 film would ultimately serve as a catalyst for Sony to instead greenlight the long-awaited sequel to the first two films that would see the return of original characters.
So will the original Ghostbusters be in Afterlife? Let’s find out.
Despite decades of turning down scripts for a third Ghostbusters movie, Bill Murray is at long last confirmed to appear in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. He did, however, appear in the 2016 reboot, but like many other aspects of the film, his brief role as paranormal debunker Martin Heiss was met with harsh criticism. Murray has often joked that he would “like to be killed off” in a third movie, so let’s hope he’s gotten that out of his system after the fate of his reboot character, and that stepping into the shoes of the sleazy but irresistible Peter Venkman will be a return to form.
Like Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson also appeared in the 2016 reboot, playing Patty Tolan’s uncle, but was on screen for mere seconds as the credits were ready to roll. Although it was a nice treat to see him back on the big screen, we’re much happier knowing that he will be reprising his role as Winston Zeddemore, who is often the voice of reason for the Ghostbusters. Let’s just hope he gets the screen time he deserves, as his character is inexplicably absent during a number of scenes that span the first two movies. Nevertheless, even a cameo as short as the one in the reboot would please fans.
Dan Aykroyd will also be making a return, and this time he won’t be playing a cab driver who “ain’t afraid of no ghost” (although that was a pretty neat cameo in the reboot). In the original movies, Ray Stantz is the wide-eyed optimist who spews psychobabble and ends up being responsible for creating one of the most iconic and strangely terrifying villains in movie history, the StayPuft Marshmallow Man. With Harold Ramis sadly no longer around, being a highly intelligent paranormal psychologist and historian, Ray Stantz is, in many ways, the second in command.
Yes, Sigourney Weaver will be returning to the fold too, alongside Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Dan Aykroyd. Dana Barrett was the main character in the original two movies who, on both occasions, enlisted the help of the Ghostbusters. And like her co-stars, Weaver also appeared in the 2016 reboot, during a post-credits scene that saw her play a scientist mentor to Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann. In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, fans will be eager to see if she is still with Venkman following the events of Ghostbusters II, or whether she’s moved on with her life. Either way, the ‘Gatekeeper’ will return…
Looking for a secretary to join the rest of the crew? We got one! Annie Potts is confirmed to be reprising her role as Ghostbusters secretary Janine Melnitz. But with the original Ghostbusters no longer operating within the timeline of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, we’re going to assume that Janine has found a new calling in life (and one which doesn’t involve working as a hotel desk clerk, like her appearance in the reboot).
Sadly, the Keymaster has not been confirmed to be returning to play the hilarious, down-on-his-luck Louis Tully in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The good news, however, is that it hasn’t been confirmed he won’t be returning. While Moranis retired from acting in the early ‘90s following the tragic death of his wife, he is set to be making a comeback in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids sequel, Shrunk. And though the actor did turn down the invitation for a cameo in the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, he did say in a 2013 interview, when asked if he would return to do a sequel, that he “wouldn’t not do it, but it’s got to be good”. Let’s hope the delay of Ghostbusters: Afterlife has allowed for his return.
So the original Ghostbusters are indeed set to return. And while everyone on this list appeared in 2016’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (with the exception of Rick Moranis), there’s nothing quite like being reunited with the characters they portrayed back in 1984 and 1989. As for how exactly each of them will fit into the story, nothing has been revealed or even hinted at, unless you count Peter Venkman’s brief narration in the trailer, which is lifted from the original film where he talks about "luck", "fate", "karma", and how "everything happens for a reason".
Taking this into account, along with everything we know about the plot - which clearly ties into the supernatural events of the first film - it would seem that the original actors may have a more organic purpose in the film, as opposed to being shoehorned in for nostalgia's sake. We also know that some classic villains will be returning to the fold too, and that the film is set in Oklahoma.
And though it remains to be seen whether the late Harold Ramis will feature in Ghostbusters: Afterlife via some digital capacity, we already know that the legacy of Egon Spengler is integral to the new movie, and that is a better love letter to the late actor than any cameo or easter egg.
Actors McKenna Grace, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim, Celeste O'Conner, and Paul Rudd will be joining the original actors in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife release date is set for November 12, 2021.