Ghostbusters Afterlife: Who is the Grandfather?

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By Daniel Roberts | More Articles List & Feature Writer Our need for escapism makes fiction an important part of reality
June 14, 2021  11:17 AM

If you’re a fan of the original Ghostbusters movies, you could be forgiven for not being an eagle-eyed viewer when it comes to the trailer for the long-awaited third movie. Perhaps you’re the kind of person who likes to shy away from spoilers (and who could blame you), or maybe there are simply a bunch of things you’ve missed because you’ve been far too distracted by how great the film looks.

But you’ve clearly come here for answers, and rest assured knowing that the answer to the question ‘Who is the Grandfather in Ghostbusters: Afterlife?’ is not a spoiler. The trailer actually confirms the identity of the not-so-mysterious relative a good number of times. So, let’s dive in for a bit of a trailer breakdown and find out who is the grandfather to Phoebe and Trevor – two of our new Ghostbusters.

The trailer first introduces us to a backwater town named Summerville in Oklahoma, the new location for the movie. Here we meet Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) talking to love interest Lucky (Celeste O’Conner) at a mine shaft, where he’s explaining why his family has moved there, saying, “We’re completely broke and the only thing that’s left in our name is this creepy old farmhouse our grandfather left us in the middle of nowhere.” Then, something strange emerges from the mineshaft, before we meet Paul Rudd’s science teacher Mr. Grooberson who is talking about earthquakes plaguing the town, despite there being “no fracking, fault lines or loud music even.” 

Ghostbusters Afterlife Barn

Phoebe and her friend ‘Podcast’ (Logan Kim) then discuss a ghost trap with Mr. Grooberson, who learns that the children know nothing about the Ghostbusters or the incidents in New York during the ‘80s.

He asks Phoebe, “Did your dad never mention this to you?” She simply responds saying, “It’s just my mom”. This is followed by Phoebe who, with a PKE Meter, discovers a basement filled with spores, molds, and fungus, along with proton packs and other equipment, with her voiceover saying, “My grandfather died. My mom says we’re just here to pick through the rubble of his life.”

While “spores, molds, and fungus” are easily attributed to Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis), it’s reasonable to assume this basement facility could belong to any or all of the original Ghostbusters. It’s not until Mr. Grooberson asks Phoebe who she is, that we see the young girl discovering a pair of Ghostbusters overalls with the badge ‘SPENGLER’. And there you have it: Egon Spengler is the grandfather to Phoebe and Trevor. But let’s be honest – this was already pretty obvious. For starters, they both have bushy black hair, not unlike Egon’s in the original movies. And we also know their grandfather has died, which is an obvious echo of Harold Ramis’ real-life passing. 

Ghostbusters Afterlife Proton Pack

The scenes that follow this revelation are also a clue to the film’s plot: we see a rusty Ecto-1 back in action, and what appears to be a Terror Dog landing on the bonnet of Mr. Grooberson’s car. Along with other elements of the trailer, these scenes suggest that, before his death, Egon Spengler moved all of the Ghostbusters equipment to the old farmhouse in Oklahoma, and now some familiar enemies have returned. As for the film’s tone, it looks as though there might be some more serious elements, including family drama, which may be more dominant than the signature comedy-horror elements of the original films.

Whether or not Harold Ramis will have a cameo-of-sorts remains to be seen (there was a nice little homage to him in the 2016 reboot, in the form of a bronze bust in the background, and he did also feature prominently in 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which is actually a sequel to the first two movies). However, he can already be seen in the new trailer when Phoebe and Podcast are watching footage of the original Ghostbusters. Except for Rick Moranis, we do know that the rest of the original cast will be returning.  

Ghostbusters Afterlife Ecto-1

Ghostbusters: Afterlife releases in theaters on November 19, 2021.

Related: Is Ghostbusters Afterlife a Comedy or Horror Movie Explained

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