Why the original Ghostbusters are only in the afterlife in one scene


Ghostbusters: Afterlife only contains the original team for one scene, as the movie is a legacy sequel rather than a direct sequel.

Despite being shown separately throughout the film, the original 1984 Ghostbusters share only one scene together Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The afterlife is a film that serves to honor the legacy of the two originals Ghostbusters film rather than a direct sequel. As such, Ghostbusters: The afterlife puts its focus primarily on the new cast and the next generation. However, the original Ghostbusters still get their time to shine together near the end of the film.

Throughout Ghostbusters: Afterlife, each of the original Ghostbusters gets an individual spotlight. The late Harold Ramis gets the most screen time as Egon Spengler’s ghost, helping his family finish the job he and his team started 30 years earlier. Dan Aykroyds Ray Stantz joins in when Spengler’s grandson Phoebe calls his occult bookstore and wants to know more about why the original Ghostbusters broke up. Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman and Ernie Husdon’s Winston Zeddemore also starred Ghostbusters: The afterlife to post-credit scenes. Venkman spends time with Sigourney Weavers ‘Dana, while Winston is seen talking to Annite Potts’ Janine Melnitz about potentially restoring Ghostbusters’ old firehouse.

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The original Ghostbusters are eventually reunited in the final confrontation against Gozer, dressing up with their proton packs and crossing their streams while helping Egon Spengler’s family and their friends defeat the evil god for good. It’s a satisfying broadcast, and the stage pays homage to Harold Ramis’ original character – but The Ghostbusters reunion only works so well because it’s just a single scene at the end of the film. The original Ghostbusters is only in one scene of Ghostbusters: Afterlife and that was the right thing to do.


Why the original Ghostbusters are only in one scene in the afterlife


Egon Spengler’s family is much more central to the plot than the original Ghostbusters contributing as it sees them discover who Egon was and the unfulfilled mission he left for them. Ghostbusters: The afterlife is about inheritance. Seeing these new characters take up the mantle is exciting stuff – especially in the case of Egon’s grandson, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), who sees much of herself in her grandfather. Phoebe’s brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and their friends Podcast (Logan Kim) and Lucky (Celeste O’Connor) all shine as they form a whole new team to fight Gozer the Gozerian. No character is meant to look or behave like the original Ghostbusters, which is the right choice. Trying to tie the new Ghostbusters too close to the missing would have muddied the plot and led to accusations that Ghostbusters: Afterlife is just an updated rehash of the original series.


Why Afterlife was right to limit The Original Ghostbusters’ screen time


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Everything else than The afterlife a single concluding team-up scene would have distracted from the new cast and the primary focus of the plot, which is less about the original Ghostbusters and more about what they left behind. Other people who want to make their own ghostbusting have embraced the legacy of the original team. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a legacy sequel in the truest sense, with the original Ghostbusters popping up just long enough to pass the torch on to the next generation. Otherwise, the presence of the original Ghostbusters would have overshadowed the new Ghostbusters, and the old sequel would have gone into fan service, which would have made the new Ghostbusters’ travels cheaper. The history about Ghostbusters: Afterlife is intended to continue the franchise as a whole, which can not happen while the films continue to look to the past for the sake of nostalgia.


Related: What The Original Ghostbusters 3 would have looked like (and why it did not happen)

While Ghostbusters: Afterlife has determined its shortcomings, it is a plan for how to deal with a legacy successor in terms of balancing original and new characters. The inclusion of the individual scene with the original Ghostbusters team is such a satisfying win at the end of the film. While the individual scene is used with great effect when they come together to help the new team (including Egon’s ghost), it does not overshadow the efforts of newcomers in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

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