Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s post-credits scenes, in-jokes, and secret ending cameo

Post-credits scenes utilized to be an uncommon enjoyable benefit for the cinematic faithful who stood out the totality of the credits, however Marvel Cinematic Universe films have actually made them into nearly a responsibility for fandom-friendly films. And other developers aren’t simply detecting the MCU’s routine of including end-credit scenes, they’re likewise detecting the particular manner in which MCU films now utilize them, with a mid-credits scene to include a little button onto a film’s story, and an end-credits scene that moves the focus towards the future of a hoped-for franchise.

That’s precisely what director Jason Reitman does with Ghostbusters: Afterlife, his direct follow up to 1989’s Ghostbusters II, and his extension of the work his daddy, Ivan Reitman, performed in directing the initial 2 Ghostbusters films. Ghostbusters: Afterlife has 2 benefit scenes — one a brief methods into the credits, and one later. The mid-credits scene is a prolonged in-joke for fans of the 1984 Ghostbusters, however the post-credits scene specifically teases a possible follow up at some time in the future.

[Ed. note: Gigantic spoilers for Ghostbusters: Afterlife ahead.]

Is Costs Murray in Ghostbusters: Afterlife?

The majority of the essential cast of 1984 Ghostbusters appears for this 3rd entry in the trilogy. The Ghostbusters’ secretary Janine (Annie Potts) shows up early in the movie, to look into Egon Spengler’s old house, where his adult child Callie (Carrie Coon) and her kids Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) have actually concerned live after Egon’s death. Midway through the movie, as Phoebe starts to comprehend who her grandpa was and what type of danger he was battling from the rural Oklahoma farmhouse Callie has actually acquired, she calls the Ghostbusters’ old contact number from their 1984 advertisements, and speak with Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), who fills her in on what separated the Ghostbusters, long prior to Egon’s death.

And when Phoebe, Trevor, and their pals attempt to eliminate the Sumerian god Gozer, who got here in New york city in the very first movie, all 3 enduring Ghostbusters — Ray, Peter Venkman (Costs Murray), and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) appear in their old fits and equipment to sign up with the fight. Egon’s ghost appears to assist them take Gozer down, they all state a psychological bye-bye to their quiet spirit pal, and he goes out.

So wait, exists an afterlife in Ghostbusters: Afterlife?

It’s odd. It’s extremely uncertain what ghosts remain in this series — whether blobby monster-ghosts like Ghostbusters’ Slimer and Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s comparable animal Muncher are the spirits of dead human beings, or “ghosts” in this world are mainly simply odd spectral animals, or what. The Ghostbusters’ greatest opponent in the live-action films isn’t even a ghost, she’s a god. We can presume, provided the shape of numerous conventional ghost stories, that Egon spent time in the world due to the fact that he had incomplete service to look after, and as soon as his grandkids beat his mortal opponent (never-ceasing opponent? she definitely hasn’t aged as much as everybody else given that the 1980s), he might go on to whatever’s next. However human ghosts who battle gods and hug their kids is definitely a brand-new twist for a Ghostbusters story.

What does “For Harold” mean at the end of the movie?

It’s a tribute to Harold Ramis, who played Egon Spengler in the original movies, co-wrote both original Ghostbusters scripts, and was a celebrated comedian and filmmaker in his own right. (He wrote and directed Groundhog Day, among other movies.) He died in 2014.

What happens in Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s mid-credits scene?

The credits play out as expected, until they get to a credit for Sigourney Weaver, one of the stars of the 1984 Ghostbusters, who hasn’t actually appeared in the film at that point. Reitman gives the audience just enough time to say “Wait, she isn’t in this—” before he cuts to her character, Dana Barrett, holding up a series of Zener cards for Peter Venkman to see if he can psychically intuit what symbol is on the side of the card he can’t see. He keeps guessing right, but she has him wired up to a device that delivers electric shocks, and she keeps shocking him until he admits that he marked the cards so he’d know what they were.

Like so much of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, this scene is just a big referential gag for fans of the 1984 Ghostbusters. It’s a callback to Peter Venkman’s original introduction, doing tests on university students, supposedly to research psychic phenomena, though the scene also shows he’s a sleazeball who isn’t above using the test to flirt with his female subjects, and torture the male ones for fun. Dana shocking him for lying is a bit of 37-years-later payback for that earlier scene.

So are Dana and Peter still together, all these years later? It’s hard to say — she’s wearing a wedding ring, she treats him kind of fondly, and they seem to be in a private home rather than an institutional setting. But they don’t mention their relationship, they don’t trade any kind of endearments, and she seems smug about seeing through him more than she seems loving. He’s also as smarmy to her as he was back in the 1980s — it’s impressively clear that he hasn’t changed much. There’s also the question of why, decades into their relationship, she’d be rigging him up to electrodes to see if he’s psychic. It’s yet another scene that works better as a fan callback than a meaningful piece of the story.

What happens in Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s post-credits scene?

The sequence after the credits end is the interesting one. First, there’s a brief scene where the Egon of the 1980s is headed off to battle Gozer, and Janine offers him a lucky coin to take with him. There isn’t much to that sequence — it’s a deleted scene from the 1984 film, included as an Easter egg, but without much meaning to the rest of the film.

After a jump back to present-day, Janine appears to be interviewing Winston about what he’s been up to since the 1980s. The audience already know from Ray’s recap earlier in the film that Winston struck out on his own and became a highly successful businessman, but the film doesn’t give him much material of his own. While Bill Murray as Peter gets to ramble out a goofy monologue and crack jokes about Gozer, and Ray is solemn and sincere as ever, Winston is mostly stuck standing off to the side, moaning at the condition of their old Ectomobile, and promising to get it fixed up.

But in the post-credits scene, Winston finally gets a little time to shine as something other than the fourth-billed man in a three-man team. He explains his initiatives and motives to Janine: “I wanted to be an example of what’s possible.” He talks about his thriving global enterprises, and how he’s secretly been supporting Ray and Peter, who are in less lucrative situations. “I may be a businessman, but I will always be a Ghostbuster,” he tells her.

It’s a nice moment of payoff for actor Ernie Hudson, who has occasionally been frustrated by the ways Winston was sidelined in the films. He famously signed onto a script that gave Winston a bigger role and a full backstory, which wound up being cut. He’s often noted in interviews that Winston doesn’t appear on the movie poster and wasn’t part of the publicity run for the movie. He’s said he took the role expecting it to help his career, and instead, he had trouble finding work afterward. So this sequence feels like a payoff for Winston, a chance at a little more dignity and depth.

How does Ghostbusters: Afterlife set up a sequel?

In a solo shot after talking to Janine, Winston re-enters the Ghostbusters’ old firehouse headquarters, which Ray said earlier in the film had been sold off long ago, when the Ghostbusters stopped making money. Winston has clearly purchased the place for nostalgic reasons — the same reasons that power the rest of the movie — and he looks around it with the exact same satisfaction as Rey looking around Tattooine at the end of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, with the exact same sense that he’s there to make the fans happy more than he’s there to make himself happy.

But then Reitman’s camera wanders off to the side, finding the Ghostbusters’ old Ecto-Containment System — the laser-grid unit that contained all the ghosts they trapped, until an EPA lawyer played by William Atherton (the “It’s true, this man has no dick” guy from the first movie) had it shut down and they all escaped. There’s a single ominous flashing red light on the system, indicating something is wrong, and the post-credits scene ends on that promise of a threat to come. (Never mind that the Containment System was in the basement in a small side room at the bottom of the stairs, rather than in the garage — the point is, something interesting seems to be happening.)

Will there be a Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel?

Nothing’s been announced or green-lit yet, but Afterlife co-writer Gil Kenan has said he has “lots of ideas” for possible future installments in the franchise, and Reitman said at his New York Comic Con appearance that the movie’s goal was to “open the universe to all kinds of stories… Ghostbusters movies from all my favorite directors.” He said he hopes this movie “sets the table for that” — implying that he himself may not be invested in directing a sequel, but he’s looking forward to the possibility of more films.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.