Iconic Villain Makes Surprising Return to ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Sequel

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Paul Rudd encounters Stay Puft in 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'

Credit: Sony Pictures

An iconic Ghostbusters villain has confirmed their return in next year’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) sequel. While there have been a number of recent casting announcements, this latest news is more crew-related, although the truth is that it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

Legendary special effects artist Billy Bryan, who created and portrayed the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters (1984), recently took to Instagram to share a picture of himself holding a Neutrona Wand, with a caption that reads, “Here we go again… and look who is back.”

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters 1984
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Bryan’s official bio on the Stan Winston School of Character Arts website describes him as “The Wizard of Foam and Plastic, creature fabricator, performer, designer, and innovator Bill Bryan, is more than just the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.” Beyond the original Ghostbusters, Bryan is also credited for his incredible special effects work on movies such as Dune (1984) and Men in Black (1997).

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is one of the most iconic Ghostbusters villains, and though he only appears in the original 1984 film and in a much smaller form in the 2021 sequel, he has made countless appearances throughout the wider Ghostbusters franchise, including the animated series The Real Ghostbusters (1986), IDW Publishing’s long-running comic book series, and several video games.

Ghostbusters The Video Game
Credit: Developer – Terminal Reality Red Fly Studio Saber Interactive (Remastered) / Publisher – Atari Interactive Mad Dog Games (Remastered)

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Whether or not Billy Bryan is returning to Ghostbusters to reprise his role as the Stay Puft, the 112-foot, marshmallow-made manifestation of Sumerian god Gozer, remains to be seen. However, it’s possible he’ll be creating (and perhaps portraying) some new ghouls. Here’s to hoping it’s the latter, as Ghostbusters: Afterlife relies on previously used villains like Gozer (Olivia Wilde) and the Terror Dogs perhaps a bit too much.

So far, actors McKenna Grace, Logan Kim, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, and Paul Rudd, have all been confirmed to be reprising their roles as Phoebe, Podcast, Callie, Trevor, and Gary Grooberson, respectively, in the upcoming film, having first appeared in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

Ghostbusters Afterlife character ensemble poster
Credit: Sony Pictures

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There’s no news on the original Ghostbuster actors, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson, reprising their roles as Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore, respectively, however, Hudson has hinted at his return a number of times in recent interviews.

Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters II
Credit: Sony Pictures

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As per the Ghostbusters/Sony Pictures website, here’s the synopsis for Ghostbusters: Afterlife:

From director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman, comes the next chapter in the original Ghostbusters universe. In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, when a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind. The film is written by Jason Reitman & Gil Kenan.

The Ecto-1 in Ghostbusters Afterlife
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife stars McKenna Grace (Phoebe), Logan Kim (Podcast), Celeste O’Connor (Lucky), Finn Wolfhard (Trevor), Carrie Coon (Callie), Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz), Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett), Paul Rudd (Gary Grooberson), Olivia Wilde (Gozer the Gozerian), JK Simmons (Ivo Shandor), Bill Murray (Dr. Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Dr. Ray Stantz), and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore).

Ghostbusters 4 will be released on December 20, 2023.

(L to R) Celeste O'Conner (Lucky), Finn Wolfhard (Trevor), Logan Kim (Podcast), and McKenna Grace (Phoebe) in Ghostbusters Afterlife
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: Will ‘Ghostbusters 4’ Be a Christmas Movie?

Do you think Billy Bryan’s involvement in the new Ghostbusters movie means that the Stay Puft is back? Let us know in the comments down below!

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