The official synopsis for the upcoming sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) has been revealed, and though it might sound like a re-tread of previous films, you might need to pay closer attention. “There’s something strange” going on with the Ghostbusters 4 synopsis…
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As per a recent Production Weekly listing (via Ghostbusters News), here’s the new Ghostbusters 4 synopsis:
“After the events in Oklahoma, the Ghostbusters team returns to where it all started; New York City! The Spengler family story continues with a new group of Ghostbusters led by Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) and Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd).”
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On the surface, the new Ghostbusters 4 synopsis might seem pretty straight-forward, but there are some interesting things worth calling out. First of all, this is the first time it’s been reported that Dan Aykroyd is back on board, and secondly, Ernie Hudson is also officially involved, following lots of back and forth over the last few months.
Thirdly, it seems the film will definitely take place in New York City. While this was confirmed on Ghostbusters Day last year by Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan, recent news that the sequel has started filming in London did cause some confusion. But the fact that it will feature both cities does heavily suggest a “Ghostbusters: International” storyline.
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This storyline features in the long-running, now-defunct IDW Publishing comic book series, which sees Ghostbusters headquarters being set up in several major cities around the world. And the new Ghostbusters 4 synopsis also suggests that it’s pretty obvious how this will transpire in the film.
In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, we learn that Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) has built a successful empire in the finance industry, and in a post-credits scene, he re-opens the Ghostbusters firehouse in New York City, ready to start the business all over again.
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This storyline is actually continued in Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed (2022), an asymmetrical multiplayer video game that was released last October, in which Ernie Hudson and Dan Aykroyd reprise their roles as their respective Ghostbuster characters, Winston Zeddemore and Ray Stantz.
The game picks up some time after Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and finds Winston leading a new team in the Ghostbusters firehouse, while Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) continues to provide assistance from his bookstore Ray’s Occult Books.
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Whether or not the film will feature characters introduced in Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, such as secretary/Ghostbuster Catt (Shara Kirby), remains to be seen, but according to the Ghostbusters 4 synopsis, it sounds like the story will take plenty of inspiration from the game, while it may even serve as a reboot entirely.
And lastly, the synopsis states that “the Spengler family story continues with a new group of Ghostbusters”. While we know that the Ghostbusters: Afterlife ensemble — Celeste O’Conner (Lucky), Paul Rudd (Gary Grooberson), Carrie Coon (Callie), McKenna Grace (Phoebe), Finn Wolfhard (Trevor), and Logan Kim (Podcast) — is officially back on board, we also know that the film will take place in New York City and not Oklahoma.
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So does this mean that Ghostbusters 4 will serve as more of a “crossover” movie between Ghostbusters: Afterlife and a more “traditional”, New York City-set Ghostbusters film, by having the Oklahoma-based characters teaming up with this “new group of Ghostbusters” in the Big Apple? Or will the Afterlife characters, who put their ghost-busting skills to the test in the 2021 film, be the ones who make up that new team?
Though many fans missed the New York City setting in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, relocating the franchise to Oklahoma was an admirable move, nonetheless. But it looks like the filmmakers are choosing to have their cake and eat it with the new film, which could end up dividing fans.
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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.
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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 (2023) will be released on December 20, 2023.
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What are you looking forward to most about Ghostbusters 4? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!