‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2’ Will Be Connected to the 2016 Reboot

in Movies & TV

Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) looking surprised at Kevin's stupidity in 'Ghostbusters: S

Credit: Sony Pictures

Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 (2024) will be hitting theaters next year, and given the fact its initial release date was set for this December, it’s likely the first trailer will drop soon.

The film follows Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021), which restored the continuity established in the original Ghostbusters (1984) after the reboot Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016) failed to impress fans, critics, and the box office.

Phoebe (McKenna Grace) looking surprised in 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'
Credit: Sony Pictures

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The film is officially titled Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, and it will feature characters from the 2021 sequel, legacy characters from the first two films, and several newcomers to the franchise.

One of the newcomers is Patton Oswalt, who’s best known for appearing in films such as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2014). Earlier this year, he was cast alongside Marvel star Kumail Nanjiani, British comedian James Acaster, and Doctor Sleep (2019) star Emily Alin Lynd.

Their roles remain undisclosed, however, it’s worth pointing out that this won’t be Oswalt’s first rodeo in the Ghostbusters franchise. In 2016, he appeared in the virtual reality mobile game Ghostbusters VR — Now Hiring (2016), in which he plays the character Mooglie.

Mooglie (Patton Oswalt) in 'Ghostbusters VR -- Now Hiring' mobile game
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Fans familiar with the wider Ghostbusters franchise will know that Mooglie is the name given to the white ghost from the iconic Ghostbusters logo. On the more mainstream side of things, the same ghost features in the divisive reboot Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.

However, in that film, the ghost is more of a manifestation of the film’s main antagonist, Rowan (Neil Casey), an evil human hellbent on global destruction who becomes a powerful paranormal entity after he dies under supernatural circumstances.

Rowan attacking New York in 'Ghostbusters: Answer the Call'
Credit: Sony Pictures

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In a similar vein to how the evil god Gozer the Gozerian (Slavitza Jovan) tells the Ghostbusters in the original 1984 film to “choose the form of the Destructor,” Rowan asks the female-led team in the 2016 film to decide on his new appearance.

As such, Rowan chooses the logo ghost, at first appearing as a cartoon, before transforming into a gigantic, CG-animated version of the franchise’s emblem, becoming the reboot’s equivalent of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the original 1984 film.

The Firehouse sign in 'Ghostbusters Spirits Unleashed'
Credit: IllFonic

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There’s no telling whether Patton Oswalt will be reprising his role as Mooglie. In the new trailer for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, he appears alongside the new team of Ghostbusters, and also narrates. However, the fact he’s already played a character based on the logo ghost, which serves as the basis of Rowan the Destructor, forms a huge connection between the upcoming film and the reboot.

There are, of course, many other connections between the main Ghostbusters films and Answer the Call, with the most obvious being that the 2016 film is a remake of the original. It also features characters such as Slimer, who appears throughout the franchise.

Slimer eating hotdogs in 'Ghostbusters: Answer the Call'
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Original Ghostbusters actors such as Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson also appear in the reboot as entirely different characters, and there’s even a reference to villains  such as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Zuul.

As for Patton Oswalt, he may be playing Mooglie again, or perhaps even a version of Rowan from Answer the Call. However, the odds are that he’s playing a completely original character, perhaps even one of the new Ghostbusters.

Dan Aykroyd in Ray's Occult Bookstore in 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'
Credit: Sony Pictures

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But that still wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the canon films becoming connected to the widely hated reboot from director Paul Feig. Ghostbusters takes place in a world where all sorts of things are possible, and the idea of a Ghostbusters Multiverse is hardly new to the wider franchise.

This has already been explored in the IDW Publishing comic books, which has allowed the female characters from Answer the Call to enter the “main timeline” and interact with characters like Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, and Ray Stantz.

'Ghostbusters: Answer the Call' character poster
Credit: Sony Pictures

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The Multiverse has become a common trend in films, being utilized in franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Universe, and the Sony Spider-Man Universe. Even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has its own Multiverse, which has already been explored on screen.

It’s doubtful Sony Pictures would allow this to happen in Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2, though, as Answer the Call remains a divisive film. It also bombed at the box office, catching only $229.1 million in its streams against its $144 million budget.

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) being covered in slime in 'Ghostbusters: Answer the Call'
Credit: Sony Pictures

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But never say never. The Amazing Spider-Man films were reviled by fans until Andrew Garfield reprised his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the MCU Multiversal film Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Now everyone seems to love those two installments.

More recently, fans were pleased to see George Clooney in a surprise cameo at the end of DCU’s The Flash (2023), despite his version of Bruce Wayne/Batman from the universally despised Joel Schumacher film Batman and Robin (1997) being considered the worst.

The same can be said about Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader from the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. Both actor and the character have gone from zero to hero now that they’ve appeared in the Disney+ shows Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) and Ahsoka (2023).

Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) with Ahsoka Tano (Ariana Greenblatt) in the Clone Wars in 'Ahsoka'
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire releases in theaters on March 29, 2024.

The film sees the return of the Afterlife ensemble, McKenna Grace (Phoebe), Logan Kim (Podcast), Celeste O’Connor (Lucky), Finn Wolfhard (Trevor), Carrie Coon (Callie), and Paul Rudd (Gary Grooberson), while newcomers Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, James Acaster, and Emily Alyn Lind have been cast in undisclosed roles.

Original Ghostbusters actors Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz), Paul Rudd (Gary Grooberson), William Atherton (Walter Peck), Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore) are also back on board.

Are you looking forward to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire? Who do you think Patton Oswalt will play? Would you like to see the franchise explore the Ghostbusters Multiverse? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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