‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot Characters VERY Likely to Appear in ‘Afterlife’ Sequel

in Movies & TV

Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) screaming in Ghostbusters: Answer the Call

Credit: Sony Pictures

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016) is a widely hated film, so much so that it gives even the last two entries in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy a run for their money. It would be a lie to say it doesn’t have its fair share of fans, but it would be equally untrue to say that it isn’t among the most reviled reboots to have emerged from Hollywood in recent memory.

From the moment the first trailer appeared online to its release in theaters, Paul Feig’s reboot of the original 1984 classic by the late Ivan Reitman was met with thunderous backlash. It was a response so loud that it’s a surprise we didn’t see rivers of pink mood slime manifesting beneath the streets. Mass hysteria gripped the fanbase.

Erin Gilbert looking confused in the labs in 'Ghostbusters: Answer the Call'
Credit: Sony Pictures

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When the first trailer landed, the film didn’t look great, but the idea of rebooting a beloved film like Ghostbusters (1984) was never going to go down well. That said, there are many fans who were open to a reboot, but Ghostbusters: Answer the Call just wasn’t that good.

Sadly, trolls who targeted their hatred of the film towards cast members at the time, namely Leslie Jones, who plays Patty Tolan, one quarter of the film’s female Ghostbusters lineup — which also features Melissa McCarthy (Abby Yates), Kristen Wiig (Erin Gilbert), and Kate McKinnon (Jillian Holtzmann) — would tar every fan with the same brush.

Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) in Ghostbusters Answer the Call
Credit: Sony Pictures

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However, let it be said that these online critters do not represent the Ghostbusters fanbase.

After all, female Ghostbusters were nothing new in 2016. Fans were already accustomed to seeing strong female characters donning flight suits and proton packs, whether it was the likes of Kylie Griffin (Tara Strong) in the animated series Extreme Ghostbusters (1997) or Special Agent Melanie Ortiz in IDW Publishing’s comic books.

'Extreme Ghostbusters' line-up
Credit: Columbia TriStar Television Distribution / Bohbot Entertainment

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Unfortunately, every fandom has its fair share of toxic individuals, but it was unwise for members of the cast and crew to attack the fanbase as a whole in response to the trolling, because it only seemed to result in an even bigger blow the film’s box office performance.

Some good things have come out of the 2016 reboot, though. Despite only grossing $229.1 million worldwide (against its $144 million budget) and garnering a supernatural whirlwind of negative reviews in the process, it seems to have some appeal toward younger audiences.

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

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Answer the Call isn’t the last time we saw Patty Tolan, Erin Gilbert, Abby Yates, and Jillian Holtzmann, either — they would later appear in the Ghostbusters comic book series in their own exclusive story (also titled Answer the Call), and the two crossover events, Everyone Answers the Call and Crossing Over.

That’s not to suggest these characters are in any way popular with the wider fanbase, but comic books are always meddling with the Multiverse, so it’s no surprise they showed up. But while the odds of seeing them reappear elsewhere in the franchise have seemed unlikely for so long, that could be set to change.

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

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Recently, the first trailer for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024) premiered online.

The film is the sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) and the fourth film in the “canon” Ghostbusters series. It reunites Afterlife characters — Carrie Coon (Callie Spengler), Paul Rudd (Gary Grooberson), Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace), Trevor Spengler (Finn Wolfhard), Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor), and Podcast (Logan Kim) — and several legacy characters, Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), Walter Peck (William Atherton), Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), and Peter Venkman (Bill Murray).

The film takes place in New York, where a supernatural entity known as the “Death Chill” is about to literally freeze the city in the middle of July, forcing Ghostbusters old and new to team up and save the day.

Per Sony Pictures, here’s the trailer for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire:

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Per Sony Pictures, here’s the official synopsis for the film:

In Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the Spengler family returns to where it all started – the iconic New York City firehouse – to team up with the original Ghostbusters, who’ve developed a top-secret research lab to take busting ghosts to the next level. But when the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second Ice Age.

(L to R) Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, and McKenna Grace in 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire'
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Until we learn more about the film, it remains a possibility that it will feature cameos from the 2016 reboot. As incredibly unlikely as this is, and though the film is in no way being marketed as a Multiversal affair, as we’ve already explained, the wider franchise is no stranger to parallel dimensions.

Of course, there’s no real benefit in having the film “cross the streams” with the entirely separate universe established in Answer the Call, but there’s no denying it could be great fun if done right. One of the few things Paul Feig’s film succeeds at is some of the characters.

'Ghostbusters Answer the Call' poster
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Kristen Wiig’s Erin Gilbert is easily the most interesting of the four, while Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann epitomizes the Ghostbusters in the same way Egon Spengler (Maurice LaMarche) does in the animated series The Real Ghostbusters (1986 — 1991).

And then there’s the villain Rowan (Neil Casey). Despite lacking imagination, as he’s essentially a crossover of the iconic Ghostbusters logo ghost and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, he’s still somehow a half-decent villain who is, at the very least, aesthetically pleasing.

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

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Answer the Call also hints at the Ghostbusters Multiverse a couple of times. Firstly, Slimer makes an appearance, a character from the main series of films (and has also appeared everywhere in the wider franchise). And, more interestingly, a post-credits scene shows Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) listening to EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) when she hears the word “Zuul,” a reference, of course, to the character Zuul/the Gatekeeper from the 1984 film.

Is it possible the female Ghostbusters have somehow “tuned in” to the “prime” Ghostbusters dimension established in the original film?

Sigourney Weaver and RIck Moranis in 'Ghostbusters' 1984
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’ Trailer Breakdown

The idea of introducing even a single character from such a hated film in Frozen Empire feels like an enormous and unnecessary gamble. It also runs the risk of alienating fans who remain in total opposition to the 2016 film. That said, it could help restore unity in the fanbase while adopting a trend that has served many films well in recent years.

Bringing back Andrew Garfield’s version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man certainly didn’t do Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) any harm, and the two films he previously appeared in, The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), can hardly be described as fan-favorites out of all the Spidey flicks we’ve had.

The firehouse being frozen over in the 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire' trailer
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: ‘Ghostbusters’ Finally Makes Unpopular Installment Canon With Main Film Series

The difference between The Amazing Spider-Man and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, though, is that fans never had a problem with Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker. The reboot’s Ghostbusters, on the other hand, were part of the problem for many.

Simply put, many fans didn’t find them that funny or interesting. There’s also some bad blood between Leslie Jones and Afterlife director/Frozen Empire co-writer Jason Reitman — at least from her side — as she recently slammed him in her book, Leslie F***ing Jones: A Memoir (2023).

Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy looking disappointed in 'Ghostbusters: Answer the Call'
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: ‘Ghostbusters 4’ Could Be Gearing Up to Open the Multiverse

With all that said, characters from the reboot are likely to appear in the video game Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed (2022), the direct sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife that stars Ernie Hudson and Dan Aykroyd as Winston Zeddemore and Ray Stantz, respectively.

Since its release last year, the game has had DLCs (downloadable content) that have featured The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters cosmetics/”skins” that were added to character customization to allow players to resemble iconic characters from those shows.

Even the villain Samhain from the cartoon was recently added in a new campaign mode.

Given its track record with dipping its hands into the wider Ghostbusters franchise, we wouldn’t be surprised if the game sees the return of the female characters from Answer the Call, whether as a cameo or more cosmetics that form part of the character customization.

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

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As per Sony Pictures, here’s the synopsis for Ghostbusters: Answer the Call:

Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return with Director Paul Feig’s unique and hilarious take on the classic, supernatural comedy, led by the freshest minds in comedy today, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth.  Together they team-up to save Manhattan from a sudden invasion of spirits, spooks and slime that engulfs the city. Robert Abele of TheWrap says, “This new A-team of Ghostbusters are fresh and funny.”

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call stars Kristen Wiig (Erin Gilbert), Melissa McCarthy (Abby Yates), Leslie Jones (Patty Tolan), Kate McKinnon (Jillian Holtzmann), Chris Hemsworth (Kevin Beckman), and cameos from original Ghostbusters icons Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson, all of whom play new characters.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire will be released in theaters on March 29, 2024.

Would you like to see the female Ghostbusters from the 2016 reboot appear in Frozen Empire? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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