Ghostbusters: Afterlife – release date, cast, trailer and returning cast members

Everything you need to know about the sequel's delayed release date, cast and which original Ghostbusters are due to star.

Ghostbusters

A new generation is about to answer the call as Ghostbusters: Afterlife is now playing in cinemas, seeing the descendants of Egon Spengler take on an epic paranormal event in the sleepy town of Summerville, Oklahoma.

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Director Jason Reitman, son of the original film’s helmer Ivan, has enlisted the talents of rising stars Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard for this soft reboot, while Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon appear as the adult leads.

Coon plays a single mother who is forced to move across the country when she and her kids are evicted from their previous home, but something good might well come out of the trouble.

An advance clip from the movie, available below, alludes to a blossoming romance between Callie Spengler (Coon) and Summerville school teacher Gary Grooberson (Rudd), with the two sharing an awkward exchange at the late Egon’s dilapidated farmhouse.

For Ghostbusters purists, of which there are many, Reitman has also reunited the surviving members of the original cast, with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver all confirmed to be appearing.

Read on for everything you need to know about Ghostbusters: Afterlife, including release date, cast, trailer and connections to the original films.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife release date

Time to answer the call! Ghostbusters: Afterlife is out now in the UK, with Sony Pictures releasing the film exclusively to cinemas on Thursday 18th November 2021.

The film had originally been intended for release all the way back in July 2020, but was delayed three times as the film industry grappled with international lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s not yet known when the film will be available to watch online via on-demand services, but several recent blockbusters have followed a shorter theatrical window of approximately 45 days, so Afterlife could follow suit – watch this space.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife cast

The Ghostbusters: Afterlife cast is led by two Hollywood rising stars: Captain Marvel’s McKenna Grace, aged 15, as science-obsessed Phoebe and Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard, 18, as her on-screen brother, Trevor.

The adult lead role goes to Carrie Coon, known for recent roles in Fargo, The Sinner and Avengers: Infinity War, who will play the kids’ mother, Callie Spengler.

The family are the descendants of one of the original Ghostbusters characters, Egon Spengler, who was played by the late Harold Ramis in the first two films.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a family affair both in front of and behind the camera, as director Jason Reitman is the son of Ivan Reitman, who helmed the first two films.

Acknowledging this special connection, Jason shared a photo of himself, his father and his three main stars to Twitter as filming got underway in July 2019, with the caption: “The Family’s All Here”.

Comedy star Paul Rudd (Ant-Man and the Wasp) will also star in the film as high school teacher Mr Grooberson, who will presumably be responsible for keeping Phoebe and Trevor out of trouble.

In another continuity nod, it has been confirmed that Mr Grooberson witnessed the events of the first film as a child in New York, where a giant Marshmallow Man rampaged across the city (an incident referred to as the “Manhattan Crossrip”).

Rudd’s involvement was confirmed by the Ghostbusters official Twitter account, which shared a video of the actor in front of the iconic firehouse featured in the franchise.

“When I heard they were going to call me, well, as you can imagine, I nearly slimed myself,” he says. “I can’t wait to join the cast this fall for Ghostbusters. In fact, I’m sliming myself right now.”

Producer Ivan Reitman told ET Online about Rudd’s role: “He’s a seismologist who’s come to this small town because they’ve been having mysterious earthquakes. He’s also teaching summer school there and he’s extraordinarily funny.”

The supporting cast includes another Fargo alum, Bokeem Woodbine, as Sheriff Domingo, while Celeste O’Connor (Freaky) plays his daughter, Lucky.

Oliver Cooper (Red Oaks) and Tracy Letts (The Woman in the Window) will also appear.

Which original Ghostbusters stars will appear?

Ghostbusters (1984) original cast
Ghostbusters (1984) original cast (L-R) Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson
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Long-time Ghostbusters fans were thrilled to hear that the reboot will include roles for the original cast of the franchise, although it’s not yet clear how prominent they will be.

Sigourney Weaver was first to confirm her return as Dana Barrett back in 2019, letting slip that Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson were also reprising their roles after telling Parade: “It’s going to be crazy working with the guys again.”

Ernie Hudson and Dan Aykroyd will be reprising their roles as Winston Zeddemore and Ray Stantz respectively, while Bill Murray and Annie Potts will also be returning.

In November 2019, Aykroyd confirmed that the original cast had shot all their scenes for the film (via The Greg Hill Show), describing his experience working on the project as “really exciting”.

Later, he told Parade: “It was completely unanticipated. But Jason took our reputation and the value of Ghostbusters to a completely new level. It’s a story that works on the page and works on the screen just beautifully. I think this is going to be big, and if I’m wrong, then I’m going to throw away 35 years of experience in the comedy business.”

Harold Ramis, who played Dr Egon Spengler, passed away in 2014, but his beloved role will remain a big part of Afterlife, as the film introduces the character’s daughter and grandchildren.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife plot

The new film follows single mother-of-two Callie, who inherits a property in Oklahoma from the father she never knew (who turns out to be one of the original Ghostbusters crew).

Mckenna Grace plays her science-obsessed daughter Phoebe, while Finn Wolfhard plays her petrolhead son, who will find themselves facing off against frightening ghouls when a supernatural phenomena begins to shake the town of Summerville.

“As the family arrives at an old farm, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters,” director Jason Reitman, son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan, told Vanity Fair. “Trevor and Phoebe are about to find out who their grandfather was and whether they’re ready to pick up the proton pack themselves.”

Trevor will discover the retro ambulance-turned-ghostbuster-car, while Phoebe will “find a device that reads psychokinetic energy,” an instantly recognisable tool of the trade from the original film.

The only question is whether Trevor and Phoebe will decide to go into the family business.

Read more:

Will there be a sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife?

It looks like Afterlife isn’t intended to be the boiler-suit boys’ last outing, as the film’s director Jason Reitman hinted in June that he has plans for a fourth film in the franchise.

“I can’t tell you anything, but we are working on another instalment,” he said, speaking on Josh Gad’s Reunited Apart YouTube series.

Original Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd, who plays Dr Ray Stantz in the franchise, echoed this sentiment, telling Entertainment Weekly that Afterlife “feeds into the possibility of more follow-ups with this group and with others who want to join”.

Why does Ghostbusters: Afterlife ignore the Ghostbusters reboot?

Ghostbusters (2016) cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones
Ghostbusters (2016) cast (L-R) Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones
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Ghostbusters: Afterlife will not acknowledge the 2016 reboot from director Paul Feig, instead returning to the continuity of the first two films, both released in the 1980s.

This move is most likely a response to the financial performance of the reboot, which featured a team comprised of Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy.

Feig himself admitted to Vulture that the film would need a sturdy box office gross of $500 million to be considered profitable, but ended up making less than half of that worldwide.

As a result, The Hollywood Reporter estimated that the film would make a $70 million loss for its financiers, eradicating any hopes for a sequel from its defenders.

Nevertheless, star Leslie Jones condemned the decision to scrap the reboot’s continuity entirely, describing the move from Sony Pictures as “insulting” on Twitter.

In January 2019, the star tweeted: “So insulting. Like f**k us. We didn’t count. It’s like something trump would do. (Trump voice) ‘Gonna redo ghostbusteeeeers, better with men, will be huge. Those women ain’t ghostbusteeeeers’ ugh so annoying. Such a d**k move. And I don’t give f**k I’m saying something!!”

Who is directing Ghostbusters: Afterlife?

Jason Reitman, the son of the franchise’s original director Ivan Reitman, will helm the movie – and it seems that Reitman senior was rather emotional when seeing the final cut of the film.

“My father hasn’t been leaving the house much because of COVID, but he took a test, put on a mask and drove down to the Sony lot to watch the movie with the studio,” he told Empire back in January 2021.

“And after, he cried, and he said, ‘I’m so proud to be your father.’ And it was one of the great moments of my life.”

That the film has got Ivan’s rubber stamp will no doubt come as good news to Ghostbusters fans – and even better news is that it looks like this is by no means the end of the road for the franchise.

“I want to see Ghostbusters movies from all of my favourite directors, and we hope that this movie sets the table for that,” Reitman recently explained at New York Comic-Con.

Reitman, whose previous films include Juno and Up In The Air, has co-written the Ghostbusters sequel with Gil Kenan, while his father Ivan is attached as a producer.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer

On November 8th 2021, Ghostbusters: Afterlife unveiled a final trailer ahead of the film’s release this month.

Fans will be thrilled to hear that the clip features the original cast members Murray, Aykroyd and Hudson as the famous ghost-busting trio, even if they do remain almost entirely off-screen.

The rest of the trailer focuses on the new cast, including Marvel star Paul Rudd, and a bunch of ghosts and monsters, including the Terror Dogs from the original Ghostbusters. Watch below.

In April 2021, Sony Pictures released an additional clip unleashing a new supernatural menace on the world – a miniature version of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man from the first film. Watch below.

Alongside trailers, there have been a number of promotional videos for Ghostbusters: Afterlife including an interview in which which director Reitman and his father discuss returning to the franchise.

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be released in UK cinemas on Thursday 18th November. Visit our Movies hub for more news and features, or find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide.