‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’: Why the Sequel Should Copy ‘Spider-Man’

For decades, the Ghostbusters franchise has been facing something of an identity crisis. The 1984 original hit spawned a 1989 sequel. But after that, fans waited nearly 30 years for a new movie. And needless to say, the 2016 reboot wasn’t exactly what some fans were hoping for. Now the Ghostbusters series is back on track. So it’s the perfect time for Sony to try something bold. Here’s why they should look to their recent Spider-Man movies.

‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ successfully relaunched the franchise

Like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World before it, Ghostbusters: Afterlife found that the best way forward was to go back. The story saw nearly the complete surviving cast of the original film reprise their roles. And by reintroducing the founding Ghostbusters, the series is finally able to give a proper farewell to both Egon Spengler and the actor who played him, the late Harold Ramis.

While the movie’s critics maintain that Ghostbusters: Afterlife leans too heavily on the past — particularly in its third act — it’s hard to argue with the results. Love it or hate it, the movie had its desired effect. At the box office, it matched the domestic total of the 2016 reboot at nearly half the production budget. Now an announced sequel promises to build on that, but the time for revisiting the past is over.

Sony should apply a ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ approach

Ghostbusters: Afterlife ties back into the original movie so much that fans wondered whether Ghostbusters II remained canon. Director Jason Reitman confirmed it is and even told The Playlist that future movies could bring back Vigo the Carpathian. After what its predecessor does, such a decision would only hurt the future of the Ghostbusters franchise. But Sony — which produces the series — doesn’t have to look far for inspiration.

Instead of another redo, Ghostbusters should tap into another trend sweeping Hollywood: the multiverse. The idea of an infinite number of parallel dimensions has, of course, mainly entered the public consciousness thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. More specifically, Sony’s own Spider-Man: No Way Home epitomized it. But it also extends to other popular movies such as 2022 breakout Everything Everywhere All At Once. And it fits here too.

What the untitled ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ sequel should do

For the longest time, the rumored Ghostbusters III intended to introduce a new team of ‘busters. But the ending of Ghostbusters: Afterlife and the upcoming Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed video game hint at much bigger things than just one set of heroes. Introducing the multiverse into the movies would allow for the existence of new teams of Ghostbusters as a dimensional rift threatens to expose innocent civilians to a hell dimension overrun with ghosts.

The 2016 Ghostbusters arguably set the stage for such a collision. During the mid-credits scene, Patty (Leslie Jones) receives a transmission about Gozer. What if this isn’t about that team facing a new version of Gozer but ties back to the one Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) defeated in Ghostbusters: Afterlife? Perhaps the events of that movie caused some dimensional infiltration, one that opens up the movies to a new world of infinite possibilities.


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