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GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE Trailer Is Surprisingly Serious

Next year’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be the third film in the original franchise’s story. It’s a followup to 1989’s Ghostbusters 2, and not the 2016 reboot. But based on the first trailer, we shouldn’t expect to see our favorite ‘busters running around New York City with their proton packs. This time, the story is headed to “the middle of nowhere,” far from the bright lights of the Big Apple. But that’s a perfect place for a new generation of heroes to be when things start getting spooky. Their grandfather, one Egon Spengler, left them everything they need to take up the mantle at their creepy new house. And the Spengler grandchildren seem ready to answer the call.

“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 sad death of the great Harold Ramis in 2014 seemed to officially mark the end of a long-rumored, long-discussed Ghostbusters 3 ever getting made. Egon Spengler was one of the founding members of the group, and Harold Ramis had written the original two films with Dan Aykroyd. It didn’t seem possible—and maybe not even right—to tell another story without him or his character.

This trailer shows the film is very much aware of the giant hole his absence created. And it is leaning into it to make his presence felt. Everything here focuses on Egon’s family, especially his young grandchildren who discover his past work. (They also discover his past technology, which is definitely not safe for kids.) We don’t know if this approach will result in a successful film. It does seem like a smart way to connect this chapter of the story with the previous two installments though.

However, there is something missing from this trailer that is conspicuous in its absence: humor. Ghostbusters is an action-comedy franchise, and the first two movies are as funny as they are exciting. This trailer however is mostly somber, emotional, and intense. Even beyond Finn Wolfhard’s presence, this feels more like a Stranger Things-inspired film than it does a Ghostbusters movie. That might not be a bad thing, especially if this ends up resembling a classic Steven Spielberg kid-led adventure. But it an unexpected approach for the film’s first promo.

Of course, you probably don’t cast Paul Rudd unless you want some humor in your movie, so we doubt Afterlife will end up being quite as serious as this first promo. Plus Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts will also return for the film, so we aren’t that worried about the movie not being fun.

The film is directed by Jason Reitman, the son of Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two films in the franchise. Jason also co-wrote the script with Gil Kenan (director City of Ember). It also stars Carrie Coon and McKenna Grace. Ghostbusters: Afterlife, with the help of Egon’s grandkids, will answer the call in theaters in the summer of 2020.

Featured Image: Sony