Fans of Ghostbusters: Afterlife are scratching their heads at the film’s post-credit scene and its implications for possible sequels. (Spoilers follow.)
There were actually two scenes that played after the main film ended, including a cute mid-credit scene where Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman and Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett play with Peter’s ESP cards and shock machine as they did in the first film. However, this time the roles were reversed with Dana giving the shocks and Peter being her subject for study.
However, in the much more teaser-centric post-credit scene, we learn Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddemore is now a wealthy businessman with a family who has purchased the now-abandoned former New York headquarters, restores the ECTO-1, and returns it to the iconic Manhattan firehouse that fans are familiar with as being the Ghostbusters base in the first films.
This seems to imply that Winston is restarting the exterminator-like business which was the focus of the rags-to-riches tale of a ragtag team of academic outcasts and blue-collar workers of the first film.
The final shot of the film, as We Got This Covered reported on Friday, shows a red light blinking at the firehouse’s Ecto-Containment Unit, a stationary device meant to serve as the permanent container for the ghosts deposited from the characters’ traps.
So this all leads us to question just what this scene might mean for the franchise’s future.
While it’s safe to say we may see a new generation team perhaps taking up the mantle of the business, under the auspices of Ernie in New York City, there are also some seemingly easy-to-miss broader implications as well.
For instance, in a somewhat throw-away-sounding line earlier in the movie, when Peter first introduces himself in the film, he says something to the effect of, “We’re from the home office.”
While that may sound like a one-off joke, the post-credit scene certainly gives that line more weight. It may imply that future installments of the film will see Winston’s business becoming a national — or even international — chain, for instance, with the “home office” being in New York City, as Beyond The Trailer pointed out.
“Since the Ghostbusters ran their organization like a business from day one, which was such a fun part of the movie, it makes perfect scenes that they’d have chapters not just across the country, but maybe across the globe,” the YouTube channel’s host and creator Grace Randolph speculated. “Wow! that means maybe in another movie or streaming show, we can explore all sorts of Ghostbusters — again, all over the globe. There are obviously great ghost stories in every country.”
This possible direction of the film franchise would certainly be an intriguing one and makes us wonder if the glowing red bulb of the Containment Unit in future installments might signal a rogue Sadako or The Grudge-style J-horror ghost at a Ghostbusters Tokyo chapter, for instance. Or perhaps a Babadook or a Krampus creature wreaking havoc in other towns across the globe in future movies or shows.
In addition, wouldn’t it be great to at one point in a future Ghostbusters film see a rogue’s gallery of different monsters duking it out in a secret bunker a la Cabin in the Woods? Perhaps an epic crossover battle in a global metropolis like New York or Tokyo would be a more appropriate place for the ghouls to come out and play when it comes to the Ghostbusters franchise, however.
What’s more, just what was wrestling underneath the hood of the New York Containment Unit causing it to flash a red warning light? Perhaps a follow-up film will see the return of Gozer and its minions, a redux of Ghostbuster 2‘s Vigo, or maybe even Ghostbusters 2016’s genuinely creepy Gertrude Aldridge in a multiverse crossover type deal. Or perhaps the new baddie may just be an original creation.
While we wait to see what the future holds, you can catch Ghostbusters: Afterlife in theaters now.