Ghostbusters: Afterlife Trailer Easter Egg Reveals Ties to Original Movie Villain

The first full trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife hints at ties to Gozer, villain of the 1984 original movie. Following the death of founding Ghostbuster Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), his family — struggling single mother Callie (Carrie Coon), her science whiz daughter Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and gearhead son Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) — relocate to an aged estate in the sleepy mining town of Summerville, Oklahoma, site of a “creepy old farmhouse” filled with long-forgotten Ghostbuster equipment. The trailer shows Phoebe and her classmate (Logan Kim) entering property owned by the Shandor Mining Company, referencing a character mentioned by Spengler in the original Ghostbusters.

When the Ghostbusters realized 550 Central Park West — home to hauntee Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) — was being used as a super-conductive antenna to summon Gozer the Destructor, Egon revealed research identifying the building’s architect as Ivo Shandor.

As Egon told it, Shandor was a doctor who performed “a lot of unnecessary surgery” before establishing his own secret society in 1920. (In Afterlife, we see a sign for the Shandor Mining Co., established 1927.)

Ghostbusters Afterlife Shandor Mining Co
(Photo: Sony Pictures)

Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) correctly identified Shandor’s society as Gozer worshippers, and Egon noted Shandor decided society was “too sick to survive” after the first World War. Shandor had “close to a thousand followers” when he died, and the cult conducted bizarre rituals atop the Shandor Building “intended to bring about the end of the world.” That world-ending disaster was only prevented by the intervention of the Ghostbusters, who saved New York in the Manhattan Crossrip of 1984.

Afterlife appears to hint Egon relocated to Oklahoma to investigate the same strange seismic activity that catches the notice of seismologist and part time summer school teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd), who reports it's been 30 years since the last ghost sighting — likely referring to the events of 1989's Ghostbusters II.

Ghostbusters Afterlife Ivo Shandor mine
(Photo: Sony Pictures)

As Grooberson says in the trailer, “Somehow, the town that isn’t anywhere near a tectonic plate, that has no fault lines, no fracking, no loud music, even — is shaking on a daily basis.” It’s these mysterious earthquakes that bring Grooberson to Summerville, and the town’s history with Shandor suggests the glowy green paranormal happenings spotted throughout the trailer are tied to Gozer or the Cult of Gozer. (Another hint: Grooberson’s encounter with what appears to be one of Gozer’s demonic, dog-like minions.)

Afterlife Gozer dog
(Photo: Sony Pictures)

Shandor appeared in the not-flesh when acting as the main villain in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, scripted by Ghostbusters co-creators Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. Shandor, dubbed “The Architect” in The Video Game, returned in 1991 when the presence of Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn, Shandor’s last-surviving descendent, accidentally triggered the release of thousands of new ghosts and brought about the return of Gozer in his destructor form for the second time. Appearing in his own destructor form within the spirit world, Shandor was seemingly destroyed when the Ghostbusters crossed the streams of their proton packs.

It remains to be seen if Afterlife treats The Video Game, once seen as Ghostbusters 3, as canon. Aykroyd once said The Video Game is “essentially the third movie,” long before Jason Reitman created his sequel to Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II.

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Afterlife “takes the real DNA from the first two movies and transfers that directly to the third, the next generation,” Aykroyd told The Greg Hill Show in November, adding the new movie “hands the legacy off to a new generation of stars, and players, and actors, and characters.”

Ghostbusters: Afterlife opens July 10, 2020. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.