Ahead of the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, audiences knew that they would see the appearances of original stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson, but with the passing of actor Harold Ramis in 2014, fans were expecting the film to serve more as an honorary tribute than have his Egon Spengler actually make an appearance. While fans saw an obscured Spengler in the film's opening sequence, in which he is killed by a ghost, the film's finale also saw the likeness of Ramis appear to lend assistance not only to his former allies, but also his daughter and grandchildren as they faced nefarious spirits. Afterlife director Jason Reitman recently detailed the approach for the sequence and getting approvals from Ramis' family.
"The first person that ever read the script was my father, and after my father it was the Ramis family. It was Harold's widow, Erica, and daughter Violet, who I grew up knowing -- we were both on the set of the original back in '83," Reitman detailed to Empire Magazine. "I talked to them about what we wanted to do, how we were going to do it. They came to set, and they viewed visual effects that came to the editing room. They're the first people to ever actually see the movie. So they were part of this movie from start to finish and I think they were aware of how much I wanted to honor Harold. Egon was my favorite Ghostbuster. This is a Spengler story, and this movie is dedicated to him in every way."
He added, "So the real question was how do we pull this off? Anyone who enjoys movies has now seen examples of virtual characters that really work and virtual characters that are difficult to look at. It's one thing to see in the middle of a movie, where it kind of comes and goes. It's another thing if the whole climax of the movie will be decided on whether or not you believe these two people are hugging each other, that a daughter is forgiving her father and saying goodbye to him. And that these Ghostbusters, who have gone through this misunderstanding and been broken apart, get to stand next to each other one more time and bust a ghost."
Reactions to the cameo were somewhat mixed, with some fans thinking it marked an emotional and fitting sendoff for the beloved character while others were disappointed to see visual effects attempting to capture the actor's presence. Regardless of how effective the scene was, knowing that those closest to Ramis seemingly supported the sequence will likely alleviate some concerns about the appearance not being sanctioned.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife hits Digital HD on January 4, 2022 and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD on February 1, 2022.
What did you think of the cameo? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars.