Sony’s long-awaited Ghostbusters sequel has its first trailer, and the sneak peek at July 2020’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife is packed with references to the people, places, and yes, ghosts, of the first two films in the iconic franchise. While some of the nostalgic elements are fairly obvious — from the reveal of the ECTO-1 to the original Ghostbusters’ ghost trap, proton packs, and other gear — there are also a few subtle call-backs to the franchise’s canon that hardcore fans will certainly appreciate.
Here are some of the moments you might have missed in the Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer.
Symmetrical book stacking!
Around the :44 mark in the trailer, just after Paul Rudd’s character describes the strange, earthquake-like disturbances affecting the town, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard’s character) and his family are shown experiencing one such event at their farmhouse. His mother (Carrie Coon) orders everyone to get under the kitchen table for safety, but before they run out of the room, several towers of stacked books can be see in the background of the room.
In the original Ghostbusters, the team investigates a spirit haunting Manhattan’s famous New York Public Library. One of the first pieces of supernatural evidence they encounter are similarly stacked sets of books, prompting Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) to exclaim, “Symmetrical book stacking! Just like the Philadelphia Mass Turbulence of 1947!”
About halfway through the trailer, Phoebe — the bespectacled character played by McKenna Grace — is shown exploring an underground laboratory seemingly hidden beneath an old shed. She slides down a firehouse pole (another call-back to the original film and Ghostbusters’ firehouse headquarters) to get into the secret bunker, and the camera then reveals a host of familiar objects from franchise lore stored in the room she discovers, including one of the proton packs the team wore. One of the shots also provides an early clue regarding the identity of their grandfather and why all of this stuff is hidden in his house.
During the 1984 film, Ghostbusters receptionist Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) attempts to engage with Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) by asking him about his hobbies. He responds by telling her he collects “spores, molds, and fungus.” And that — spores, molds, and fungus — just happens to be what’s in the petri dishes the camera pans over at the 1:23 mark.
Ivo Shandor, we presume?
Shortly after revealing that Trevor and Phoebe’s grandfather is Egon Spengler — confirmed via a shot of his old Ghostbusters uniform — the trailer shows Phoebe and her pal visiting the Shandor Mining Co. That name should raise a few flags for fans of the original film and 2009’s canonical Ghostbusters: The Video Game, as it’s clearly a reference to Ivo Shandor, the leader of the Cult of Gozer. In the first film, Shandor was revealed to be the architect of the building at 550 Central Park West that was intended to be a conduit for the god Gozer to enter our world.
Shandor was a major figure in the original film and even more so in the 2009 game, which had the Ghostbusters discover that the Manhattan building wasn’t the only tool the deranged engineer had created to harness paranormal power. It stands to reason that Egon’s decision to move to the small Oklahoma town could have something to do with the abandoned mining shaft that bears Shandor’s name, and now his grandchildren must finish what he started.
An ugly little spud
Late in the trailer, after the kids get the ECTO-1 rolling and discover that it has a gunner seat (and after we’re treated to the sound of Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman uttering one of his many memorable, and in this case, scene-appropriate lines), the new team is shown racing down the street, proton packs blazing, in pursuit of a ghost. That ghost looks awfully familiar, too.
Although it probably isn’t the same, specific ghost from the first film that came to be known as “Slimer,” it certainly appears to be from the same family of spectral nuisance. The 1984 movie classifies that particular type of ghost as a “focused non-terminal repeating phantasm” or “Class 5 full-roaming vapor,” but anyone who ends up on the receiving end of their anger will probably prefer Venkman’s more on-the-nose description of the messy spirit: “An ugly little spud.”
Ghostbusters: Afterlife hits theaters July 10, 2020.
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