The Ghostbusters franchise returned in a massive way with last year’s Ghostbusters Afterlife. The film has been praised for respecting the late Ivan Reitman’s legendary films while still telling its own story. At its core, the film is a love letter to the fans and the franchise. Outside of returning cast members, there are countless callbacks hidden throughout. It could be a simple line or something hidden in the background for eagle-eyed viewers. There are plenty of reasons to revisit this movie, and spying all of the callbacks is a great one. From props from the first film to a ghost straight out of the animated series, here are 10 callbacks found in Ghostbusters Afterlife.
10. Ecto-1 Twinkie
Hearing the Ecto-1 roar back to life was a treat for fans of the series. Fans got the best look at the inside of the car in a live-action movie yet, as several scenes take place in the car. During one of these scenes, characters are snooping around, seeing what they can find. In addition to finding a gunner’s chair and an RC ghost trap, they also find a callback. In the glovebox, an old Twinkie still in wrapper can be seen. This is a throwback to a line from the first film. While explaining the ghost containment issue to Winston, Egon uses a Twinkie as a visual aid. This prompts Winston to state, “That’s a big Twinkie” While a simple Twinkie may not mean much to some, Ghostbusters fans know exactly what the filmmakers were going for.
9. Crunch Wrapper
This is a reference similar to the Twinkie one. While looking through her grandfather’s things, Phoebe discovers the classic uniforms seen throughout the Ghostbusters franchise. When she looks through Egon’s, she finds a Crunch bar wrapper in the front pocket. While this may seem like a simple joke implying Egon’s love for sweets, fans know there is more to this. The first film sees the guys discover ghosts are undeniably real after they encounter one in a library. While discussing it, Peter offers Egon a treat for doing a good job, saying, “Here….you’ve earned this.” That treat was, of course, a Crunch bar. This is a subtle reference, but one that hardcore fans picked up on instantly.
8. Stay Puft Aftermath
Perhaps one of the best know characters from the Ghostbusters franchise is the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man. Gozer tells the Ghostbusters to choose the form of their destructor, and Ray chooses to Stay Puft. He does this thinking a cute mascot will be harmless. After the several-story tall creature gets destroyed, the men are covered head to toe with marshmallow fluff. In Afterlife, Stay Puft makes a return, although in a different way. This time, the actual marshmallows form cute little Mini Pufts that cause mischief. In the climax, they are chewing through the wires of the Ecto-1. Podcast takes them out mostly off-screen. When he is shown, he is covered head to toe in marshmallow fluff like in the first film.
7. Stacked Books
This is a callback that is in the background and could be missed during a first viewing. Egon’s family is searching through his house after his daughter inherits it. While looking through his living room, a large pile of books can be stacked vertically in the background. In the original film, Egon, Ray, and Peter are investigating a ghost sighting at the New York Public Library. They come across a large pile of books stacked identically to the ones seen in Ghostbusters Afterlife, prompting Egon to remark only a ghost could have done it. This pile just further references what the audience already knows; there are some otherworldly things in that house.
6. Spores, Molds, and Fungus
Egon was a beloved yet odd character in the Ghostbusters franchise. This was all part of his charm. His awkward humor made him a perfect contrast to Ray’s over-excitement and Peter’s dry wit. Such examples include him revealing he unraveled his Slinky as a kid in Ghostbusters II. In the original film, Janine tries to get to know him by asking him what he does for fun. His response was, “I collect spores, molds, and fungus.” Ghostbusters Afterlife reveals this is all too true. Amongst his stuff seen in his hidden lab, Petri dishes are seen. These dishes each have a label referring to various spores, molds, and fungi. These dishes aren’t on screen very long, but observant fans got a kick out of it.
5. Not-So-Easy Chair
The opening of Ghostbusters Afterlife shows Egon dying after attempting to trap Gozer. He hides his traps and leaves his PKE meter for his family to find before, and sits in a chair to await his fate. Large claws grab him and pin him to his chair, making it impossible for him to escape. This seems to be a trademark for Gozer’s minions, as the same thing happens to Dana in the first movie. After being chosen to be the vessel for Zuul, she is pinned to her chair in a nearly identical way. This happens mere minutes into the film, so fans don’t need to wait very long for the callbacks to begin. The late Harold Ramis was obviously not present, but showing Egon put up a fight in his last moments was a good send-off to his character’s mortal inclusion in the film.
4. ” Are You A God”
The moment fans of the Ghostbusters franchise have been waiting for for over 30 years happens in the climax of Ghostbusters Afterlife. The original Ghostbusters suit up and take the revived Gozer on. After confronting their old foe, Gozer asks, “Are you a God?” to which Ray thinks for a moment before saying yes as the other two nods in agreement. In the first film, the men get asked the same question. Ray tells Gozer they aren’t gods and get zapped for their troubles. After getting back up, Winston says, “Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god you say YES.” It seems that Ray has learned his lesson since last time.
3. Ray’s Occult
In Ghostbusters Afterlife, Ray is the first of the original Ghostbusters to appear. While imprisoned, Pheobe recalls the original Ghostbusters ad she saw on Youtube. Taking a gamble, she dials the number from the ad. As luck would have it, the number is still in use and is now owned by Ray Stantz. Ray answers the phone and reveals the number is now the number for Ray’s Occult. There aren’t many callbacks to Ghostbusters II, but this is one of them. In that movie, the Ghostbusters have gone their separate ways. In addition to doing children’s parties with Winston, Ray owns a book store called, of course, Ray’s Occult. If this movie is canon to the rumored upcoming Ghostbusters game, perhaps fans will see a closer look at the store.
2. End of Days
Before Walter Peck causes the ghost containment unit to blow in the original movie, Ray and Winston are patrolling in the Ecto-1. They are talking about the recent surge of ghost sightings and are wondering if this could be a sign of the end of days. Ray references a specific Bible verse, which he says is Revelation’s 7:12 (it is actually 6:12). Ray quotes the verse as “And I looked as he opened the sixth seal, and behold there was a great earthquake, and the sun became as black as sackcloth, and the moon became as blood.” Winston finishes the quote as the two realize Judgment Day is upon them. It seems that decades later, Egon feels the same. In Ghostbusters Afterlife, the same verse (correctly attributed to Revelations 6:12 this time) is written on scrap metal outside his house, warning those who read it that something is coming.
1. Bug-Eye Ghost
This easter egg was a treat for fans of The Real Ghostbusters, the animated series released based on the film. The cartoon is a fun part of the Ghostbusters franchise had tons of creative ghosts designs that transferred to the equally successful toy line. One figure that is still fondly remembered is the Bug-eye ghost. The figure was a blob ghost with a giant third eye that pops out when the user squeezes it. This ghost makes a brief cameo appearance in Ghostbusters Afterlife. When goer rises, ghosts begin appearing throughout the town. The Bug-eye ghost appears for only a few seconds and has some brief design changes, but it is unquestionably the same ghost.