There is always a ton of energy in the air at New York Comic Con, but it was exceptionally flowing at the panel for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The packed Empire Room at the Javits Center in New York was swarming with Ghostbusters fans in t-shirts, masks, jumpsuits and dozens of homemade cosplay proton packs. Young, old and even infants were on hand for a panel to discuss the very under wraps, long delayed sequel to the beloved 1984 film. It was almost poetic – generations of Ghostbusters fans in attendance to listen to a father son team (director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman) talk about a film centered around a new generation of Ghostbusters. This was not a panel, this was a family event.
And what’s a family get together without an unexpected guest? And that guest came from Sony Pictures in the form of a screening. After originally promising only some Afterlife clips, Jason Reitman stunned the audience with an announcement they would be seeing the complete film in its entirety. He dropped the big news by saying, “It’s been a while since we started making this film and you all are the most patient fans on Earth. Frankly, my father and I think you’ve waited long enough.” And, as expected, the crowd went nuts – cheers, clapping, whistles, screams and even some tears.
To Reitman it was important for audiences to see the long-delayed film as fans did the original, back in 1984. “I love streaming as much as anybody else, it certainly got me through the pandemic,” said a very sincere Reitman. “But I love movies, we wanted to make a movie that would be enjoyed like this with an incredible audience, popcorn and great sound.”
The panel, in addition to the Rietmans, included cast member Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, and writer Gil Kenan. Each told their stories about how they got involved in the film. It is understandable that being in Ghostbusters film took a while to sink in. But one thing that echoed throughout all the conversation and it was best summed up by Wolfhard, “The most amazing part about be a part of this franchise is the legacy behind it. You feel like you’re actually part of a family.”
The Reitmans were dedicated to making a news Ghostbusters film that felt like a natural extension of the original which had them working side by side, literally. Jason explained what the father/son dynamic was like on set. “Our director’s chairs were closer than they are right now. They were literally touching. That was wonderful…most of the time.” Even if some moments had him biting his tongue to avoid saying, “but, Dad,” – something that does not typically go over so well on set, he joked. Jokes aside, you could sense their respect for each other. There was even a sweet moment many missed. As some of the cast were speaking Ivan pat Jason on the back. A moment of true fatherly pride.
As Afterlife ended and the credits rolled, the audience too seemed like part of that Ghostbusters family as they hugged, smiled and wiped away tears. Ghostbusters holds a special place in my heart. It was the first VHS my family ever rented and it made an impact on a young me. In an odd way, I am kind of protective of it. By the end of the screening any concerns were completely forgotten. I saw the future of the franchise. A future I cannot wait to share it with my daughters..
Read our review of Ghostbusters: Afterlife here.