Ghostbusters: Afterlife Credits Scenes Explained

"Ghostbusters: Afterlife" arrives in theaters this weekend. Fans will have to decide for themselves how they feel about the franchise's revival after all these years (this longtime fan was sad to walk away disappointed), and they just might be the determining factor in whether or not the movie gets a sequel. Just in case, director Jason Reitman has included a couple credits scenes to tease the future of the franchise. Well, at least the post-credits scenes sets up a possible sequel. Meanwhile, the mid-credits scenes seems to mostly be an amusing goof that didn't fit anywhere else in the movie. 

The Mid-Credits Scene

After the flashy credits sequence has rolled featuring various blueprints and diagrams of the things Egon Spengler documented about the paranormal threat facing Summerville, Oklahoma and the rest of the world, there's a mid-credits scene that brings us back to New York. 

We're in what appears to be the apartment of Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver). It's not explicitly stated that the two are together, and Venkman could easily be paying a friendly visit. But Dana is wearing a wedding ring, and it only makes sense that these two rekindled their romance in the years since we last saw them in "Ghostbusters II," even if the sequel is largely ignored in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." You're telling me no one remembers the Statue of Liberty walking down the streets of New York? Okay, buddy. 

Anyway, Dana is holding up the psychic cards that Venkman used to test his students for telepathic abilities in the experiments that were heavily skewed in favor of the women. Venkman is the one doing the guessing this time, and he's hooked up to the machine that electrocuted students (usually the male students) if they got an answer wrong. Dana is impressed by Venkman's ability to guess the cards correctly. But that's when she realizes Venkman has cheated by marking the cards on the other side so he can determine what they are. After being shocked for the suspicion, he's shocked again when he reluctantly admits his deception on top of the fact that he never electrocuted the female students.

It's an amusing gag because it's lovely to see Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver together after all these years, and they still have the playful banter that makes us love them. However, I can't help but feel annoyed that this was the only way that they managed to get Sigourney Weaver into the movie. It's completely independent of the movie's narrative, it doesn't really do anything beyond revealing that Venkman and Dana are likely together. There had to be a better way to fit her into the movie. Even Venkman giving Dana a phone call after the movie's climax would have been preferable. 

Anyway, that brings us to the post-credits scene, which sets up a possible sequel. 

The Post-Credits Scene

The post-credits scene picks up after the final shot of the movie before the credits, where the Ecto-1 was seen returning to New York City. Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) promised the car he'd take care of her after seeing the state she'd fallen into after they saved the day and defeated Gozer the Gozerian (more on that right here). The post-credits scene finds him making good on that promise and more. 

But before we get to Winston, there's a "Ghostbusters" deleted scene that has been brought into the canon. In this scene, we see 1984-era Egon (Harold Ramis) and Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts). In the scene, Janine gives Egon her lucky coin from the 1964 World's Fair at Flushing Meadow. Suddenly we cut to present day where the aged Janine looks fondly at the coin. We find her in the office building of Winston, and as we learned from Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) earlier in the movie, he's become a billionaire businessman. 

Winston tells Janine that the time he spent with the Ghostbusters reminded him that he had the "tools and the talent" (yet another reference to the original movie) to be a better man than he'd become. He says that no matter what he's achieved over the years, he'll always be a Ghostbuster. Using his fortune, Winston paid off the debt left behind by Egon Spengler, which should leave his surviving family in a much better position. However, it's what he's possibly planning to do that's more interesting.

We see Winston arriving at the old Ghostbusters headquarters, which hasn't been turned into a Starbucks as Ray mentioned earlier in the movie. He drives the Ecto-1 into its home and takes a stroll through the abandoned building. Meanwhile, in the basement, the containment unit that caused the Manhattan Crossrip of 1984 (thanks to Walter Peck) has a red light that's blinking. That would seem to indicate that there are still some ghosts that might need to be dealt with, and it could be on the verge of another major paranormal event. 

What Does This Mean for the Future of Ghostbusters?

This would seem to imply that there's still work that needs to be done, and that Winston might be on the verge of putting together a new team of Ghostbusters. If that's the plan for the sequel, does that mean Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) would be involved? Perhaps Winston paying off Egon's debt might allow them to come back to New York City.

Personally, I'm not sure how I feel about this. If there's a way to pass the torch that doesn't require the whole team to stick around, then the franchise could perhaps continue easily. That was always the intention of the various sequels that have been developed over the years, with the original team passing the torch to a new team of Ghostbusters. But Bill Murray was always the holdout when it came time to get the band back together to properly hand off the proton packs and neutrona wands. 

Perhaps now a new team can be assembled with today's best comic talent and keep the "Ghostbusters" franchise alive. But it probably depends on the box office turnout for "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" this weekend. There's a whole production company called Ghost Corps. on the Sony Pictures lot that is likely hoping to continue the franchise in some way, and if "Afterlife" is successful, then it opens up plenty of possibility. If that's the case, hopefully it won't take another 30 years for them to figure out how to do it.