Ghostbusters: Afterlife Director Jason Reitman Addresses Whether Ghostbusters II Is Actually Canon

For many long-running film franchises, it's become a thing now where the latest sequel and/or soft reboot often chooses to overlook previous installments, drawing a line between its narrative and the first or second movie and skipping over everything thereafter. "Terminator: Dark Fate" did it, as did the 2018 "Halloween" (and "Halloween H20," for that matter). They were talking about doing it with Neil Blomkamp's abortive "Alien" sequel, and there are older examples, too, like "Superman Returns," where the movie tried to pretend those other movies in the series didn't happen.

The 2016 "Ghostbusters," retroactively labeled "Ghostbusters: Answers the Call," was more of a hard reboot that started things over completely, and had actors from the original movie cameoing as different characters. Since "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is returning to the continuity of the original 1984 film, it will ignore "Answer the Call." The question is, will it ignore "Ghostbusters II"?

In an interview with Uproxx, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" director Jason Reitman responded to a question about why the Ectomobile — which Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) brought to Oklahoma with him — no longer features the ghost holding up two fingers, as it did in "Ghostbusters II." Is it because they're scrubbing that lesser-regarded film from the record? Reitman replied:

"No, Ghostbusters II [is] definitely canon. There are references to Ghostbusters II in Afterlife. We meet Ray working at Ray's Occult. The toaster from Ghostbusters II is in the kitchen in the farmhouse. There's actually lots of lost Ghostbusters II details but nobody knows Ghostbusters II outside of Vigo the Carpathian and the Ghostbusters II logo. So there's this assumption that it is not canon but it is definitely canon."

The Reitman Legacy

Honestly, it's not that surprising to hear Reitman say that "Ghostbusters II" is canon, since his own father, Ivan Reitman, directed it. Both Reitmans were on hand in New York recently for the dedication of the Ivan Reitman Cinema, the alternate name of Alamo Drafthouse's new Lower Manhattan location.

Paul Feig directed "Answer the Call," but otherwise, the "Ghostbusters" series is a family affair, with Ivan Reitman directing the first two films and his son, Jason, the director of "Juno" and "Up in the Air," taking the reins of "Afterlife."

Reviews of "Afterlife" have been mixed-to-positive, about on par with the ones "Answer the Call" received half a decade ago. There was no shortage of controversy surrounding that film and its women-led cast, but at least it was trying something new. With "Afterlife," the most common criticism going around seems to be that it leans too hard on nostalgia for the original in a way that some find pandering and others endearing.

You can see it this weekend, complete with Muncher and mini Stay-Puft marshmallow men, and judge for yourself. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" stars Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim, Carrie Coon, and Paul Rudd, with appearances by returning cast members Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts. The movie is in theaters now.