Every Ghostbusters: Afterlife Main Character Ranked Worst To Best

The development of the "Ghostbusters" franchise has been fascinating to watch unfold. Ivan Reitman's 1984 original is one of the rare movies that could be described as "perfect." How could you possibly combine fantasy, broad comedy, horror, satire, sharp dialogue, improv, and the strong personalities of the cast into a comprehensive 105 minutes? Not every beloved classic of the '80s holds up in a modern context, but "Ghostbusters" has proven it can stand the test of time.

Expectations were certainly high for "Ghostbusters II," but unfortunately the 1989 follow up just couldn't live up to the sky-high expectations. It's hardly the disaster that comedy sequels like "Caddyshack II," "Airplane II," or "Men in Black II" were, but it's unquestionably a major step down in quality. Bill Murray himself admitted he feels like he was tricked into returning.

The development of a third film was laborious, and several different concepts for the new installment were floated. Eventually, "Freaks and Geeks" and "Bridesmaids" veteran Paul Feig was hired to develop a straight remake that followed four new scientists who "answer the call," played by Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. The film was met with a nasty backlash from sexist so-called "fans," but regardless of the unfair controversy, the film underperformed. It simply didn't present anything new to the "Ghostbusters" mythology and lost around $75 million.

The latest sequel from director Jason Reitman aims to turn things around with a new approach. Here are the main characters in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," ranked worst to best.

12. Dana Barrett

Fans of "Ghostbusters" have been waiting a long time for a great sequel, so they might as well stay through the end credits as well. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" offers a reason to stick around, as several fun post-credit scenes show the further adventures of some of the returning cast members. While Ray, Peter, and Winston are incorporated directly within the story, Sigourney Weaver's Dana Barrett doesn't pop up until the ending stinger.

In her cameo appearance, Weaver reunites with Murray as Dana and Venkman rekindle their relationship. One of the most humorous gags from the original "Ghostbusters" film was Venkman's shock machine, in which he would "test" his students' psychic abilities by hooking them up to a lie detector as they attempted to guess the identity of playing cards. Venkman would only electrocute the men while flirting with the women. Dana gives Venkman a taste of his own medicine and hooks him up to his own invention, finally giving the mischievous professor the shock he deserves.

11. Sheriff Domingo

The "Ghostbusters" franchise is renowned for uniting the best and brightest comedic talents in the industry, and the cast isn't limited exclusively to megastars. Great character actors are also essential, and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" features a fun appearance by the singular Bokeem Woodbine. Woodbine may not be a household name, but he's appeared in countless great film and television roles. He's perhaps best known for his work in the 2nd season of FX's "Fargo," but has also delivered memorable performances in "Queen & Slim," "spider-Man: Homecoming," "Overlord," and "Black Dynamite."

Woodbine has a brief, yet memorable role in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" as Sheriff Domingo. Domingo imprisons the young leads and stores their proton packs in the city's makeshift prison. A twist reveals that he's also Lucky's father; it puts Trevor in an awkward position, as he's smitten with Lucky. Woodbine doesn't get a lot of screen time, but the prison scenes are amusing and don't detract from the film's quick pacing.

10. Lucky Domingo

Phoebe is forced to attend summer school when the Spenglers relocate to Summerville, but Trevor immediately becomes interested in getting a summer job. While earning a little extra cash is a goal, his main interests lie in wooing a waitress he spots at the town's retro '50s diner. Lucky Domingo (Celeste O'Connor) is initially reticent about accepting Trevor's job application, but eventually allows him to join her circle of friends as they venture outside of the city limits to go exploring.

Lucky brings a sharp, sarcastic sensibility to "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." She certainly helps highlight Trevor's social awkwardness, but also develops into a hero in her own right. Lucky brings Trevor to the mine shaft where they first encounter a major supernatural sighting, and helps Phoebe and Podcast explore the temple later on. Unfortunately, Lucky is possessed by one of Zuul's demons towards the end of the film and doesn't get to participate in all the heroics, lessening her impact on the final film.

9. Podcast

The Spengler family is uprooted from their busy life in the city and sent to live in the isolated town of Summerville, and as a result the young Phoebe and Trevor are forced to adjust to small town life. Phoebe attends summer school, but immediately feels out of place. She's clearly smarter than the lazy slackers who goof off in class, and her own interest in science makes her stick out like a sore thumb. However, she finds at least one "weirdo" who is also a bit on the quirky side: the young content creator known simply as "Podcast."

Podcast, who is never referred to by any other name, spends his time in Summerville interviewing people for his underground internet program. No one seems to know if he has any followers, but Podcast isn't about to let a good story pass him by. He immediately joins Phoebe and their teacher Mr. Gary Grooberson as they search for clues regarding the origin of the strange supernatural events and earthquakes. Podcast comically asks for a reaction after each action sequence, adding levity to a film that's already very funny. It would be easy for the character to become irritating, but in a remarkable breakthrough performance, young Logan Kim adds the perfect amount of comic relief.

It's also refreshing to see Podcast and Phoebe develop as friends without unnecessarily forcing romance upon them. Science and the unexplained are their shared interests, and their friendship is innocent and earnest.

8. Dr. Peter Venkman

Getting Bill Murray to return for a new "Ghostbusters" film was no easy task. Murray was famously reluctant about joining a third film after his dissatisfaction with "Ghostbusters II," and was not on board with the first drafts of the script from the early 21st century that would have united the original cast. Murray turned up for a cameo in 2016's "Ghostbusters" as the cynical paranormal investigator Dr. Martin Heiss, but the half-hearted effort was clearly not one of his finer efforts. Murray himself told IndieWire that he only did it to show support for the main cast members.

Thankfully, Murray was much more enthusiastic with his return to the franchise in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," and finally reprised his iconic role as Dr. Peter Venkman. Venkman is one of his greatest roles ever, and his cynical attitude was essential in grounding the first movie's supernatural elements with a New York sense of humor. Although Murray's signature sarcasm makes the original film entertaining, he's hardly the emotionless goofball he pretends to be. When it comes down to saving the city, Venkman proves he's actually the archetypal hero he would seemingly make fun of.

In "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," Venkman returns not only with the same sense of heroism, but with a touch of earnestness. Venkman helps save the day, but he also spends a few moments with Egon's family and reflects on fond memories of his departed friend.

7. Janine Melnitz

Annie Potts' Janine Melnitz was an integral part of the original film's comedy, and was incredibly important in developing the Ghostbusters as a functional operation. Part of the fun of "Ghostbusters" was that the heroes weren't caped crusaders, but scientists who profit off of their heroic activities. As a result, they have to deal with the realities of running a business, and having a secretary was a necessity, especially once they caught the public spotlight. That role was memorably fulfilled by Janine, whose sarcastic commentary is the perfect addition to the existing team's chemistry.

Potts is an incredible comedic actress who delivered some of the most iconic lines of the original film, including "I've quit better jobs than this." What's impressive about Janine's return in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is that she's not only bringing her signature fiery attitude, but playing things more heartfelt as well. Even after years of looking after Egon during the Ghostbusters' misadventures, Janine remains loyal to her old friend and looks after his old home. When Callie returns to her father's farmhouse, Janine is there to explain that while her father was brilliant as a scientist, he was hardly a businessman. The beaten down homestead is completely worthless.

There was a strong romantic tension between Janine and Egon in the original two films, but there was never any confirmation that he responded to her advances. Did they ever consummate their relationship, and is Janine really Callie's mother? It's left ambiguous.

6. Trevor Spengler

Finn Wolfhard has become the go-to choice for recapturing '80s nostalgia thanks to his roles in the "Stranger Things" and "It" franchises, both of which pay homage to that generation of classics. The reason why is obvious: Wolfhard has the same sense of curiosity, snappiness, and earnestness that '80s child stars like Corey Feldman, Sean Astin, and Corey Haim did. Given that "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is not only an homage to the original 1984 film, but a throwback to the entire era of Spielbergian adventure cinema, Wolfhard was a natural choice to join the cast.

Wolfhard is certainly one of the most recognizable young stars working today, but the story of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is mostly focused on his character's sister, Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace). While Phoebe carries on her grandfather Egon's legacy, Trevor spends the first act of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" searching for a solution to his summer boredom. Wolfhard delivers a great comedic performance as he attempts to catch the attention of his new crush Lucky, and scores a summer job working at the same diner where Lucky works.

However, once the supernatural forces that lurk beneath Summerville reveal themselves, Trevor is able to assist his sister in combating the spiritual menaces. It's refreshing to see a sibling relationship on screen that isn't mean-spirited in nature; Phoebe and Trevor bicker, but when the moment calls for it, they also show genuine affection for each other.

5. Dr. Raymond Stantz

Dan Aykroyd's involvement in the second "Ghostbusters" sequel has been strong throughout its 30 years of development hell. Aykroyd, alongside Harold Ramis, wrote the screenplay for the 1984 original, and was pivotal in developing the characters, tone, and mythology that made the film such a beloved favorite. After he also penned "Ghostbusters II," Aykroyd developed an early version of a third film titled "Ghostbusters III: Hellbent" that featured the original cast members mentoring a younger generation of heroes. However, the other cast members, particularly Murray, were reluctant to sign on.

Although Aykroyd was very supportive of the main cast of the 2016 remake, calling Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon "wonderful players," he was less friendly towards director Paul Feig. Aykroyd claimed that Feig went over budget and didn't shoot the additional scenes needed, resulting in the film's financial disappointment. Thankfully, Aykroyd was much more supportive of Jason Reitman's work on "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" on "The Greg Hill Show," praising "the beautiful, heartfelt script that takes the real DNA from the first two movies and transfers that directly to the third."

Aykroyd's tireless commitment to the franchise paid off, as his character Dr. Ray Stantz gets one of the film's most emotional scenes. Now the manager of an occult book store, Ray tearfully reacts to the news that his old friend Egon has died.

4. Dr. Winston Zeddemore

It was very rewarding to see the original "Ghostbusters" cast reassemble on screen, and each of the characters gets a moment to shine amidst the action-packed finale. It's a delight to see them all return and fall back into their original rhythms, even though their story is not the focus. Winston's connection to the new characters isn't immediately clear, but the final post-credit stinger scene reveals a new backstory for the character that fleshes out his activities in between the events of the original film and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife."

It's revealed that, in the years since "Ghostbusters II," Winston became a successful businessman and had a loving family. By the end of the film, not only is Winston tasked with managing the current Ghostbusters field agents, but he's in charge of the original property where the team developed their initial research. Winston also takes the time to restore the Ecto-1, and provides the Spenglers with the support they need after years of struggling.

It's the perfect development for Winston's character. In the original film, he was introduced as a non-scientist who only signs up for the gig to find consistent pay. It's inspiring to see how much he has grown; while Venkman, Egon, and Ray enjoyed slacking off, Winston worked hard to build a future for the Ghostbusters name. It's unclear what the direction of the Ghostbusters franchise is moving forward, but if there are multiple teams operating throughout the world, it's possible that Winston is helping direct them.

3. Mr. Gary Grooberson

Paul Rudd is one of those actors who simply makes everything better. He's a warm, humorous presence who can steal the scene if that's what is required, but never takes the spotlight away from his co-stars. Rudd is perfectly cast in a key supporting role as the affable Mr. Gary Grooberson, a teacher at the Summerville middle school. Grooberson is tasked with monitoring the students sent to summer school, an assignment he only half-heartedly commits to. In one of the film's biggest laughs, Grooberson plays graphic horror movies for his students while he pursues his actual passion: tracking seismic activity in Summerville and theorizing about the next demonic sighting.

Grooberson is a great addition to the new "Ghostbusters" mythology because he represents the viewpoint of the original fans who grew up watching Venkman, Egon, Ray, and Winston face off against Zuul in New York City. In the universe of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," these adventures have been largely forgotten, and Grooberson is able to provide the necessary exposition as to how the pivotal moments of the original film have faded into obscurity. However, he's also an emotional link to the action, as Grooberson recognizes Phoebe's knowledge of the same events that he's been tracking, and they have some fun interactions.

Grooberson continues to provide humor when he develops a romance with Callie, which is certainly awkward for her two children. Rudd's physical comedy highlights one of the funniest scenes in the film, when he's stalked by ghosts in a Walmart.

2. Callie Spengler

First of all, it's worth noting that Carrie Coon is one of the most underrated actresses of her generation, and her work in "Fargo" and "The Leftovers" stands as some of the greatest television acting of the past decade. Coon's first major blockbuster role (outside of a brief appearance in "Avengers: Infinity War," where she was barely recognizable under layers of makeup) was a long time coming, and she absolutely delivers. While it's her children and their friends that make up the next generation of heroes, Coon's Callie Spengler is the heart of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" and gives it some of its most emotionally impactful moments.

The daughter of Egon has been struggling in the wake of her father's absence. The tragic real life passing of Harold Ramis haunted the development of a new "Ghostbusters" film throughout its development, but "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" manages to incorporate his legacy within the narrative itself. Egon's pursuit of exploring supernatural activity meant that he had to leave much of his family responsibilities behind, and Callie has been struggling to provide for her own children. The film's opening reveals that Callie was never close with her father, and although her financial issues aren't spelled out specifically, she's forced to leave her apartment and bring her kids to Egon's old home.

Shortly before the end of the film, Callie uncovers photos and memories that show her father's affection for her, while the big climax gives Callie the perfect emotional closure in a tear-jerking moment.

1. Phoebe Spengler

Having familiar characters make a long-awaited return is certainly delightful when they're treated appropriately; as disheartening as it is to see icons of cinema like Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones disrespected in a film like "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," it's delightful when a character like Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker gets an appropriate reintroduction in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." For many legacy "Ghostbusters" fans, seeing the original team unite on the big screen is satisfying enough to warrant a recommendation of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife."

However, a new sequel can't survive on nostalgia alone, and as much as "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" pays homage to the original classic, its real strength lies in the new generation of fans. The lynchpin of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is the young Phoebe Spengler, granddaughter of the original film's Egon Spengler (the tragically departed Harold Ramis). Sexist "fans" that attacked the 2016 film will be disheartened to see that the future of the franchise lies in the hands of a whip-smart young girl with an aptitude for science, heroism, and heart.

Phoebe embodies Egon's spirit without having to constantly reference him. The young Mckenna Grace (who already amassed an impressive filmography) creates a quirky, compelling character who takes an interest in exploring the strange phenomenon in her new environment, and quickly grows to adopt the mantle of a Ghostbuster. She's not handed the responsibility because of her lineage; Phoebe is an inspiring hero in her own right.