The late Harold Ramis will be honored in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. As one of the creators and stars of the Ghostbusters franchise, Ramis will be very missed by longtime fans when the new movie hits theaters next month. Several classic characters will be back to reprise their roles, but as Ramis passed away in 2014, Egon Spengler will not be among them.
Of course, the Egon character is still pivotal to the story, as the trailers have revealed his family discovering the late Ghostbuster's old equipment. This is not the only nod to Ramis that's included in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, as revealed in a new interview with director Jason Reitman for Empire Magazine. In the publication's November issue, Reitman was posited with the question, "Afterlife ends with a dedication to Harold Ramis. Why was that important to you?" Per Ghostbusters News, here's how he responded.
"This movie is for my father, for my daughter and for [Harold Ramis]. For me, that's it. For a long time, I had the idea of a girl finding a proton pack in a barn, walking outside and firing it into a row of corn and popcorn flew out. And I just didn't know what to do with it. When Harold passed all of a sudden (in 2014), I knew who she was: it was Egon's granddaughter. The concept of this intergenerational conversation between her and her grandfather become the real roots of what this story was. It became a Spengler story."
Jason Reitman's father Ivan served as the director of the original Ghostbusters movies. He's back as a producer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. In the Empire interview, Ivan also shared his thoughts on Ramis, remembering their collaborations and time spent together years prior.
"I always thought of him as my smarter brother. He was just very reasonable, very clever. And he had a way of writing dialogue quickly and with such dexterity, I was just so impressed with him. When he wasn't around to help me on a film, I really felt handicapped. I got to work with him on the first four or five movies that I ended up directing, and we became good, good friends. I think we spoke directly to each other in a very lovely way."
In 2016, Paul Feig released his Ghostbusters reboot with an all-new cast. There are still moments in that movie that paid tribute to Harold Ramis, which includes a bronze bust featuring his likeness shown at one point during a scene. A graphic reading "For Harold" is also included at the end of the movie. The remastered version of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which featured Ramis voicing the role of Egon, also added the text "In loving memory of Harold Ramis" to the intro sequence.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is directed by Jason Reitman and co-written by Reitman and Gil Kenan. Original stars like Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts return to make special appearances. The new cast includes Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Logan Kim, Celeste O'Connor, and Paul Rudd. It releases in movie theaters on Nov. 19, 2021. The full interview with Jason Reitman can be read in November's Empire Magazine with the director's quotes above coming to us from Ghostbusters News.