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Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a legacy sequel if ever there was one, a film that draws heavily on the original story through direct connections to the lore, characters, and history set by the first Ghostbusters film back in 1984. From the family ties of its main characters to the main antagonist, Afterlife is so tied to Ghostbusters that some fans have actually wondered if it sets up a continuity that ignores 1989's Ghostbusters II. Writer/director Jason Reitman confirms that's not the case, and he can prove it through a very obvious Easter egg.
If you're wondering where all the Ghostbusters II concern came from in the first place, it all seems to tie back to one very specific design choice in Afterlife revolving around the ECTO-1, the Ghostbusters' iconic Cadillac response vehicle. From the earliest images, fans noticed that the car had the ghost logo from Ghostbusters rather than the logo from Ghostbusters II, which of course featured a ghost holding up two fingers from behind the cross-out symbol. Though it could simply be a case of the team changing the logo back later, or a case of more than one car in use by the team at various points, some fans interpreted the logo as a sign that Ghostbusters II never happened in this continuity, and instead Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) went off, had a kid (Carrie Coon), and made the choices which set the events of Afterlife in motion.
Speaking to Uproxx about the film (and many other things), Reitman confirmed that's not the case, noting that several other signs that Ghostbusters II definitelly happened are present in the film.
"No, Ghostbusters II, definitely canon," Reitman said. "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 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."
To be fair to suspicious fans, while Ray's Occult is a store that Ray only founded in the days after the Ghostbusters business dried up before the events of Ghostbusters II, he very easily could have just founded the store and then never lived through Ghostbusters II at all. Still, now we have confirmation from the source that the existence of the bookstore is a direct nod to the first sequel. As for that ECTO-1 logo change, Reitman noted that there may actually be an in-story reason for it that we haven't seen yet.
"I wish I could talk to you about that," Reitman said before adding: "Well, I’m just saying that’s a plot that is not in this film and we have ideas moving forward."
One other interesting canonical note from this interview: Reitman confirmed that, because Ghostbusters II is still canon, fans can assume that Egon's daughter Callie was already born and present in the background at the time of that adventure. We just never saw her or heard references to her in the sequel, which definitely feels like a story for another time.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is now in theaters.