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SYFY WIRE Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Paul Rudd vs. a tiny Stay Puft army in first Gremlins-like clip from 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'

By Josh Weiss

The iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is coming back in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, but he's a lot smaller and more numerous than you remember. In the first official clip from director Jason Reitman's long-delayed film, seismologist Mr. Grooberson (Ant-Man's Paul Rudd) comes across a army of mini Stay Puft men while shopping for ice cream.

They're wreaking absolute havoc in the store, riding around on Roombas and roasting each other on BBQs (their chaotic antics bringing to mind Joe Dante's Gremlins and composer Rob Simonsen subtly pays homage to Elmer Bernstein's eerie score from 1984). Don't be fooled by their cuteness, though — Grooberson attempts to poke one of the Stay Puft men in the stomach — à la the Pillsbury Doughboy — with painful results.

“If I think about who I’m making this movie for, it’s my father,” Reitman — whose father, Ivan, directed the first two Ghostbusters movies in the 1980s — told Vanity Fair last year. “We all know what it’s like to be told stories by our parents. I’m really honored to get a chance to tell one back to him from the world he brought to life.”

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Written by Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan (Monster House), Afterlife serves as a direct follow-up to 1989's Ghostbusters II, which has always paled in comparison to the original.

Recently chatting with Collider, Bill Murray claimed they were actually tricked into making that first sequel in bad-ish faith.

"They got us all together and they pitched a story idea that was really great. I thought, 'Holy cow, we could make that work,'" the legendary actor remembered. "It ended up not being the story they wrote. They got us in the sequel under false pretenses. Harold had this great idea, but by the time we got to shooting it, I showed up on set and went, 'What the hell is this? What is this thing?' But we were already shooting it, so we had to figure out how to make it work. That was a great bunch of people. Just to be together was great. I probably like the first one better than the second one, just because the first cut is the deepest."

Murray is set to appear as Dr. Peter Venkman in Afterlife — most likely in a glorified cameo — alongside the OG cast, save for Harold Ramis (who passed away in 2014) and Rick Moranis (who is mostly retired from acting). It's been theorized that the movie's young heroes, played by Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard, are the grandchildren of Proton Pack inventor, Egon Spengler.

"Before I ever thought I could make a Ghostbusters film, the image of a 12-year-old girl carrying a proton pack popped into my head and just wouldn’t leave. Eventually, I knew who she was,” Reitman explained to VF. “I’m floored by the idea of what it would be like to find a proton pack in your grandparents’ basement. What would that discovery reveal about who you are and what adventures you’re about to go on?"

Ghostbusters: Afterlife will begin to haunt theaters Thursday, Nov. 11. Fans can bring the Mini-Puft mania into their homes this fall with a line of film-inspired toys from Hasbro (see images below). The toy company is hosting "Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest" Friday, April 9 at 11:00 a.m. EST on the Hasbro Pulse YouTube channel.