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Frozen Empire Has a 2-Year Time Jump

When Ghostbusters: Afterlife ends, it really ends. Ghostbusters new and old defeat Gozer, we see the Ecto-1 driving to New York City, and that’s pretty much it. What exactly was next for the Spengler family we’d been following for an entire film? How did they feel having encountered the ghost version of Egon? We never find out.

The sequel, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, hits theaters this week and answers some of those questions, but not all of them. After a table-setting prologue, the main story picks up two years later as we’re reintroduced to the Spenglers, who are now not just living in New York City, but already established as Ghostbusters. Along the way, questions like how they got there and what they’re doing are answered, but fans of the previous film may be curious about what happened in between.

“We made a decisive choice as writers to leap forward two years in time,” Frozen Empire co-writer and director Gil Kenan told io9. “We actually had a shot that we considered doing at the end of Afterlife, and never shot, that showed the family Subaru driving on the highway out of Oklahoma, with a towed vehicle behind it covered in a tarp. And that tarp was flapping and you see sort of Ecto-1 behind it. But then, of course, we filmed that beautiful coda with Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddemore character bringing the Ecto-1 into the firehouse. That was our way of hooking it into the events that Frozen Empire was going to be delving into.”

Director Gil Kenan with Mckenna Grace and Logan Kim.
Image: Sony Pictures

So, yes, the film’s end credit scene showing Winston returning the Ecto-1 to New York is our only real link between films. But Kenan and co-writer Jason Reitman did discuss more.

“We wrote sketches of stories for what happened in those intervening years,” Kenan said. “And early on, Jason and I decided that those stories were not going to be essential to the story we were telling in Frozen Empire but they were interesting. And so we actually developed those as comic books. And they’re coming out. They’re really cool and they fill in those two years from Oklahoma to the events of Frozen Empire.”

That series is called Ghostbusters: Back in Town and debuts later this month. Find out more here.

The cover to Back in Town #1 by Kyle Lambert.

Ultimately, though, the reason for diving right into the story where it does is more about the Spenglers—and how they’re finally settling into a home that they’ve been looking for since the beginning of the previous movie.

“We definitely wanted to set up the idea of the search for home for our new characters, the Spenglers,” Kenan said. “And that search began with their dislocation at the start of Afterlife and the idea that maybe this farmhouse would be a way to solve a problem, a pragmatic problem for Callie, of where do we ground this family that’s searching for something to cling to. Some sense of permanence. So we had already kind of started through that process of developing that theme, thinking about the [original Ghostbusters] firehouse as a potential goal for this family that would solve a problem that they were in need of solving and that they needed. Something to anchor to in the same way that Ghostbusters fans were clamoring for that return to the firehouse. That was a process that happened organically through the writing of Afterlife, and it felt like a really natural setup for how this film could begin.”

We’ll have more from Kenan, and about Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, later this week. It opens Friday.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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