[WARNING - This articles contains SPOILERS for Ghostbusters.]
When Ghostbusters opens in theaters this Friday it'll come packaged with a post-credits scene, so don't rush out of the theater once it's finished - the movie isn't quite over yet. And these days it seems as if almost every movie has a post-credits scene - especially those vying for a sequel or looking to jump start their own franchise - and when there isn't one, you can't help but feel disappointed you sat through all those credits for nothing. (Unless you always stick around for the credits in appreciation for all who worked on the movie, in which case, good on you.)
Anyway, the post-credits scene attached to Ghostbusters should prove a fun one for fans of the the original, referencing both the 1984 Ghostbusters film and potentially teasing where this new Ghostbusters franchise may head next. Below we'll more fully explain the scene and its possible implications, but be aware there will be major spoilers for Ghostbusters - both of them!
The Ghostbusters Post-Credits Scene
The credits for Ghostbusters actually offer more than most films, including some marvelous footage of Chris Hemsworth dancing (which appears to come from footage that was simply cut for time) and a mid-credits scene wherein Sigourney Weaver makers her requisite cameo. And it's a little funny Weaver's cameo comes just before the post-credits scene, too, because it's a scene that indirectly references her original Ghostbusters character.
Once the credits have officially rolled, we come back to Erin (Kristin Wiig), Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Holtzman (Kate McKinnon), and Patty (Leslie Jones), who after saving the city from imminent destruction, are shown fiddling with equipment and listening to audio recordings in their brand new and fittingly iconic headquarters. It's while listening to one of these recordings that Patty hears something strange, removes her headphones, and looking quizzically at her fellow Ghostbusters, asks: "What is Zuul?" All three of them respond with blank faces and wide-eyed stares, but anyone familiar with Ghostbusters lore should know exactly what - and more importantly, who - Zuul is.
There Is No Dana, Only Zuul
For those who've never seen Ghostbusters (1984) or just don't remember it all that thoroughly, Zuul is demigod who first appears in Weaver's character, Dana Barret's fridge. Hearing the name uttered in a growly, demonic voice is what sends her running to the Ghostbusters for help, which they aren't really capable of providing, and Zuul eventually possesses Dana (giving her the wicked, 80s diva makeover you see above in the process). While under Zuul's influence, Dana also refers to herself as The Gatekeeper, a hint at her role in bringing about The Destructor, Gozer the Gozerian.
As The Gatekeeper, a Zuul-possessed Dana must find The Keymaster, Vinz Clortho - another minion of Gozer who has also taken over the body of Dana's neighbor, Louis Tully (played by Rick Moranis). Once united the two demigods open a portal to a dark dimension through which Gozer will invade; something they achieve by copulating, and afterwards transforming into their true forms as satanic Terror Dogs.
Gozer arrives, asks if Ray is a god (a question to which you always answer yes), then manifests as a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and proceeds to wreck New York City. The Ghosbusters do eventually thwart Gozer by crossing the streams of their proton blasters, creating a full protonic reversal, but the fate of both Dana and Louis is initially left ambiguous, with the full reversal transforming both Zuul and Vinz Clortho into stone statues. But it doesn't take long before the statues begin to crumble and crack, allowing for the now entirely human Dana and Louis to emerge relatively unscathed.
The Return of Gozer?
With how prevalent post-credits scenes have become, it'd be all too easy to jump to the conclusion that this name-dropping definitely means a Ghostbusters (2016) sequel will see the new team do battle with Zuul, Vinz Clortho, and Gozer the Gozerian. After all, the movie is littered with clever callbacks and references to Ghosbusters (1984), the post-credits scene may simple be another. But it is fun to speculate nonetheless, and the sequel potential of the scene wasn't lost on writer/director Paul Feig either.
In an interview with IGN, Feig discusses the scene, saying of Zuul: "It's such a great character we thought 'well it would be fun if you could do a sequel,' and who knows, to kind of have him in the mix?" And bringing Zuul into the mix with an all-women team of Ghostbusters would certainly prove interesting because though Feig refers to Zuul as 'him', there's evidence for the demigod being female in nature: her possession of a human female, consummating a union with the male Vinz Clortho, and even the name Gatekeeper serves as something of a female allusion (especially when paired with the term, Keymaster). If that's truly the case, then introducing Zuul to antagonize a team of women Ghostbusters adds an extra element of danger, with any one of them candidates for possession by the demigod.
"We wanted to say possibly there's something you know from the first one can come in. Again it's not about creating the cinematic universe where suddenly there's a worm-hole and the original Ghostbusters show up, although somebody might do that at some point. But I don't know, it was kind of a little comfort food, easter egg, that gives us an opening if we wanted to do another movie."
There's no guarantee this Ghostbusters will earn itself a sequel, but the film does leave its characters ready and raring for future adventures. And taking Feig's comments into consideration, it would follow that after sending Rowan and all the ghosts who broke through the barrier back to whatever hellish dimension they came from, word would spread about the women who defeated them. Who's to say all those ghouls don't reside in the same plane of existence as Gozer? There's nothing ever explicitly stated, but Rowan's efforts to break the barrier between worlds could have even been part of a plan of some larger entity, potentially even a god-like character like Gozer. If that were the case, then Gozer or whomever would need to enlist another to make way for their arrival on Earth now that Rowan has failed. And Patty hearing murmurs of Zuul within an audio recording may be only the first hint of just who's coming for them next.
What do you think? Does including a mention of Zuul in the post-credits scene leave an opening for a sequel to include another visitation from these extra-dimensional beings? Is this an angle you'd like to see a Ghostbusters sequel explore? And how could they go about making it different enough so as not to simply end up rehashing the 1984 film? Leave us your theories in the comments!
Ghostbusters is now playing in theaters nationwide.