This article contains light spoilers for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.
We’ve got one! And by “one” I mean a female Ghostbuster that even jerks might like! Maybe!
The last time we got women as Ghostbusters, sexist buffoons making bad-faith arguments about the apparent sanctity of boy Ghostbusters drowned out all discussion of the 2016 reboot Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, preventing both those who enjoyed the movie and those who disliked it for actual sane reasons from sharing their viewpoints.
That extreme response drove Sony to return to the franchise’s roots for its follow-up Ghostbusters: Afterlife, directed by Jason Reitman, son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman. Although the movie took place in Oklahoma and took a decidedly dour, respectful tone, it focused on connections to the first team. It starred Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace, and Finn Wolfhard as the daughter and grandchildren of Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis). Together with their friends and their teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd), Phoebe (Grace) and Trevor Spengler (Wolfhard) investigated the return of Gozer, eventually getting help from the first Ghostbusters, Ray Stanz (Dan Aykroyd), Peter Venkmen (Bill Murray), and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), as well as an ungodly CG recreation of ghostly Egon.
For the sequel Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the story returns to New York, where Ghostbusters new and old will team against a new other-worldly threat. And they’ll have a new/old member to help out. According to Empire Magazine, Janine Melnitz will suit up to join the team, played again by Annie Potts.
Although this will be the first time that she straps on a proton pack, at least in live-action, Janine has been a part of the organization from the beginning. When business started picking up for the Ghostbusters in the first film, Janine took a job as the team’s receptionist. In Ghostbusters II, Janine sets aside her crush on Egon and begins dating the team’s lawyer and accountant Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), and even helps him get a proton pack to join the team. Finally, Ghostbusters: Afterlife found Janine keeping some of Egon’s materials, which helped his grandchildren take up his mission.
As she warned us way back in Ghostbusters, Janine has “quit better jobs” than those she held in the movies. The animated series The Real Ghostbusters (voiced by Laura Summer and Kath Soucie) and Extreme Ghostbusters (voiced by Pat Musick) did give her a chance to take on those better jobs, wearing a jumpsuit and proton pack from time to time.
However, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire will give Annie Potts her first opportunity to really get in on the action as Janine. Will this new role finally get people to stop seeing her as “too intellectual”? Will ignorant jerks get over their hangups and accept a Ghostbuster who is also a woman? We’ll have to wait until Frozen Empire comes to theaters to find out.
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire comes to movie theaters on March 22.
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