The Big Ghostbusters: Afterlife Mystery: We Asked About Callie’s Mom And Got Weird Answers

This story is going to have to get into a few spoilers for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, so you will want to stop reading now if you haven’t seen the film  and want to remain unscathed. 

It’s a huge point of emphasis in the new story for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis) left his family in the lurch for years, so that he could set up shop in the Midwest and protect the world from the pending threat of Gozer, returning to finish what it started in 1984. Egon’s granddaughter, Phoebe, puts most of these clues together so that she and her friends -- aided by the original Ghostbusters -- can stop Gozer one more time. But that leaves another mystery unsolved in the movie. Who is Egon’s wife? 

We meet Callie (Carrie Coon) in the movie. She is Egon’s estranged daughter, and she spends the bulk of Ghostbusters: Afterlife stewing over the fact that she grew up without a father. She knows he’s a scientist, but doesn’t care what he studies. She looks out over the dirt farm Egon left behind and only sees reasons why her father stayed away from her. But who is Callie’s mother? Why is she not mentioned, and where might she be over the course of Ghostbusters: Afterlife? When we sat down with Coon during the recent Ghostbusters press day, I asked her if that ever came up in conversation with director Jason Reitman, and she skirted the issue by replying:

You know, Jason and I didn’t get into the weeds about the backstory. I’m the kind of actor who trusts what’s on the page. Everything you need to know about the character is there in front of you. And I’m a mom now of two children, and so my prep time is pretty limited these days! And so I got to concentrate a little bit on Mckenna and Finn and my relationship with those people. I certainly had an image in my mind of who that woman would be. But we didn’t get into the weeds with what Egon’s relationship would be to those women. But it’s a great, fun detail for the fans to speculate about.

That’s what we do! And the main reason I even brought it up during the Ghostbusters: Afterlife press interviews is because I had a theory. What if Callie’s mother in this universe is Janine Melnitz, played once again in the movie by the inimitable Annie Potts? We see Janine in the beginning of the movie when Callie moves to the deserted farm. This proves that Janine was living out there with (or near) Egon. Did she want to stay by to meet the daughter she also abandoned? When you look at Carrie Coon, she easily COULD be the offspring of Egon and Janine. 

So I put the same question to Ghostbusters: Afterlife writer Gil Kenan, and his answer was a real head-scratcher. He told CinemaBlend:

Oh, I’m not going to answer that. We’re not fleshing out that part of the story right now.

Which implies that they WILL flesh it out later. And the closing mid-credit scenes of Ghostbusters: Afterlife could imply how. In them, we see Ecto-1 returning to New York City. We see Winston (Ernie Hudson) catching up with Janine, and telling her he bought the fire station back. It must be opening up again for some reason. The fact that Gil Kenan didn’t shoot the connection between Callie and Janine down instantly makes me think there is some “there” there. But will have to see if and how that develops should the Ghostbusters 4 that Hudson is teasing come to life one day.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.