There has been a lot of Ghostbusters news lately, since the Ghostbusters Day festivities on June 8. Ghostbusters: Afterlife director/co-writer Jason Reitman and co-writer Gil Kenan took to the stage to make many announcements. So, with the Ghostbusters universe continuing to grow, what's the correct order to watch all the Ghostbusters movies and Ghostbusters TV shows?
Your first watch is of course Ghostbusters (1984), directed by Ivan Reitman, who sadly passed away a few months ago. Ghostbusters strikes the perfect balance between comedy and science fiction, and became an instant classic.
While all the spooky shenanigans are a spectacle, it's really Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis who shine here, as the paranormal investigators who must thwart an evil god's plans for mankind.
The Real Ghostbusters (1986 - 1991)
Much like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series of the same era, The Real Ghostbusters (1986 - 1991) remains a beloved addition to its respective franchise, as it captures the spirit of the original films.
While it's difficult to pin-point where in this series things go from Ghostbusters to Ghostbusters II (1989), ultimately it doesn't really matter. There are some references to the films, but The Real Ghostbusters remains its own entity.
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Ghostbusters II takes place five years after the 1984 original. This sequel gets a bad wrap from fans and critics, and while the plot and humor are nowhere near as sharp as the original, there's still a lot to love from this late '80s sequel.
As usual, the awesome foursome are on top form, while supporting characters Lois Tully (Rick Moranis) and Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) bring many more laughs. Ghostbusters II might not be a classic, but it's still a solid sequel.
Extreme Ghostbusters (1997)
Like The Real Ghostbusters, Extreme Ghostbusters (1997) isn't connected to the films canonically. However, like its predecessor, it does acknowledge the movies, which means that they are canon to it - just not the other way around.
Extreme Ghostbusters is a sequel to the '80s cartoon, and features Egon Spengler as he starts up a new team of Ghostbusters. If you're looking for something that pushes the boundaries of child-friendly horror, this is it.
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)
You probably already know that Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016) is a reboot of the original film, but as such, you can still view it - should you choose to, of course - in order of release, even if it is canonically irrelevant.
Unfortunately, this widely hated reboot isn't much better six years on. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon play the new Ghostbusters, in what is essentially a carbon copy of the original.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
The long-awaited Ghostbusters "threequel" finally landed in theaters in November last year, taking place 37 years after the original 1984 film, this time focusing on a new generation of Ghostbusters.
But was it worth the wait? In short, yes. While the film plays it very safe by utilizing villains from the original film, and therefore the exact same threat, McKenna Grace shines as Ghostbusters newcomer Phoebe Spengler.
Ghostbusters 4 (2023)
Ghostbusters 4 is officially in the works, and as recently confirmed by Sony Pictures, it will be released on December 20, 2023. While little is known about the plot, it has been confirmed that it will "continue the Spengler family story".
Whether or not the cast from Ghostbusters: Afterlife, or even the original Ghostbusters will return for Ghostbusters 4 remains to be seen. But it's safe to assume that the film will follow sometime shortly after the 2021 sequel.
Untitled Ghostbusters animated film
A Ghostbusters animated movie is also in the works, which was confirmed during Ghostbusters Day. Jason Reitman said that the feature will introduce "all new characters" while being "a whole new take" on the Ghostbusters universe.
While plot and timeline are unknown, he added, "This was a passion project of my father’s and it’s easy to understand why. The world of the unknown can only be properly explored through the limitless reach of animation."
Untitled Ghostbusters animated series
An untitled Ghostbusters animated series (TBA) will be handled by Netflix and Sony Pictures Animation, with Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan on board as producers. But how do we know that this will be the last-to-be-viewed?
Well, the show is described as "the next generation of Ghostbusters animated television" that will "reach into the future" of "an unexplored era and decade of Ghostbusters canon". Ghostbusters in the future huh? We're in.