WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, now playing in theaters
Ghostbusters being a largely comedic franchise means that it's never been necessarily centered around specific threats so much as the titular Ghostbusters. But behind the scenes, there's been one reoccurring figure manipulating events and trying to bring about a major slew of ghostly figures. While they haven't appeared in the films physically, they finally make a shocking cameo in the latest entry in the series.
One of the most unexpected cameos from the lore in Ghostbusters: Afterlife is Ivo Shandor, a major figure from the history of the franchise who makes a shocking -- albeit brief -- appearance within a hidden temple of Gozer.
Shandor might be one of the most important figures from the mythology of the original Ghostbusters, despite not appearing on screen. In the lore of the first Ghostbusters, Shandor was obsessed with the paranormal and the occult, becoming a worshipper of Gozer. He became an architect and designed the skyscraper at 550 Central Park West in New York City, secretly building it to the specific conditions that would allow it to become a conduit for Gozer to eventually breach the material world. Although he had seemingly perished before his plans could come to fruition, Gozer was able to appear in the real world in 1980. However, the original Ghostbusters were able to beat the force back and prevent Gozer from taking over the world.
In other franchise media, Shandor has appeared as a ghost himself, even becoming something of an overarching threat in the Ghostbusters video game. And now, he finally makes an on-screen appearance in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which largely ignores everything but the first film in the series. One of the major revelations in Ghostbusters: Afterlife is that the metal beams used to create his hotel were from the small town of Summerville in Oklahoma, where a temple in honor of Gozer was constructed in secret within the local mines named after Shandor. After the unexpected deaths of multiple workers, however, the mines were shut down. It turns out within the heart of the mine is a temple of Gozer, its agents and a pit to the underworld that seems to contain spirits.
There's also a glass coffin within the temple that contains the body of Shandor (J.K. Simmons). Despite his nominal death decades earlier, Shandor's body -- as discovered by Podcast (Logan Kim) -- appears to be perfectly preserved. However, when the trap designed by Egon years earlier is finally brought down and Gozer breaks free, the coffin is shattered open and Shandor awakens. It turns out that he was able to survive until the coming of Gozer in a suspended state, and welcomes his God after Gozer climbs out of the pit. Sadly, his belief that they shall rule the world together quickly proves to be a faulty one, as Gozer simply grabs him and rips him apart before moving to her throne.
It's a shocking appearance from the character considering his apparent death years before the events of even the first Ghostbusters, and one of the few truly surprising and successful Easter eggs from the history of the franchise. In many ways, Shandor is the most important villain of the franchise, if not the most powerful -- as without his influence affecting the world, Gozer would have never been able to break loose into the material world. It's also admittedly a hilarious turn to see Gozer just not care about what Shandor has brought to the table, eliminating him from the narrative even before confronting the Ghostbusters.
To see Ivo Shandor in the flesh, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is in theaters now.
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