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Ghostbusters: Afterlife: Gozer explained

Who is Gozer? The immortal enemy of the Ghostbusters has returned in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, but what is this ancient god?

Gozer explained

Who is Gozer? Pesky poltergeists better watch out because the boys in grey are back! Yes, that’s right Ghostbusters: Afterlife is haunting theatres across the world right now. Directed by Jason Reitman the comedy movie is a continuation of the original Ghostbusters story and, as you might expect, a few old faces make an appearance.

While the majority of them are friendly faces there’s one who’s decidedly not. We are talking about the Sumerian god, with a passion for violence and destruction, Gozer the Traveller. Gozer was, of course, the supernatural being responsible for all the spooky shenanigans in the original Ghostbusters.

‘But how?’You might be asking. The last time we saw Gozer it had been roasted and toasted by the Ghostbuster’s proton packs and was making a sticky mess all over Central Park. Well, Gozer’s a god, and the thing you have to remember about gods is they’re very difficult to kill. So here’s our brief explanation of the history of Gozer covering its vast cosmic powers, first defeat at the hands of the Ghostbusters, and an explanation of its return.

Gozer explained

First introduced in the 1984 Ghostbusters movie, Gozer the Destructor is an incredibly powerful, ancient entity who was worshipped as a god by the Hittites, Mesopotamians, and Sumerians. Also known as the Traveller, Gozer travels the multiverse conquering different realities along the way. It travels with her heralds, Vinz Clortho the Keymaster and Zuul the Gatekeeper.

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Supposedly the most powerful entity the Ghostbusters ever encountered, Gozer, had a host of abilities and powers that made it a great threat to humanity. In the film, we see Gozer throw lightning bolts, change shape, communicate telepathically, and turn invisible. It also demonstrates great agility leaping across the Temple of Gozer in a single bound. It’s also capable of shapeshifting, so although it looks like a human its true form is unknown.

Gozer in Ghostbusters

Gozer and Ivo Shandor

In the original film, Gozer is summoned to our reality thanks to the work of Ivo Shandor. Shandor was a physician – with a preference for unnecessary surgeries – and architect. With an extensive knowledge of the occult and metaphysical, Shandor became aware of Gozer and sought to expedite her invasion of our world so he could share in the spoils of our annihilation.

To that end, he founded the Cult of Gozer, recruiting thousands of New York’s citizens to his strange religion. This apocalyptic cult performed bizarre rituals on the roof of 550 Central Park West, aka The Shandor Apartments, in the hopes of bringing about the end of the world.

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Shandor used his architectural expertise to build a skyscraper that would serve as a paranormal antenna capable of channelling spiritual turbulence. The twisted architect deliberately used strange exotic metals in the construction – mined from Summerville – that turned the building into “spook central”. While Shandor ‘died’ before he saw his plans come to fruition, his building continued to collect spiritual energy.

Eventually, this energy built up to the point that the Keymaster and Gatekeeper could manifest themselves in the form of Terror Dogs. They possessed the bodies of Dana Barrett and Louis Tully and completed the ritual that Shandor began to finally bring Gozer into our reality.

The temple of Gozer

Gozer Defeated

Upon the completion of Shandor’s ritual, Gozer arrived in our dimension, at the top of the 550 Central Park West, in the form of an androgynous human. There the Ghostbusters attempted to stop the travelling god, but their proton packs had little effect on The Destroyer. Eventually, Egon told the team to use “full-beam”, and Gozer disappeared after being struck by the proton pack’s most powerful setting. Ray believed that they had neutronized Gozer, who’d been obliterated by “a complete particle reversal.” He was wrong.

Gozer telepathically communicated with the team, demanding they choose the form it would take before destroying the world. Peter tried to tell the team to clear their minds, but Ray couldn’t help but think of “something that could never, ever possibly destroy us. Mr Stay Puft.”

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Gozer then reappeared walking through New York as a 100-foot tall marshmallow man and resumed its attack on the Ghostbusters. With the proton packs having no effect on Gozer’s delicious new form, the team decided there was only one option left, cross the streams and deliberately cause “total protonic reversal”.

Just as Gozer reached the top of the Shandor building, the Ghostbusters deliberately crossed the streams of their packs and fired the energy into Gozer’s temple, destroying it. With the temple gone, Gozer was forced out of our dimension, and things returned to normal.


Gozer returns in Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Though Gozer had been defeated by the Ghostbusters in ‘84 it wasn’t truly destroyed. In 2021 using another Temple of Gozer – this time built in Summerville, Oregon, by Shandor – the interdimensional terror once again tried to manifest. Its first attempt was stopped by Egon, who managed to capture the Gatekeeper in a ghost trap. While Egon lost his life in the process, he hid the trap in his house and without the Gatekeeper, Gozer could not come through to our dimension.

When Egon’s family moved into the house, his granddaughter Phoebe discovered the trap, and with her friends, Podcast and Greg opened it. This freed the Gatekeeper, who returned to his master and allowed the Sumerian deity a chance at once again conquering our reality. Using the Gatekeeper and Keymaster to possess Phoebe’s mother Carrie and teacher Greg, the pair destroyed Egon’s contingency plan, a proton pack boobytrap and allowed Gozer back into our reality.

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Before Gozer could take on a new destroyer form, though, Phoebe, her brother and their new friends managed to retrap the Gatekeeper. This weakened Gozer and forced it to follow them to Egon’s old farmhouse. While there, Phoebe attempted to trap Gozer in Egon’s final trap, but the power failed, allowing it to free the Gatekeeper once again.

Before Gozer could take its revenge on the kids, though, the original Ghostbusters team arrived and, with some help from the other side, managed to tarp Gozer forever in the hundreds of traps Egon had hidden on his farm.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is in theatres now, and you can check out our full interview with director Jason Reitman here.