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Ghostbusters 4 Theory: Paul Rudd's Mr Grooberson Will Become A Ghostbuster

In Ghostbusters 4, Paul Rudd's Mr. Grooberson could very well become an official Ghostbuster, and here's why the theory makes sense. As a belated sequel to an established franchise, Ghostbusters: Afterlife faced a difficult balancing act, although not one other reboots haven't also faced. After 32 years without the original Ghostbusters characters Ray, Peter, Winston, and Egon busting ghosts - outside of an acclaimed 2009 Ghostbusters video game - it was essential to have the original Ghostbusters appear and play some kind of pivotal role in the plot.

At the same time, Harold Ramis passed away in 2014, and Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson are all advancing in age, and can't really have such a physical franchise centered on them again. As such, Ghostbusters: Afterlife also needed to introduce the audience to a group of new characters that they would hopefully enjoy being around enough for those characters to still be a draw if and when Aykroyd, Murray, and Hudson decide to hang up their proton packs again.

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One of those new characters introduced in Ghostbusters: Afterlife is Paul Rudd's Gary Grooberson, a seismologist, enemy of Baskin Robbins, and the summer school teacher of Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), Egon's granddaughter. Rudd imbues Grooberson with his usual charm, likability, and quick wit, and he ends up serving as both a mentor to Phoebe and a potential love interest to her mom, Callie (Carrie Coon). There's also the fact that he turned into a Terror Dog, becoming the Keymaster to Callie's Gatekeeper once both were possessed. That said, Grooberson was still decidedly a supporting player in the story. Afterlife clearly sets up a potential Ghostbusters 4, and if it happens, the logical path for Grooberson to follow is to become a Ghostbuster himself.

It's safe to say Gary Grooberson expected a fairly uneventful few months spent teaching summer school in Summerville, Oklahoma, all while studying the town's odd earthquake patterns as part of his seismology pursuits. That all changed when he met new student Phoebe, someone refreshingly capable of having a scientific conversation with him, and also the granddaughter of late Ghostbuster Egon Spengler. Full of the curiosity that generally comes with being a scientist, Grooberson helped Phoebe on her journey of personal discovery, even if that meant accidentally freeing something dangerous from an old ghost trap.

Grooberson's time spent with Phoebe also led to a new development in his personal life, as he quickly hit it off with Callie (Carrie Coon), Phoebe's mom and Egon's estranged daughter. While not on his scientific wavelength, Callie clearly found Grooberson charming, and the feeling was mutual. Their budding romance took an unexpected turn when Callie and Grooberson were possessed by Gozer emissaries Zuul (the Gatekeeper) and Vinz Clortho (the Keymaster) and subsequently turned into Terror Dogs. Thankfully, the defeat of Gozer (Olivia Wilde) by Phoebe's makeshift ghostbusting team - with the well-timed help of the original surviving Ghostbusters - ultimately put to an end to both Callie and Grooberson's days heralding the arrival of Sumerian gods of destruction, at least one hopes.

On the surface, it would appear that Paul Rudd's Gary Grooberson has all the necessary qualifications to be a Ghostbuster. While seismology may not be akin to busting ghosts, Grooberson has a legitimate scientific background, as did Ray, Peter, and Egon before their initial formation of the Ghostbusters team. Yet, Grooberson isn't quite as off-kilter as those three men and seems to have lived a pretty normal life, suggesting he might bring a little of Winston's common sense work ethic to a new team as well. There's also the plus that Grooberson grew up idolizing the Ghostbusters, and is clearly fascinated by their tech. He'd surely be willing to jump into being a Ghostbuster with two feet and give it his all.

Related: Ghostbusters: Why Slimer Didn't Return For Afterlife (& Why It Was Right)

As for who'd he team up with as a Ghostbuster, there are two logical options available. Based on the climax of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, it wouldn't at all be surprising to see Phoebe, her friend Podcast (Logan Kim), her brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard, who also played Richie in IT), and Trevor's love interest, Lucky (Celeste O'Connor), form their own squad of young Ghostbusters. That said, a group of teenage Ghostbusters may not practically be able to do everything a team made up of adults could, and adding Grooberson as the token adult teammate could solve that issue. The other option is that Grooberson is either recruited to or applies for whatever Ghostbusters revival unit Winston is putting together back at the firehouse. That could be a real treat to see, as Grooberson would probably be extremely nervous to work alongside his idols, in the same way Ant-Man looks up to Captain America in the MCU.

Outside of the in-universe reasons that Paul Rudd's Mr. Grooberson becoming a Ghostbuster if a Ghostbusters 4 happens makes sense, there are also more practical business concerns for the franchise. While fellow Ghostbusters: Afterlife stars Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, and Carrie Coon are all recognizable from other roles, Rudd was definitely the biggest star going into Afterlife's release, and the only full-fledged A-lister in the film outside of the original Ghostbusters. If Sony decides a Ghostbusters 4 should happen, they'll almost certainly want Rudd to play an important part in it, and making Grooberson a Ghostbuster would both give the always busy Rudd a reason to return, and give his character more important things to do.

Plus, with Egon's mission to defeat Gozer accomplished with the help of his old friends and descendants, there's no real reason it would make sense to set Ghostbusters 4 in Summerville, Oklahoma again. If Phoebe and her friends become Ghostbusters, it would make perfect sense for some or all of them to head off somewhere new, even perhaps New York City, in order to combat another potential Ghostbusters apocalypse. Perhaps they'll even be enlisted by Winston and his new operation. Callie would obviously go with her teenage children on their adventure, but Grooberson would need a logical reason to be there as well, and not off doing his own seismology work. Making Grooberson a Ghostbuster provides a ready-made explanation for his continued presence in the plot during Ghostbusters 4, no matter what location the story might spend most of its time taking place in.

More: Does Ghostbusters: Afterlife Ignore Ghostbusters 2 Canon? (It's Complicated)

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