Compiled by Fritz Baugh
With the advise and consent of the following Ghostheads, on the Classic Timeline:
Matthew Riddle/Dr. Riddle/Doc Ryedale
1991-On, including Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Back to the Timeline Master Index
When I first started this project on my hard drive in 1998, it was a lot more straightforward. There were two movies, and two animated series (The Real Ghostbusters
and Extreme Ghostbusters
), with two runs of comics published by Now. Things happened in a sort of loose "real time"...it had been over a decade (at that point) since the first movie, so it had been over a decade for the characters as well.
This was when Ghostbusters 3 was only a rumor. And long before 88MPH, iBooks, and Atari came along and introduced all of their retcons and/or reboots of the property.
After some soul searching, I decided the best way to handle it was to, at long last, subdivide the Timeline. All material filmed/broadcast/published before 2008 will still be covered by the Classic Timeline. The New Timeline will concentrate on material created since 2008, starting with the release of The Other Side and Ghost Busted, continuing with the 2009 video game, and eventually the possible third movie.
For the most part, none of these will be reflected in the Classic Timeline.
The Omnibus Timeline (New Version)
This archive is written in the format pioneered by Micheal and Denise Okuda
in their Star Trek Chronology, treating the movies, video game, and comics published since 2008, ect. as though they are part
of one, consistant unfolding saga.
One major difference from the Classic Timeline and the New Timeline is the placement of the events of the first movie in 1984 and the second in late 1989. The "shift" of those stories one year was suggested by the animation, which is not considered canon in the New Timeline. Some birthdates that were firmly established by pre-2008 animation are no longer considered valid, except for some derived from the GBI role playing game (and, in one case, "confirmed" in EGB).
One new change is the addition of the 88MPH material to the New Timeline. On the one hand, it was actually the very first "revival" product released; on the other, like RGB, it is contradicted by a strict interpretation of GB2--where the Ghostbusters are forced out of business just after defeating Gozer. The Ghostbusters: Infestation mini-series provided enough room to re-open the possibility of post-GB1 pre-shutdown cases, so it's back in. That makes it, if you're keeping track, the only non-movie story to be part of both Timelines at this writing.
The IDW series is currently placed in 1990-1991 on a "sliding" time scale similar to that used by big publishers such as Marvel or DC. Four years of real time is roughly equal to one year of in-universe time; thus, the comics that are released from late 2008 through 2012 (if the book endures) are considered roughly one year of in-universe time, which at this writing is set in 1990. I tried to keep everything in the order in which it was released, save in the case of the seasonal-themed one-shots released in 2009-2010; they were placed in the appropriate spots of 1990. The Video Game occurs in late 1991; at the moment, I'm keeping events between GB2 and the Video Game until/unless specific references are made that can place IDW's events after the game. As their comics are currently ongoing, the IDW chronology is highly speculative and subject to potentially massive revision as more information comes in.
Forget what I just wrote there. The previews of IDW's Ghostbusters #1 include a back-up feature that clearly places the series after the events of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, meaning that presumably the series takes place in 1992 (or the equivalent thereof). I've restored the pre-ongoing miniseries to 1990-1991 in their release order and moved Ghostbusters: Infestation to 1992. IDW is playing somewhat loose with the time progression, with references placing some things later on up to two years later than they are here (IE Vol.2 #13 includes an implication of it happening in February 1996 instead of 1994), while at the same time they're not trying to hard to be "in period"; for the moment, since this isn't an official reference anyway, I'm going to play it by ear
Where are The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters, then?
Those are still integral to the Classic Timeline, which focuses on parts of the franchise released before 2008, and the GBI Timeline, which is a "fanon" timeline in which I (and several others) set our fan fictions.
But what about the the iBooks novel? Where does it fit in?
The iBooks novel is set in a "nebulous time" approximately two years after the second movie. The Return is invalidated by Ghostbusters: The Video Game, most notably by the establishment of Jock Mulligan as the Mayor of New York after Lenny Clotch. The Return featured Arnie Lapinski as the post-Clotch Mayor; as the plot of the novel features Arnie's re-election campaign, it would have to take place after GBVG if added to the New Timeline. At present, it is not.
Primary Canon Elements
The main elements of the canon are these.
Ghostbusters(GB1)(1984, Columbia Pictures) Directed by Ivan Reitman.
The 1999 DVD release includes a commentary track by Reitman, Harold Ramis, and
producer Bernie Brillstein, as well as deleted scenes. Some of this made it into
Ghostbusters 2(GB2)(1989, Columbia Pictures) Directed by Ivan
Ghostbusters: Legion (2004-2005, 88MPH Studios)
Ghostbusters: The Zeddemore Factor (2004, 88MPH Studios)
Ghostbusters: The Other Side (2008-2009, IDW)
Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted (2008, Tokyopop)
Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression (2009, IDW)
Ghostbusters: Past, Present, Future (2009, IDW)
Ghostbusters: Tainted Love (2010, IDW)
Ghostbusters: Con-Volution (2010, IDW)
Ghostbusters: What The Sam Hain Just Happened? (2010, IDW)
Ghostbusters: Infestation (2011, IDW)
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime (2011, Atari)
Ghostbusters #1-16 (Ongoing comic series by IDW, 2011-2012)
Ghostbusters Vol. 2 #1-13 (Ongoing comic series by IDW, 2013-Present)
Updates to the New Timeline will eventually include:
Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009, Atari/Sony)
Secondary Canon Sources
Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Role Playing Game and
Ghostbusters International (GBI)(West End Games, 1986/1989) This is the sole non-movie exception to the "nothing from before 2008" rule; it was a licensed produced based solely off the movies. The GBI
edition includes character profiles that give the ages of the characters, from
which I derived some conjectural years of birth. Some "facts" I mention as conjectural were
derived from material that OgreBBQ and I "established" during two campaigns
run on this game system.
Ghostbusters.net, now archived, webmastered by
Chad Paulson, was an experience. You could spend hours just prowling through the
message boards and fan fictions. Its episode reviews included plot synapsis that
were invaluable in preparing this document, and the insight and support of
several members proved invaluable in the fine tuning of this document.
The Real Ghostbusters Fan
Page! (Now no longer online) Webmastered by Shiela Paulson, possibly the most prolific creator of
Ghostbuster fan fiction. Many of the names for Ghostbuster relatives not
originating in the canon come from her works.
Ghostbusters Fan Fiction Review, no longer online due to AOL shutting their hosting down, featured a wonderful Ghostbuster Canon List
(slightly out of date, but it reminded me of things even I'd forgotten!) and
some insightful insights into the characters, including some speculations about
the Ghostbusters' religions and whether Egon has Marfan Syndrome.
Spook Central is run by Paul Rudoff, like Fritz a contributor to the Now comics' letter pages. Spook Central is one of the best GB sites of all, and the scripts to the movies and Sanctum of Slime found there proved invaluable.
Proton Charging is a great
Ghostbusters news site run by Chris "castewar" Stewart.
Real Ghostbusters: Out Of Control. Fan site established by Tory Brown back in the late 1990's, filled with some humorous "interviews'" with the Ghostbusters, some fan fics, and reference works. Matthew Riddle found the list of Ghostbusters birth dates there (though none of them were used as-is).
Then there were some non-Ghostbuster related works that were nevertheless
Randy McCall and Kevin Simbieda, Beyond the Supernatural (First Edition) (Palladium Books, 1988) While
a part of a fictional role-playing universe, it has a wealth of real background
detail and how the supernatural might work in a "real" world; a bit grimmer in
tone than Ghostbusters, it is nevertheless worth a look if you can find
it. The Parapsycholgist PCC just has "Ghostbuster" written all over it.
Don Rosa, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (Egmont Publication, 1991-1993; printed in the United States by Gladstone Publishing , 1994-1996; Gemstone Publishing, 2005; and Boom Studios, 2010) This brilliant work by the seldom-disputed heir to the legacy of the late Carl Barks took the disparate elements of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge continuity, not necessarily meant to work together (never mind be still studied sixty years later) and created a coherent timeline of events and a springboard he still uses to create some of the best stories being published today. Not a direct source, more an example of how it can be done.
The Movies are identified by their AMG Work Numbers
The comics are being marked by a system inspired by that at Inducks.org.
XU: A Story produced by the United States (ie Now Comics, 88MPH, IDW).
The new system provides a better system of referencing, especially in regards to issues with more than one story.