Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire director Gil Kenan talks creating the "most violent and menacing" villain for new sequel

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
(Image credit: Sony)

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire director Gil Kenan has opened up on creating the "most dangerous, the most violent and menacing adversary that a ghostbuster has ever faced."

"I'm really proud of Garraka. We were so excited to go back to finish the Gozer saga in Afterlife because it felt like it was a way of settling a score with the past," Kenan tells GamesRadar+. 

"We almost needed to do that in order to clear the table for new mythologies, new adversaries. And with aka there was an understanding that in this second chapter of the story, we would be creating a much-heightened sense of set of stakes both personally and externally for the city."

Afterlife, the fourth Ghostbusters film and a direct sequel to Ghostbusters 2, resurrects the franchise's original big bad – an ancient Sumerian god named Gozer (played in the 2021 film by Shohreh Aghdashloo), and has her face off against a new generation of Ghostbusters: Egon Spengler's daughter Callie (Carrie Coon), her new partner Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), and her kids Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace).

The fifth film in the Ghostbusters franchise, Frozen Empire, sees the Spengler family take on an ancient spirit named Garraka, who is accidentally released from his century-long prison stay and embarks on a sinister journey to cover the entire world in ice and freeze everyone to death. He's also able to control other ghosts, which, uh, makes him especially terrifying.

"So Garraka had to sort of carry a lot of weight on his shoulders. He had to be a kind of nightmarish vision that would give all of our characters something unified to have to come together to stand a chance to survive," Kenan continues. "And in terms of creating the character, obviously there's two parts to this. One is the writing and creating a new mythology that goes back to an ancient civilization that was really fun to, to write and research. Jason [Reitman] and I did a lot of our writing here in London."

New cast members Kumail Nanjiani and Patton Oswalt play a significant role when it comes to learning more about Garraka's origins, but you'll just have to see the movie in order to find out.

Added Kenan: "We used to go to the British Museum and explore the hall of ancient artifacts as a way to kind of find our own organic way into these story threads. And then visually I did what I always do, which is I take out a piece of paper and a pen and I just start drawing something that feels like a pure embodiment of the character that we're writing."

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is in theaters now. For more, check out our interview with Gil Kenan about bringing the OG Ghostbusters back as main characters, or our chat with Finn Wolfhard about whether Garraka is scarier than Vecna. If you've seen the film, head on over to our guide to the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire ending explained, or our guide to the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire post-credits scenes.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.