When we look back on the most noteworthy superhero films of the century so far, Ghost Rider doesn’t exactly top the list. Distributed by Columbia Pictures in 2007, it was a pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that was more of a standalone project. Mark Steven Johnson (who also helmed 2003’s Daredevil) directed, and Nic Cage starred in what can perhaps be described as a mindless action flick that probably thrilled fans of the Underworld or Blade series. Most generously, one reasonably strong review called described it as “very good at being a piece of junk.”
No one could have known in 2007 that Ghost Rider would effectively be the last unpopular film to stem from Marvel (well, aside from Fantastic Four…). It was the following year that Iron Man debuted on screens around the world, kicking off not only the Marvel Cinematic Universe but a whole new era of larger-than-life superhero films. In short, the name of Marvel was immediately redeemed on the big screen whereas the name of Ghost Rider was relegated to the standalone trash heap built upon the likes of Hulk, Daredevil, and The Punisher.
Just as those characters all hung around in fans’ memories, however, and were ultimately rebooted successfully in various projects, Ghost Rider has never fully disappeared. There have been calls for a reboot throughout the years, and the character is the foundation of its own slot machine game among online games based on licensed material. Invoking the same fiery graphics and hardcore rock music featured in the film, the game offers a nice twist on your standard arcade slot reel, serving as more of a tribute to the character than a typical casino experience. The game’s popularity is noteworthy in that most of the similar titles at the same site concern more recently adapted characters.
The Ghost Rider comics also kept right on going despite the disappointment of the 2007 film. Ghost Rider Vol. 6 ran for 35 issues on either end of the film’s release, from 2006 to 2009, and the 10-issue Vol. 7 followed in 2011. Another series called All-New Ghost Rider came out in 2014, and a Vol. 8 is promised for 2017. These are all not to mention some side comics and limited series that have also been released in the aftermath of the 2007 movie.
Given all of this, as well as the continual expansion of the MCU, many thought it was a foregone conclusion that the character of Ghost Rider would be appearing again in one form or another. A popular theory was that he could command his own Netflix show, just as Daredevil (with appearances by The Punisher and Elektra) and Jessica Jones have done. Others thought Marvel Studios would simply find a way to work the character into one of the coming MCU films. As it turns out, neither of these theories was correct, because we are about to see a new version of this strangest of Marvel antiheroes.
Specifically, we’ve learned that ABC’s popular show Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. will introduce the character. A recent report offered a first look at Gabriel Luna, who will be taking on the role. Best known for his appearance in True Detective, Luna is a surprising pick for a hero role. Specifically, he’ll play Robbie Reyes, one of several different men to inhabit the Ghost Rider mantle in the comics. Amusingly enough, Luna’s first interview after accepting the role revealed that he hadn’t even been aware of the Robbie Reyes version of the character and was thus very surprised to get the offer. Nonetheless, Luna sounds very excited about getting the chance to craft a major Marvel hero that hasn’t already been established in a major cinematic project.
Here’s hoping Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives Luna a better chance that Nic Cage got in the 2007 movie!
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Nerd Stash. An avid gamer since I could walk and can be found in Ashland, KY, where he hopes to find inspiration and uniqueness in life by meeting awesome people, development friendships with companies, and become more nerdy.