Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be introducing Ghost Rider in season 4 as part of a new shift in the Marvel Universe, according to executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.
As EW earlier revealed, True Detective star Gabriel Luna has been tapped to play Ghost Rider, a.k.a. Roberto “Robbie” Reyes. In the comics, Robbie is a high school student working at an auto body shop, who tries to make a better life for him and his brother Gabe, who is in a wheelchair, by entering a street race, only to be gunned down.
“With Doctor Strange coming out this year, the Marvel Universe is moving into new waters,” Whedon told EW after the show’s panel at Comic-Con on Friday. “We felt that this was obviously a great character that we’d love to have on our show that we feel fits with that shift.”
For the uninitiated, in the titular film and its sequel, Nicolas Cage portrayed the first Ghost Rider, stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze. Reyes, on the other hand, drives a muscle car. “We decided to go with the Robbie Reyes version of the character because he’s a newer comic, and also it would be interesting to bring in someone with that background into our dynamic of the show,” Tancharoen said.
The All-New Ghost Rider comics reveal that Robbie is a different kind of Ghost Rider. Instead of being possessed by a Spirit of Vengeance, he’s taken over by a Satanic serial killer. The S.H.I.E.L.D. bosses, however, were shy to say whether they’ll go down that same path. “We’re staying true to his circumstance,” Tancharoen said. “But as always with any property that we use, we’re taking our liberties with it.”
“We’re pulling a little bit from different versions of the Ghost Rider,” Whedon added. “There’s an iconic image that we saw at Comic-Con of that skull on fire. Things are a little different with Robbie. There will be a little mixing and matching. We’re being true to the character, where he comes from, his little brother.”
As to whether Robbie will cross paths with the Inhuman James (Axle Whitehead), a.k.a. Hellfire, who, like Ghost Rider, also uses a Hellfire-enchanted chain, the producers stayed mum. “That’s a very interesting point,” Whedon would only offer.
Following the panel, the cast and executive producers headed to the Marvel booth on the convention floor, where they unveiled the first look at Reyes’ muscle car.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
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