It looks like Ghost Rider will return to live-action, but which Ghost Rider will it be? The safe bet is on Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch, but Cosmic Ghost Rider is tailor-made for the MCU.
Somehow, someway, Marvel Studios is going to bring Ghost Rider to the MCU. Sure, he was portrayed by Gabriel Luna in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and there are those ridiculous Nicolas Cage movies, but it appears Marvel wants us to forget about those incarnations.
Last year, Ghost Rider was one of several Marvel projects greenlit for Hulu’s streaming service. Since then, most of those projects have gotten the ax, including Ghost Rider.
That may have been the best thing to happen.
The latest word, according to The Direct, is that the master of all things Marvel, Kevin Feige, is developing a new Ghost Rider project. Whether this is another live-action Disney+ series or a feature film remains to be seen, but the rumor is that it will not be Robbie Reyes.
That automatically means Johnny Blaze will suit up for the MCU, right? Not necessarily. As any Ghost Rider fan knows, Blaze is not the only biker to be possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance. Let’s look at the candidates.
First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight #5 (1972)
This is the most obvious choice. While he wasn’t the original Ghost Rider, who would later be renamed the Phantom Rider when Marvel moved away from Westerns, Blaze is the name most associated with the Spirit of Vengeance. Why not? He’s been Ghost Rider on and off since the Bronze Age, and he is clearly the most popular incarnation. Obviously, he will be the MCU’s official Ghost Rider.
We’ve already seen Johnny Blaze in live-action. Granted it’s been eight years since Ghost Rider was last on the big screen, but those movies are so bad fans are still bitter. As we’ve seen with the Spider-Man MCU films, Marvel Studios avoids comparisons with previous franchises.
Could we see Blaze in a different role? Think about Ant-Man. Instead of using the classic Hank Pym Ant-Man, the studio opted for Scott Lang with Pym serving as a supporting character. This could be the case with Johnny Blaze, having him mentor a younger Ghost Rider.
First appearance: Ghost Rider #1 (1990)
That being said, I lean toward Ketch being Feige’s most likely choice for Ghost Rider. Although he’s not as popular as Blaze, Ketch is an established character in the Marvel Universe. True, Ketch was a main character in 2012’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, but he was cast as a child. Bringing him to life as an adult would make him a totally different character.
Ketch would allow more creative leeway in terms of casting and onscreen presence. When Johnny Blaze hits the screen, fans have expectations. With a lesser-known character like Ketch, the studio has more liberty in what can be done because audiences don’t have the same preconceived notions.
COSMIC GHOST RIDER
First appearance: Thanos #13 (2017)
This is a long shot, but Cosmic Ghost Rider could be the best choice for the silver screen.
Since his inception in the comics, Cosmic Ghost Rider (aka, alternate-future Frank Castle) has mostly been a comedy act along the lines of Deadpool. As we know, Feige and Disney love an action-comedy. Throw in the fact that the MCU is dominated by intergalactic shenanigans, and Cosmic Ghost Rider is the perfect fit.
I can’t see the Punisher being shelved to bring Cosmic Ghost Rider to life, but it is feasible to move Ketch into that role with a new backstory.
Opting for Cosmic GR would give Marvel Studios a chance to bring a classic character to life in a way audiences have never seen. It also would allow Marvel to separate a new Ghost Rider from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. version without deleting Robbie Reyes from MCU’s history, plus CGR can easily fit into the space-faring MCU. Even better, it would completely erase any comparisons fans could draw from the previous Ghost Rider movies.
But if I’m being honest, Nicolas Cage would make a great Cosmic Ghost Rider.