After two years of largely dealing with introducing then exploring the Inhumans, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 will be delving into a different kind of science with the introduction of Life-Model Decoys and magic as Ghost Rider joins the show. Marvel announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego this summer that Gabriel Luna was cast as Robbie Reyes a.k.a. Ghost Rider, and his signature muscle car was unveiled on the show floor.
In the weeks since the official announcement, the season 4 synopsis teased Ghost Rider as someone who could be a friend or foe to S.H.I.E.L.D. Plus, it seems Robbie will be met early on in the season by Daisy Johnson a.k.a. Quake (Chloe Bennet) as the actress revealed she’s worked with Luna already and we’ve seen here character take on Ghost Rider’s car through set videos. Now, Luna has discussed what he believes his character will bring to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4.
In an interview with IGN, Luna spoke about his love of the Marvel Comics on which his character is based, and the number of comic runs he read in preparation for the role. According to Luna, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s take on the character of Ghost Rider will attempt to be a fresh spin while still staying true to the “history and mythos” of the comics. He said, “I think Jed and Mo and the writing team has done a really good job of doing that.”
Additionally, the actor explained how Ghost Rider will bring magic to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
The magical element is new to the world. They’ve always been rooted in a very realistic kind of depiction. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a bridge between us the audience and the MCU. It’s like Thor’s rainbow bridge. Now you’re incorporating some of these things that they may not understand. It’s a whole new frontier, which is always cool.
Certainly, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s focus on Inhumans throughout its past two seasons has seen the team’s duo of Fitz (Leo de Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) explain their powers and physiology through the science of the human/kree experiments. Even Hive (Brett Dalton)’s mind control was explained through his affect on his victims’ brains.
So, Ghost Rider will mark Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first foray into unexplainable magic and it will arrive shortly before mysticism is introduced to the film side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Doctor Strange. We know that Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson has said “magic is magic” in the film, but it remains to be seen how exactly Ghost Rider’s powers will be explained – or not explained – in season 4.
As for whether Ghost Rider will appear in any of Marvel property, Luna was asked if he’s excited to see the character grow beyond his part in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; he said, “Absolutely. I mean, I signed on the line to do all the work necessary to make the Ghost Rider real.”
In an additional interview that IGN performed with Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb, the exec discussed their partnership with ABC and how the move of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the 9pm to the 10pm timeslot has opened up the possibilities of what the show can explore as well as hopefully helping the series appeal to more and/or different viewers. Specifically in regards to the Ghost Rider storyline in season 4, Loeb said:
“If it’s cool and if it’s fun and if they engage with it the way that we already have engaged with Gabe, I think there’s an opportunity not only to tell stories – the really good Ghost Rider stories – within our family, but then who knows where it goes? Who knows where he rides off to?”
Of course, Loeb’s last comment may hint at Ghost Rider riding off to other corners of the MCU – like, for instance, into the Netflix universe. But, the Marvel TV exec was quick to say it’s up to the networks to determine what stories they want to tell – a sentiment Loeb previously voiced when talking about the possibility of an Agent Carter revival. Still, for now, fans have Luna’s take on Ghost Rider in season 4 of Agents of SHIELD to look forward to.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 premieres Tuesday, September 20 @10pm on ABC.