[Update: We’ve added Cage’s interview for anyone who would like to hear the news directly from the actor himself.]

It’s been unclear, for several months, if Nicolas Cage would reprise his role as Johnny Blaze in the upcoming Marvel sequel, Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance.

Comic-Con is only one week away so, of course, it came as no surprise when Cage announced that he has officially signed on for Ghost Rider 2 – on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Cage was on the show promoting The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but when Ferguson asked Cage about a Ghost Rider sequel, Cage had this to say:

“There’s gonna be a new one. I just made the deal today.”

Then the audience erupted into applause – which makes you wonder if any of them saw the first film.

If you’d like to see the quote in context, as well as Ferguson’s flaming skull prop and robot skeleton, check out the video below [announcement near the 3:30 mark]. Thanks to Screen Rant reader Orlando for following up with the video:

Cage’s Ghost-Rider involvement had recently been called into question, just as National Treasure 3 pre-production started – leading many to wonder whether Cage would be forced to hang-up his flaming skull. However, National Treasure 3 director, John Turtletaub, dispelled the speculation:

“He’ll make both. Also an actor’s schedule is three to four months. Whereas a movies takes a year and a half. So it won’t be an issue.”

In addition to announcing his return to the Hellcycle, Cage also confirmed the recent rumor that Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the duo behind the Crank films, will take-over Ghost Rider directorial duties.

While confirmation of Neveldine and Taylor’s involvement is encouraging, as the duo definitely favors the brand of edgy violence that was absent in the first film, it’s important to note the pair also wrote the screenplay for critical, and commercial, disaster Jonah Hex.

In addition, the Neveldine and Taylor announcement also makes it harder to know which aspects of producer Mike De Luca’s comments, back in January, are still on the table.

At the time, De Luca touted there would be a new director (confirmed) as well as a harder-line PG-13 rating (likely – given the level of violence in Neveldine and Taylor’s previous work). However, he also mentioned that the sequel will take place in Europe and “[push] the reset button” on the Ghost Rider franchise – neither of which makes a lot of sense, given Cage’s return.

Personally, I wish they had pressed the reset button a lot harder – and left the original Ghost Rider behind.

Given the lack-luster, anti-climactic, cheese-fest that was presented in Ghost Rider, it makes sense to reboot – but it doesn’t make sense to reboot with Cage attached. Not to mention, Cage’s performance (or at least casting) was one of the worst aspects of the original film. Returning to Ghost Rider also feels a bit like a step-back for the actor, who did such a great job parodying a comic-book hero in Kick-Ass.

In the end, for most people, Cage’s name isn’t synonymous with the Ghost Rider character – so it’s hard to understand De Luca’s dedication to the actor. Then again, maybe the recent mess brought-on by recasting the Hulk every three years has got Marvel wanting to play it safe.

Source: Collider