The return of demonically-cursed Nicolas Cage is upon us, as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance hits theaters later this week. Sony has gone all-out marketing the comic book movie sequel, having released TV spots and clips aplenty, in the hopes that fans will not only shell out cash to see this flick on the big screen – but also, turn out in large enough numbers for the studio to justify greenlighting Ghost Rider 3 in the near future.

We have yet another Spirit of Vengeance featurette (complete with not-yet-glimpsed footage) available for viewing today, along with confirmation from directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor that there’s already been serious discussion about them (and Cage) returning for GR 3.

Spirit of Vengeance picks up with Cage as ex-stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze several years after the first Ghost Rider film. Blaze has yet to rid himself of the curse which transforms him into the devil’s bounty hunter when he’s approached by a mysterious monk (Idris Elba), who offers him a simple deal: Protect a young boy (Fergus Riordan) and his mother (Violante Placido) from Satan himself (Ciarán Hinds) and Blaze will rid himself of his Rider abilities forever.

For more about the grittier tone and style of the sequel, check out the Spirit of Vengeance featurette below:

Ghost Rider 3 with Nicolas Cage already on the way?

While we here at Screen Rant have previously speculated about how Riordan’s Spirit of Vengeance character (Danny Ketch) could set the stage for a Ghost Rider 3 that doesn’t feature Johnny Blaze, a new Playlist interview with Neveldine and Taylor (who say that Cage is “very pumped” about working on a GR threequel) seems to suggest there won’t be any passing-the-torch between Riders going on in Spirit of Vengeance after all.

Cage does appear to be portraying a more world-weary and tortured version of Blaze in Spirit of Vengeance – unlike his hammier take on the character in the first Ghost Rider flick – so perhaps the actor’s detractors will be more open to the idea of Cage starring in GR3 after they see his version of a “grounded” Blaze in the second installment.

Could Nicolas Cage ride again in 'Ghost Rider 3'?

While Neveldine and Taylor have informed The Playlist that talks about a third Ghost Rider flick (with them at the helm) have already commenced, the pair also made it clear that the box office returns for Spirit of Vengeance will definitely determine whether they’ll be brought back for a third round. However, considering that the duo delivered a sequel that both ups the action quotient significantly and costs $35 million less than the original GR movie, things seem to working in their favor right now.

Early buzz for Spirit of Vengeance is pretty mediocre, but that won’t matter if Neveldine and Taylor’s comic book adaptation strikes the right chord with ticket buyers in the mood for some stylistically-electrified mindless movie action. So, expect to hear more about progress on Ghost Rider 3 either heating up or grinding to a halt, during the forthcoming weeks.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance hits 2D and 3D theaters in the U.S. on February 17th, 2012.

Source: iTunes Movie TrailersThe Playlist