Earlier this month, buses in San Diego were covered with logos for Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D with fiery chains in the graphics. Though it is likely that this is the weapon of Hellfire (who brandished the same weapon towards the end of Season 3), many thought this could be the sign that Ghost Rider could be coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, with Marvel releasing a casting call for two Latino brothers (one wheel-chair bound), it's possible that the new Marvel NOW! Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider may be introduced into the show.
Regardless of whether or not this is the case, Ghost Rider is back where he belongs in the hands of Marvel, and they have several versions of the character that are able to use when and how they wish. Even if the Reyes version of the character debuts in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, there’s nothing saying we couldn’t be getting multiple incarnations of Ghost Rider. With Netflix channeling the darker Marvel Knights series of books, there's still a strong possibility we could see Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch in the not-too-distant future.
Whether we get Blaze, Ketch, Reyes, or even the original 1967 Carter Slade, Marvel will inevitably be bringing the character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Until they do, here’s our list of 15 Actors Who Could Play Ghost Rider.
15 Ryan Guzman – Robbie Reyes
Largely known for his roles in Pretty Little Liars as well as Step Up 4 & 5, Guzman is a well-rounded up-and-comer that would be a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No stranger to comic conventions, Guzman also starred in the 2015 reboot Heroes: Reborn. In his role as Carlos Gutierrez, an Afghanistan war veteran falsely awarded a medal for saving soldiers, he has shown that he can demonstrate the inner turmoil that comes along with the hellish power that inhabits Ghost Rider.
As of late, the talented actor has even scored a role starring alongside Jennifer Lopez in 2015’s The Boy Next Door. In the dramatic thriller, he showcases his talents as a sympathetic antagonist that the audience both roots for and against during the course of the film. The dualities that Guzman has proven he can exhibit are exactly the type of character traits needed to sympathize with Ghost Rider, while being occasionally appalled at his tactics.
14 Norman Reedus - Johnny Blaze
Let’s get one of the obvious picks out of the way. Yes, we would all LOVE to see Reedus possessed by Zarathos (the demon inside Johnny Blaze) and yes, he even mentioned in an interview that he would more than be up for it. However, despite AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 6 cliffhanger, it’s unlikely the network or the show would be willing to part with fan-favorite Daryl Dixon anytime soon.
That said, if by some miracle he could swing both series, or if they decide to take him out of the picture on The Walking Dead, he’d of course be a phenomenal choice for the role of a grease monkey/stuntman turned vigilante. We’ve all watched the character growth he is capable of in his portrayal as Dixon, he would definitely have the acting-chops to handle a character that is haunted by the aggressive, hellish power that overtakes him.
Not only is he an intimidating actor, he also has a deep knowledge and appreciation for motorcycles. This is displayed best on his new limited AMC series Ride with Norman Reedus.
13 Joel Edgerton – Daniel Ketch
This Australian-born actor came to local prominence with his two-season role as Will McGill in the Australian soap opera The Secret Life of Us. Shortly thereafter, Edgerton hit the worldwide spotlight with his portrayal of a young (Uncle) Owen Lars in Episodes II and III of the Star Wars prequels trilogy. Since then, the actor has maintained a steady body of impressive work. Recently he portrayed John Connolly, the childhood friend of Whitey Bulger, in one of the few memorable performances of 2015’s Black Mass.
Time and time again, Edgerton has been a standout in films that weren’t necessarily worthy of his talents (Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Great Gatsby, etc.). Taking on the heavy-hearted role of Daniel Ketch, a man who became Ghost Rider after watching his sister get shot in the chest, put into a coma, and later killed, could be just the sort of dramatic injection that the Marvel Cinematic Universe could benefit from.
12 Pedro Pascal – Carter Slade
We love Pascal. Not only would be make a great version of Namor: The Sub-Mariner, he would also make a great addition as the original Ghost Rider (retroactively named The Phantom Rider), Carter Slade. Regardless of which actor first helms the mantle of Ghost Rider, it will open up the possibility of doing a look back at previous Spirits of Vengeance and the origin of the powers that come with it. Enter: The Phantom Rider. Though likely a little too rugged of an actor to portray either Blaze or Ketch, Pascal would make a great addition as Slade.
After spending years bouncing between different hit TV shows as single-episode characters, Pascal finally made an impression on both Narcos and Game of Thrones. If Marvel wants the talented Pascal for a role, they had better strike quick, as his dance card is rapidly becoming full. Not only is he in ever-increasing demand on TV, he’s also playing the character of Jack Daniels in the upcoming sequel Kingsman: The Secret Service.
11 Tyler Posey – Robbie Reyes
Getting his start early in Hollywood, the then-11-year-old actor got his first film role playing Mauro in 2001’s Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Collateral Damage. During this time he also spent years in the reoccurring role of Raul Garcia in the all-but-forgotten television show Doc (in which Billy Ray Cyrus starred as a Christian, New York doctor). For the next decade, he maintained steady work, bouncing around several TV and film roles until in 2011, when he was cast as Scott McCall in MTV’s reboot of Teen Wolf.
In light of Teen Wolf’s massive success, Posey has become a sought after actor, most recently starring in Kevin Smith’s latest film Yoga Hosers. Being only 24-years-old and coming into the show with his own (younger) fan base, Posey could be exactly the combination Marvel is looking for in order to boost the notoriously rocky ratings on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10 Alexander Skarsgård – Blaze/Ketch
After becoming a household name in Sweden at the age of thirteen, due to his starring role as Kalle Nubb on the Sweedish show Hunden som log (The Dog That Smiled), Skarsgård gave up acting due to being uncomfortable with being recognized. However, in 2004 he had regained his love of the craft and was cast in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. From there he jumped onto the project that he is most well-known for, True Blood, where he spent the entirety of the series in the role of Eric Northman, a 1000-year-old vampire sheriff.
Though it is faring better than expected, Skarsgård’s newest movie Tarzan is doing pitifully at the box office. Seeing as how he hasn’t had much luck with tentpole productions (2012’s Battleship did poorly as well) perhaps his own starring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be welcomed with open arms. After all, he is a motorcycle aficionado and has the chops to pull off either Blaze or Ketch.
9 Ethan Hawke – Danny Ketch
In a world where Academy Award-nominated actors such as Ian McKellen, Anthony Hopkins and Josh Brolin have portrayed Marvel characters, comic book franchises are no longer just for up and comers. Born the son of an insurance actuary and a charity-worker, Hawke is a self-made man that, much like the character Daniel Ketch, grew up in New York. Lacking the familial ties that draw many young actors to the industry, Hawke instead entered acting after begging his mother to allow him to take part in an audition at 14-years-old.
Though too old to play the origin story of the character (in which he becomes possessed while defending his sister) it would be amazing to find a younger actor to compliment his performance through the flashbacks of an older, more grizzled Hawke. It should be stated that he does have a love of motorcycles (and has his license). However, he has since given them up due to having kids. That said, a motorcycle is like riding a bike, once learned, it’s never forgotten.
8 Omar Avila – Robbie Reyes
Having previously played Joe Toro in 2004’s The Punisher (one half of the Cuban mobsters that were in dealings with John Travolta’s Howard Saint) Omar has already dabbled in the Marvel Universe. Getting his start in the late-90s by being featured in many telenovelas, the Cuban-American actor first dabbled in Hollywood with a small, uncredited role in 2003’s Bad Boys 2. Since then, he’s been steadily climbing the ranks and landed reoccurring roles in both TV’s Justified and the short-lived Heroes: Destiny mini-series.
A relatively unknown actor who has proven himself more than capable in many settings, Avila may be exactly what Marvel is looking for in this first foray into the character of Ghost Rider. Since Robbie Reyes drives a car instead of riding a motorcycle, there is no need for Avila to have any experience on two wheels. Though he’s a little old if Marvel chooses to adapt the character completely faithful to the comic book, nothing in the casting-call mentions the age of the brothers, so all bets are off.
7 Ben Foster – Daniel Ketch
Another actor already steeped in Marvel Movie history, Ben Foster co-starred in 2004’s The Punisher and was one of the very few highlights of Brett Ratner’s notoriously abhorred X-Men: The Last Stand. Quitting school his junior year of high school to pursue a career in acting, Foster had his own apartment in Los Angeles by the time he was 17 years old. His first big break came when getting cast as a lead in the first Disney Channel Original Series Flashforward, and he has been working consistently ever since. Though he recently co-starred in Duncan Jones’ Warcraft, Foster has spent the last few years acting on stage in productions such as Orphans and A Streetcar Named Desire.
Though he played one of the lesser roles (Spacker Dave) in The Punisher and one of the better (Angel) in The Last Stand, it would be nice to see Foster hit that sweet-spot of becoming a great character in a great Marvel adaptation, and his portrayal of Ghost Rider could be exactly that.
6 Garrett Hedlund – Johnny Blaze
An actor who surprisingly has yet to take a turn as a superhero, Hedlund got his start with a breakout performance in 2004’s Troy as Achilles' cousin Patroclus (for which he won the Teen Choice Award for Choice Male Breakout Movie Star). The same year he also turned in an amazing performance as Don Billingsley, the son of an abusive father, in Friday Night Lights. Not bad for an actors' first two projects.
Already familiar with being on two wheels, Garrett had to learn to ride a motorcycle and took a two hour course per day leading up to the filming of Tron: Legacy. Since the last two franchise vehicles he has attempted both stalled after the first entry (Tron and Pan) one would think that Hedlund is likely chomping at the bit to find one that suits him a bit better, perhaps with the safety and security that comes with portraying a beloved Marvel character.
5 Jack O'Connell – Johnny Blaze
After making his raucous debut as the character Pukey in 2006’s teenage skinhead drama This Is England, O’Connell continued playing a series of troubled youth roles, among them the 2008 horror film Eden Lake and the second generation of the hit UK TV series Skins. In a case of art mirroring reality, O’Connell had a rough go of it during his formative years, not being able to afford a hotel, he occasionally slept outside while attending casting auditions in London. However, after turning in a series of spellbinding performances it wasn’t long before Hollywood came knocking, resulting in starring roles in both 2014’s Unbroken as well as 2016’s Money Monster.
Growing up in a series of traveling stunt shows and being abandoned by his mother, Blaze had a rocky adolescence before becoming possessed by Zarathos. Although O’Connell was raised by a loving family, he still embodies many of the characteristics of a man that had a troublesome childhood and would be a perfect fit for the character.
4 Diego Luna – Robbie Reyes
Luna got his start very young, working on several telenovelas. Being born to a mother working in the film industry and a father who was one of the most acclaimed operatic set designers in Mexico, he quickly became enamored with the theater and started acting at the age of three years old. Consistently working as an actor ever since, in the early 2000s he made the jump over to producer as well, allowing him to have a strong knowledge of everything both in front, and behind of the lens.
A strong actor that has worked on several high-profile Hollywood films such as Elysium and Milk, Luna is still an off the beaten path choice that would allow Marvel to get an incredible talent at an affordable rate. If he is to be snatched up for a comic book franchise, the studios better act soon as he will likely be much higher in demand after appearing in the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
3 Toby Kebbell – Johnny Blaze
Nominated for Most Promising Newcomer from the British Independent Film Awards, Toby Kebbel got his start in 2004’s Dead Man’s Shoes by playing a young, mentally-impaired man. His portrayal was so powerful that after watching the film, Woody Allen cast him in his 2005 crime thriller Match Point. He then went on to win the Best Supporting Actor Award (again from the British Independent Film Awards) for his role as Joy Division’s manager in 2007’s Control. Only four years into his career at this point, he then learned to play piano and operate a semi-automatic rifle in order to study for his role as Johnny Quid in Guy Ritchie’s 2008, return-to-form RocknRolla.
One of the most versatile actors on this list, Kebbel has proven that he can run the gamut between dangerous, endearing, broken, and suave. As a charismatic stuntman who transforms into a vigilante with a flaming skull, these are characteristics necessary to ground Ghost Rider into the reality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
2 Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Blaze/Ketch
A Danish born actor, producer, and screenwriter who studied for years at the Danish National School of Theatre in Copenhagen, Coster-Waldau set out to work immediately after graduation. Getting his start on stage with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he is a classically trained, diverse actor who speaks several languages. Though he got his breakout Hollywood role with 2001’s Black Hawk Down, he admirably has made it a point to continue taking roles in his homeland of Scandinavia.
No stranger to the role of an anti-hero, few actors are better suited to play Ghost Rider than the man who has taken the mantle of fan favorite Jaime Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones. On the show, the actor has demonstrated that he is capable of being a sympathetic character, despite making some incredibly deplorable choices along the way. This is exactly the type of character duality needed to accurately portray the spirit of vengeance.
1 Diego Boneta – Robbie Reyes
If Marvel is indeed looking for a younger version of Robbie Reyes to bring into the fold on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, then this may be the way they go. The young actor/singer got his start doing both Mexican telenovelas and reality TV before breaking through in the US with reoccurring roles in both Pretty Little Liars and 90210. Since then he has come to prominence with a starring role in the first season of Fox’s TV show Scream Queens. In it, he plays Pete Martinez, the barista of a local coffee shop and the editor of the school newspaper.
Having already made his first foray into the world of network television, Boneta has proven that he can hold his own among an ensemble cast. He’s the perfect age to play a faithful adaptation of the character from the comic book, and would be a perfect fit into the role of Robbie Reyes.