Things are certainly beginning to heat up in the MCU, giving fans of all things Marvel good reason to be excited. The highly anticipated Luke Cage series is now streaming on Netflix, Doctor Strange is set to bring the Sorcerer Supreme to theaters next month, and recent reports indicate that the Punisher solo series has begun filming. But the first entry of the MCU on television, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has been delivering the excitement as well. After teasing the first MCU appearance of Ghost Rider, the Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) version of the character premiered in the first episode of season 4, and did not disappoint, delivering an epic standoff with Daisy Johnson/Quake (Chloe Bennett).
The first two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 have, among other things, explored the motivations behind Robbie Reyes' actions, and begun to lay the groundwork for an exciting team up with Daisy. It also appears that Phil Coulson and his team will soon encounter the Ghost Rider, as indicated by the episode 4 synopsis and images. And Ghost Rider certainly promises to play a large role going forward as it has been teased that he is directly connected to the "ghosts" that have now appeared in season 4.
The Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider, as portrayed by Gabriel Luna, has thus far been well received, and perhaps, erases some of the bad memories left over from Nicolas Cage's Johnny Blaze theatrical take on the character. Screen Rant was fortunate enough to speak with Gabriel Luna, where he had this to say about the Ghost Rider curse:
“It’s something that was thrust upon him so he didn’t etch that code into his thing, it’s now just a bargain, it’s his deal that he made and there are things I submit in terms of my own humanity but then there’s the threat - the love for Gabe that actually keeps it and maintains a connection and actually gives Robbie this great power over the monster."
Luna also led on how his little brother helped him understand the mixed blessing/curse:
"My little brother, he’s amazing he has an encyclopedic knowledge of this stuff and when he found out I got it he called me like crying like ‘Oh my god this is crazy.’ And then he just writes me this text that goes forever and it’s about the rider and what it is - in terms of it being a curse, in terms of it being this empowering, this blessing whatever it is. But the way he put it is, it’s [Ghost Rider’s] shadow. It’s going to always be there, you can’t shake your shadow. You just have to accept it as part of you. So these things that Robbie does, he feels as a man he feels a guilt, but you do a deal with the devil, you take what comes.”
It certainly seems like Luna has a good understanding of the role, and that is perhaps why his take on the Robbie Reyes character has been so well received thus far. His performance has been good enough to get some fans wondering if we could soon be seeing a Ghost Rider spin-off, much like what happened with Frank Castle after his appearance on Daredevil season 2. Well, we asked S.H.I.E.L.D. producer Jeph Loeb whether we could be seeing a Ghost Rider solo series, and he had this to say:
"I’ll give you the number of the people at ABC who make those decisions.
Obviously, whenever we set out with any of our characters we hope they pop, we hope they connect with the audience. In this particular case, it was a combination of three things — really good writing on the part of our staff, a young actor who is both committed to the role and also is not just a visual effect — he is, in the role of Robbie Reyes, connecting with the audience in a very special way — and the third thing is the fact that this is one of those iconic characters that we really hope can grow. Whether or not he spins out or takes off or sticks around - that would fall firmly under the category of you have to wait and see.”
The answer was a pretty classic non-answer, but certainly was not a no. What we know from Marvel Television, is that they have a pretty good idea what fans want - and are happy to deliver when it make sense creatively. Should Robbie Reyes' Ghost Rider remain popular with fans, there is no reason to believe he would not continue to play a role in future Marvel television productions. Regardless, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 is just getting started, and continues to promise one hell of a ride.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues with ‘Uprising’ Tuesday, October 11 at 10pm on ABC.