Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has never been a ratings juggernaut. Despite tying into the immensely profitable Marvel Cinematic Universe, the show has sometimes struggled to bring the excitement of those movies to the small screen. The addition of Ghost Rider to season 4, then, can be seen as an attempt to kick that excitement into gear and draw in audiences who have been lukewarm toward the show so far.
It should come as no surprise that ABC is making Ghost Rider the focal point of their marketing push for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fourth season. One of the criticisms of the show is that it has lacked any big names from the Marvel universe, and Ghost Rider is a big name that hasn't been utilized in live-action form since the poorly received Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance hit movie theaters in 2012. Marvel released a video of the new Ghost Rider's car back at San Diego Comic-Con in July, with a set video in August teasing a showdown between Ghost Rider and Quake and a teaser video this month showing Ghost Rider making a getaway. Now a new teaser has been released, and it hints at Ghost Rider's mythology.
The new video was posted by the Television Promos YouTube account, and although it clocks in at a scant 15 seconds, that time is enough to set the tone for Ghost Rider's appearances in the season to come. "They say when the Rider burns you, he burns your soul," a voice says at the beginning of the video. It's then followed up with brief glimpses of Robby Reyes, the S.H.I.E.L.D. gang, and a screaming man who looks like he's about to see the business end of a speeding automobile.
Many long-time Marvel fans may think of the motorcycle-riding Johnny Blaze when they think about the Ghost Rider character, but with All-New Ghost Rider #1 in May of 2014 the mantle was taken up by Robbie Reyes: a mechanic from Los Angeles who was inhabited by a vengeful spirit after a street race gone wrong left him the victim of gang violence. Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb has explained the decision to go with the Reyes version of Ghost Rider by saying that "There’s not a lot of material on the character so it gives us a lot of room to have our take on it." Certainly that helps the show distance their Ghost Rider from the Nicolas Cage version seen on the big screen, but it also means the writers can shape the character more than they could if they used his more established predecessor.
Will the addition of Ghost Rider lead to an uptick in viewers for the upcoming season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? That much is hard to say at this point. At the very least, though, it does look like a shot in the arm for a show that had perhaps gotten a little too settled into its routine. See the full promo video above.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 premieres Tuesday, September 20 @10pm on ABC.
Source: Television Promos