When it was first announced that Ghost Rider would be making his way over to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it was a bit confusing, to say the least. Tonally, he certainly seemed like a character who would be a much better fit on the Netflix side of things, where the action is harder and the world grimier. In fact, there were rumors that supported the idea that that he would be getting his own Netflix show down the line. Obviously, things have changed sinc then. But why Agents?
Speaking with CBR, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb talked about how the reason they wanted him in the show was because they wanted to tell his origin:
“I think one of the things we always start out with is, 'What’s the story behind the character?' In this particular case, the idea of Robbie Reyes and his story — if you go back to the very beginning, Peter Parker’s story is what makes Spider-Man interesting. Matt Murdock’s story is what makes Daredevil interesting. Robbie Reyes’ story is what makes Ghost Rider interesting. The idea of an older brother who’s trying to take care of a younger brother because he feels responsible for what happened to him, and a younger brother who thinks that he’s actually more responsible for the older brother, is a great place to begin.”
While I can definitely see Loeb’s point in wanting to bring that origin to the small screen, I still don’t quite understand is why it couldn’t have been done on a Netflix series. Perhaps it was a desire to shake up the story some more and address criticism that the series doesn’t really seem to take advantage of the fact that it’s living in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, Loeb didn’t state that, but he did state that a part of the fun was having the opportunity to change up the setting a bit.
“It’s also a terrific venue that we haven’t really spent a lot of time in, to be able to set the show in East LA. Then there’s just badass coolery — the idea that he has a black car that’s got hellfire shooting out of it. I’m in! And I really have to give credit where credit’s due; our extraordinary visual effects people. When you get to see how Ghost Rider is finally presented — and you do get to see it in the first episode — you won’t believe that level of special effects can be achieved on television. It has nothing to do with budget, just the amount of time that it takes for that to happen; to have the lead time to be able to tell that story.”
Then, of course, there’s perhaps one of the biggest problem. What if Ghost Rider is so good that everyone else in the show starts to pale in comparison to him?
“I think you’ll see that he never overshadows our cast, because our cast is really why people watch the show. It is funny that people say they don’t see it as a natural thing that they would go to — the truth of the matter is, S.H.I.E.L.D., from the very beginning, when they were asked what it is that they do, it is to look at the strange, the unusual, the weird in the Marvel Universe. To determine whether or not it’s dangerous, and if it is, take it down, bring it in, or somehow learn how to train it. That’s in the first episode — there is nothing weirder, stranger, more unreal or dangerous than Ghost Rider. In many ways, it lends itself right to what’s going on.”
So what’s next for Ghost Rider? Will he have a complete arc in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Once that’s out of the way, what can we expect to see with him? Obviously, it’s hard to say at this point, as studios are rarely open to revealing all the twists and turns a series will have in the coming season, but in a recent video from IGN, editor Terri Schwartz opened up about an odd thing Jeph Loeb said at an event she went to for the season premiere:
“I was at a premiere screening for this and Jeph Loeb introduced a bunch of different artists and writers who created Robbie Reyes and influenced the Ghost Rider design throughout the years, and also the person created Punisher was there, and Jeph was like, ‘You will understand later in the season why all these different people are here and why it all makes sense.’”
Schwartz then went on to question if this meant that the Punisher could be brought in to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While I’m not sure how good a fit Punisher would make in the show, this does make me question whether or not the pair of characters could team up in some way. As we revealed earlier today, Jon Bernthal is headed to New York next month to shoot his standalone Punisher Netflix series, and with that schedule in mind, is it possible that Loeb’s comments in the premiere was meant to allude to Ghost Rider leaving Agents and crossing over to The Punisher?
That would certainly be a way to mix things up between Netflix and network TV, and a way to justify Ghost Rider’s origins being covered in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before having him cross over into the Netflix side of things. Obviously, there’s a hefty amount of speculation going on here, but something fishy certainly seems to be happening over at Marvel TV with this character.
What do you think? Is this a cool idea, or is that a bit too much convolution for its own good? Let us know in the comments down below!