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Early last year, we exclusively broke the story that Sony and Disney had brokered a deal that would bring Spider-Man into to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But before anyone knew Tom Holland would be the new Spider-Man, there was lots of speculation that this new take on the character would actually be Miles Morales and not Peter Parker. Ultimately, Marvel stuck with the tried, true, and most iconic Spider-Man alter ego. But now that the time has come for Ghost Rider to enter Marvel’s live-action Universe via ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” they went the opposite way. Rather than go with Johnny Blaze– the most well-known Ghost Rider– they went with the newer, Latino character Robbie Reyes.

They made this announcement shortly after our intrepid Scoop Hunter, Kellvin Chavez,  broke the story.

This move makes sense, if you think about it. Unlike with Spidey/Parker, Rider/Blaze has more negative baggage associated with him. Despite misfires like SPIDER-MAN 3 and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, Spidey’s popularity remains high and all of his films have turned a hefty profit. Meanwhile. the first GHOST RIDER movie, starring Nicholas Cage, made barely enough to garner a sequel. The second one made even less. And both were killed by fans and critics alike. 

So bringing in a fresh interpretation makes sense, to distance themselves from the Cage films. But there’s more to it than that, of course, and Jeph Loeb took some time to shed some light on the decision-making that led us to Robbie Reyes.

In its inception, ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has always been about finding the new, the weird, the unexplainable, and having gone through the last couple seasons and finding out about the Inhumans,” Loeb told the press. “The Marvel catalogue is filled with all kinds of really interesting, new and often weird things. And so we hit on Ghost Rider and… and in particular with the character of Robbie Reyes, because our show really at the end of the day hinges on the idea of family and how that works in the world. Robbie and his relationship with Gabe and his relationship with the Ghost Rider are all really interesting things for our S.H.I.E.L.D. folks to encounter, possibly even in negative ways.

We’re doing the Robbie Reyes of the character, who is a young Latino man from East LA. We were attracted to that because of that fact, just to see what he would be like in the dynamic of the show,” executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen added. “Also, it’s Ghost Rider with the flaming car! It’s kind of awesome.”

To that end, they hired someone I have somewhat of a personal connection to. Gabriel Luna was the star of the El Rey Network’s “Matador.” My aunt, Elizabeth Peña, played his mother in that series and it was one of the last things she worked on before her untimely passing in the fall of 2014. 

The general idea for bringing Ghost Rider into “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” also made sense for the showrunners because the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to head off in new, exciting directions on the big screen, so they want the series to mirror that direction. 

‘Doctor Strange’ is coming out and, if you’re familiar with the comic, it’s sort of a different side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that’s going to be opened up, and we felt like it was the time to do this, because it plays in that world,” Jed Whedon, another executive producer, said. “It’s not exactly the spy world we live in. We feel like, with that entering the MCU, this is us sort of dipping our toe into that world as we open things up. And also it’s Ghost Rider, so it’s like there’s no real decision. They said, ‘Ghost Rider?’ ‘Yes, we will take it. Thank you.‘”

That last quote also reveals that Marvel Studios sort of pitched Ghost Rider to them for the show, which proves that- despite what some dismayed fans think- there is some legitimate synergy between the ABC show and the movies.

What do you think of the decision to make the new Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes instead of Johnny Blaze?

SOURCE: Comic Book Resources