Ghost Rider on 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.': How superheroes return for another try

Gabriel Luna's Ghost Rider is the latest character with special powers to pop up in a new property.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Actor Gabriel Luna participates in the 'Wicked City' panel at the Disney/ABC Summer TCA Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. in 2015.

The upcoming episodes of ABC’s program “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” will include a character with whom even non-comic book fans may be familiar. 

“Agents,” which is debuting its fourth season on Sept. 20, is gaining attention for its plan to introduce the character of Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna), also known as Ghost Rider, on the program. 

The character of Ghost Rider was previously seen on the big screen in the 2007 film of the same name and a 2011 sequel, though in the movies, the identity of Ghost Rider was taken on by a man named Johnny Blaze, not Robbie Reyes. 

Some critics seem intrigued by the introduction of Ghost Rider on “Agents,” with Collider writer Adam Chitwood writing, “It’s become increasingly clear that the feature film side of Marvel Studios has little to do with what’s happening on the small screen, and so instead of developing minor tie-ins to the MCU, the ABC series is going its own way and introducing a popular comics character before the feature film side gets a chance.” 

This new move to bring Ghost Rider back to the forefront is simply the newest indication that in our current superhero-dominated pop culture, no hero with special powers is ever gone for good.

Both past and future Hollywood release schedules have been full of studios attempting to revive superheroes that didn’t become successes the first time. Last summer showed that this doesn’t always succeed, as 20th Century Fox attempted to release a new film about the Fantastic Four superhero team after two critically panned movies were released in 2005 and 2007, respectively. The 2015 version made far less than either of its predecessors. 

And while the 2011 Warner Bros. “Green Lantern” movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively did not do well with reviewers or at the box office, Warner Bros. is reportedly planning a new take on the story for 2020.

Both “Ghost Rider” movies were panned by critics, and the sequel made less than half what the first film did domestically, so it seems those behind the Ghost Rider character are, like so many who are producing superhero properties, looking for a reset.

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