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Step aside Nicolas Cage, there’s a new version of Ghost Rider coming to town.
ABC’s Agents of SHIELD is introducing popular Marvel antihero Ghost Rider in season four, producers announced Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. Gabriel Luna (True Detective) will portray Robbie Reyes, aka Ghost Rider, Marvel revealed after the panel.
The panel also featured a sneak peek video that showed the SHIELD logo burning away, leaving behind a burning skull with the tagline, “Vengeance comes this fall.”
The ABC Marvel drama will mark the first time that Ghost Rider will be adapted for live-action television, though the character was famously brought to life by Cage in two Marvel movies, 2007’s Ghost Rider and 2012’s sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
Ghost Rider is a supernatural, skeletal entity that takes over the body of whoever is the acting Ghost Rider at the time. At night, the cursed person becomes consumed in hellfire, resulting in his head becoming a flaming skull. Ghost Rider travels on a flaming motorcycle that can defy gravity and go faster than any other vehicle, and he seeks out guilty souls and uses hellfire and the “Penance Stare” to make them feel the pain they’ve inflicted on others. His mission was helped by the fact that he had supernatural strength and was virtually indestructible: bullets, knives and other weapons have no effect on him.
In the comics, multiple people became Ghost Rider at different points. The first Ghost Rider was stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who sold his soul to Satan in exchange for the life of his father. Blaze later learned that “Satan” was actually the demon Mephisto, and he had been bonded with the demon Zarathos. A long time ago, Mephisto considered Zarathos to be a rival and a threat, and so he trapped Zarathos in mortal souls. Moving forward, Zarathos could only come forth at night to take over his human host. Other Ghost Riders include Danny Ketch, a Nicaraguan woman named Alejandra and Mexican-American high-school student Robbie Reyes.
Along with Ghost Rider, Agents of SHIELD season four will introduce the famous Marvel concept of Life Model Decoys, or LMDs. LMDs are a cross between artificial intelligence, clones and robots and have a long history in the comic books.
Other highlights from the Comic-Con panel:
• Executive producer Jeff Bell’s favorite scene from last season was the spy’s goodbye when Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter (Nick Blood) left the series. “I think we can all raise our glass to Bobbi and Hunter,” said Marvel boss Jeph Loeb. No word yet on whether they’ll return to SHIELD now that their spinoff pilot Marvel’s Most Wanted was passed over at ABC, but executive producer Jed Whedon said, “It’s definitely classified — but keep watching.”
• Bell led the entire Ballroom 20 into saying “Hi, Brett!” to honor Brett Dalton’s absence from the SHIELD panel for the first time, since he was killed off in the season three finale. The room erupted in applause.
• Loeb showed castmembers Iain De Caestecker (Agent Fitz) and Elizabeth Henstridge’s (Agent Simmons) audition tape where they read the scene where FitzSimmons were trapped at the bottom of the ocean in a box after Ward (Dalton) dropped them from the sky. Their chemistry was “magic,” Whedon said.
• The audience also got to see a never-before-seen scene shot by Whedon with Chloe Bennet and Dalton, before Bennet was even cast. The scene was meant to test Bennet’s chemistry with Dalton and sell it to ABC, and the day it was shot was the first time they met.
• Will Daisy (Bennet) get a new love interest? “We’re trying to cast that but nobody seems to want the job because it has an extermination date,” joked Clark Gregg. Executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen deadpanned: “She’s going to get laid.”
Agents of SHIELD returns Tuesday, Sept. 20, at its new time, 10 p.m. ET/PT, on ABC.
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