Marvel and ABC surprised everyone when they announced at SDCC that Robbie Reyes would be making his way to the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It was even more surprising when they went on to reveal that actor Gabriel Luna would be the man to bring Ghost Rider to the small screen. For most, Luna was a relatively unknown actor, having appeared in shows such as the much-loathed second season of True Detective, as well as ABC’s short-lived Wicked City. However, while Luna’s resume is rather short and doesn’t contain any huge credits, he is a proven actor that has done nothing but showcase his love of the Robbie Reyes character since being announced. Given his pure excitement of not only joining S.H.I.E.L.D. but also getting the chance to bring such a well-known character to life, it’s hard to deny that Luna is the right man for the job.
In a recent interview with the folks over at IGN, Luna talked about the importance of bringing Reyes to the small screen, as well as how he plans to differentiate his Ghost Rider from Nicolas Cage‘s Johnny Blaze.
When asked what made the decision to introduce Robbie Reyes on a show like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Luna went on to explain that bringing Ghost Rider to the series will “energize” the series. It’s an interesting comment, especially given the show’s continual decline in ratings with each new season. It’s something that Jeph Loeb himself even suggested was part of the reason behind their decision to bring the character to the series.
Gabriel Luna: With that kind of title — one of the tentpoles of the company and has been since the Silver Age of comics — it’s immediately going to energize the whole thing and infuse it and give it a sense of danger. The magical element is new to the world. They’ve always been rooted in a very realistic kind of depiction. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is a bridge between us the audience and the MCU. It’s like Thor’s rainbow bridge. Now you’re incorporating some of these things that they may not understand. It’s a whole new frontier, which is always cool.
Although there are multiple Ghost Riders in the comics, the one that audiences are most familiar with is that of Johnny Blaze, made popular by the horrific-Nic Cage films. When asked how he plans to go about making his Ghost Rider stand out from Cage’s, Luna explained that the fact Reyes is a “young fresh face” and “Mexican American” will help to separate his Ghost Rider from Cage’s Johnny Blaze.
Luna: The most important way is it’s a young fresh face. He’s a Mexican American, he’s from LA. It’s just exciting. Every generation has a different Rider, and the Spirit of Vengeance has traveled and inhabited everyone, from Carter Slade on down. But I think it’s important to carry in a lot of the influence from those other books, because the idea of that alter ego, that spirit, there’s always a fight. It’s much like the Hulk. I was talking to my little brother about it, who’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel Comics — he’s a grown man now, he’s 31. That’s what Kevin Feige and Jeph Loeb and these guys have built. We all grew up with it, and we all got to continue to enjoy it and be kids.
We read all those books, and what I’m happy about is we infuse it with that dynamic. It’s the same but it’s different. It’s the same tragic story of this curse that they have. They do a deal with the Devil or they do a deal with Mephisto or whoever, or you have to have this bargain with this spirit Eli who lives in Robbie, which is part of the all new Ghost Rider. So I think it’s a great balance of being new and fresh and exciting, and also maintaining the proper dosage of the history and mythos of the character. It’s a really nice balance. I think Jed and Mo and the writing team has done a really good job of doing that.
Shortly after confirming that Ghost Rider – and Luna – would be making their way to the next season of S.H.I.E.L.D., the cast took to the Marvel booth at SDCC to unveil the Hell Charger. Seeing the car for the first time was pretty exciting, however, getting to see the car in action yesterday was even more exciting. When asked what it was like to get behind the wheel for the first time, Luna couldn’t help but to gush about the car.
Luna: [laughs] First of all, those things are so beautiful, and so powerful. They sound like a dragon. We go light them up on stage and it’s just shaking the entire soundstage, and then the scoop’s not even on. We have a blower on the top of the hood that we don’t even use because it’s highly illegal, for one. At that point, it’s a 700 horsepower vehicle. It’s just awesome. But, you can’t really touch the car unless I’m it driving. Brock, who’s one of our transpo guys, goes around with a towel all day rubbing it down. It’s pristine. It’s beautiful. All day, he’s just rubbing her down.
The fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will premiere on ABC on September 20th at 10 PM EST.