It has been a long summer without any new content added to Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that changes tonight as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. begins its fourth season on ABC. Previously confirmed as joining the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con was Robbie Reyes, the most recent iteration of Ghost Rider, who is slated to make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut tonight.
Reyes, who will be played by Gabriel Luna in the show, was created by writer/artist Felipe Smith as a part of a solo series that was launched by Marvel in March 2014. Although the character’s initial solo run didn’t last very long, Reyes has managed to garner a nice fan following, and is set to headline his own comic series once again when Marvel kicks off a new Ghost Rider series later this year.
In anticipation of tonight’s Ghost Rider debut, Luna sat down with Collider.com to talk about what it meant to play Ghost Rider.
“I was in Marfa, Texas and I took a trip to Austin to visit family. I had a film, Transpecos, which came out on September 9th, and we were traveling with that film to various festivals. So, we were in Marfa and I got a call from all of my folks, saying that they had finally cracked the lid on who this character was. They had been approached about a character on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I had still being weighing what I was going to do next, and they’re good with keeping secrets. They kept that one for a couple of months, and then finally, they let us know and I was, of course, immediately thrilled,” Luna said when asked about how the role was offered. “I’ve been a big fan, all my life, since I was a child, along with my brother. They asked to just Skype in, and there I was, sitting on a porch in Marfa, Texas, which is a one-road town, talking to Jeph Loeb, Jed Whedon and Mo [Tancharoen], and all the great people behind the show. A couple days later, we were in Los Angeles, all meeting together. And then, the following day, I got the call that we were going to work together. It all happened very quickly. The moment you hear the words “Ghost Rider,” the flights of fancy in your imagination starts to run amuck. It’s really great.”
When asked about being able to relate to Reye’s story, Luna said one of the first things he did was go out and purchased the 12-issue run Reyes was first featured in and instantly identified with the character he was selected to play. For Luna, it was easy to relate to the hardships the character endures at a young age.
“When I read the books by Felipe [Smith] and Tradd [Moore], and all the people who contributed to doing those first 12 issues of the All-New Ghost Rider, the first thing that I identified with was the orphan nature of his upbringing and some of the hardships that he deals with, at a very, very young age. He’s raising his little brother, from the age of 13. There were some striking similarities to my background and my past, and some similar family dynamics. All of that was encouraging, just because I knew it could be one of those instances where you can go in, while you’re working, and think to yourself, “I’ve been here before. I’ve done this. I know what this feels like.” Lunas reflected. “That makes the work really easy, going forward from there, having that reservoir of experience. It’s a cool story. Previous incarnations of the character are men who usually have a pretty decent life, to start out. Johnny Blaze is a famous Hollywood stuntman. Danny Ketch is not doing too bad to start with. And then, the Ghost Rider becomes this really heavy curse on them. Robbie is in an inverted position there. He had some hardships early in his life, and the Ghost Rider actually becomes an empowering thing. While it’s still difficult to deal with and very much a curse, he had some fucked up shit going on before Ghost Rider ever came about. His control over it is something that slightly differs from the previous characters and previous vessels of the Ghost Rider spirit.”
While the interview was interesting, it was a little name drop that Luna made during a comment that is really interesting. When discussing what makes Ghost Rider so different from any character we’ve seen on S.H.I.E.L.D. previously, Luna seemingly indicated that Mephisto is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
He also seems very different from any of the characters we’ve seen on the show before.
LUNA: Yeah, he’s very powerful. That’s a huge wild card to throw into the mix. We’re starting to tow the line and inch towards some
ground that hasn’t been covered, but that is a huge part of the books
themselves and the entire Marvel universe and the canon of Marvel’s
assortment of characters. What we haven’t touched on are things that
can’t be explained perfectly by science. It’s a lot of really fun
stuff that starts to lean into the world of Doctor Strange, Ghost
Rider and Mephisto, and all of these other elements that also exist
there, like ghouls and goblins and all sorts of cool things. We’re
happy to be the ones to break the ice on that.
The fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.D. premieres tonight in its new time slot of 10/9p.m. CST on ABC. Make sure to tune in!