The 1 Marvel Show Nobody Seems to Be Talking About

Did you know there was once a Ghost Rider show coming to TV? A Marvel show at that? If you didn’t know, or if you forgot, you could be forgiven because the show hasn’t gotten much attention. 

Part of that is because the lion’s share of attention being paid to Marvel’s TV shows goes to the ones coming to Disney+. Another part is, to be blunt, is that the character is not that well known and is extremely silly. Could it succeed anyway?

What’s the deal with this ‘Ghost Rider’ show? 

Ghost Rider in the "Spirit of Vengeance" on 'Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.'
Ghost Rider | Disney XD via Getty Images

Earlier this year, per Digital Spy, it was announced that the Ghost Rider show would pair up with a series about the character Damian Helstrom to form a sort of devilish package. In the comics, Helstrom and Ghost Rider fight with otherworldly heroes including Blade and Damian’s sister, Satana, in a group known as the Spirits of Vengeance.

So, rather like the Netflix Marvel shows Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, the Ghost Rider/Hellstrom show would form its own little cinematic universe. 

ABC seemed to be the logical home for Ghost Rider because it was going to be sort of a spinoff of Agents of Shield, which is heading into its seventh and final season, premiering next year. However, Marvel changed gears and decided to go to Hulu instead because harder fare can run there, according to CinemaBlend

Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb said: “We never intended for it to be on ABC because we wanted to do a show that was more mature. Look, it has the weight in the best way that there had been a Daredevil movie, so that when there was a Daredevil television show, people knew the name. There was a lot of weight that came with the Daredevil movie that we had to shake off and prove ourselves that we could make a television show that became what it was.”

People don’t remember ‘Ghost Rider’ that well

The only problem with all this is that Ghost Rider hasn’t made much of an impact on anyone except comic aficionados. The character, created in 1972, was Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist who offers his soul to a demon to save the life of his father. When darkness falls or when evil is near, Blaze becomes Ghost Rider, an antihero with a blazing skull and a blazing motorcycle. 

The character was featured in two movies with Nicolas Cage in the title role. Unfortunately, this was in the period when Cage was transitioning from serious actor to actor who never said no to anything, no matter how goofy it was. In fairness, Cage is a comics aficionado, so the character was in his wheelhouse. 

Not that this helped the movies. The first one, in 2007, did respectable business, making $116 million, actually topping the 2003 Daredevil movie by the same director. However, Ghost Rider seemed to inspire reactions of “for real now?” more than anything else. The sequel, 2012’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, made only $52 million.  

The Disney+ shows are taking up all the oxygen

Another factor working against Ghost Rider is Disney+. Disney now controls Hulu. But that streamer has been around for a while, so Disney’s own channel is bigger news, as are all the shows that have been announced for it. This includes, but is not limited to, Loki, WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and some newly announced titles including She-Hulk. You can find the whole list here

With a stacked catalog like that, Disney+ is going to be seen as the Marvel destination, so the Hulu shows run the risk of getting lost in the roar of their fellow Marvel shows. On the other hand, Marvel is trying to form a cluster of shows on Hulu too, including Howard the Duck with Kevin Smith, M.O.D.O.K. with Patton Oswalt,  and Tigra and Dazzler with Chelsea Handler. So perhaps Ghost Rider could break out after all.