ByTom Bacon, writer at Creators.co
I'm a film-and-TV fan who grew up with a deep love of superhero comics! Follow me on Twitter @TomABacon or on Facebook @tombaconsuperheroes!
Tom Bacon

Marvel fans rejoice - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 is almost upon us ! The series will launch on September 20th, moving to a later timeslot of 10.00pm, and the first episode, "Ghost", will introduce us to a whole new Marvel superhero! In the run-up to the premier, ABC have given us not one, but two new looks at #GhostRider, ahead of his #MCU debut. Check out the new trailer:

This has been supported by an exclusive look at the character's car and costume - and it's our first glimpse of that skull on fire. As fans of Robbie Reyes's character will know, it's a remarkably faithful recreation of the character's look in the comics!

Image: ABC/Yahoo
Image: ABC/Yahoo

The trailer is short and succinct, and that's only a single image - but together, they give us a good idea of what to expect. So what can we anticipate from Ghost Rider in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4?

1. Ghost Rider Is Still at the Center of Marvel's Marketing

An early (but cool) glimpse. Image: ABC
An early (but cool) glimpse. Image: ABC

We first heard rumors of Ghost Rider in the run-up to SDCC 2016, and his appearance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was one of Marvel's biggest announcements. Even this late in the game, though, Marvel's marketing for Season 4 is purely focused in on Ghost Rider.

That's pretty surprising. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a lot of plots to pick up even without this new supernatural character: you've got the ongoing story of the Inhumans, the mysterious new status quo for S.H.I.E.L.D., a mysterious experiment involving android Life Model Decoys, and Chloe Bennett's Quake on the run for as-yet-unknown reasons. As important as all of these plots will be, Marvel is clearly convinced that the main hook for Season 4 is simple: Ghost Rider.

They're probably right. Although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gradually been embracing the superhero world, this is a radical change in the show's approach to the super-powered characters of the MCU. We're about to see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. unveil a new version of an already well-established superhero, and that's pretty exciting.

2. Although This is Robbie Reyes's Ghost Rider, He's Been Changed a Bit...

EW got the first look at Gabriel Luna's Ghost Rider! Image: ABC
EW got the first look at Gabriel Luna's Ghost Rider! Image: ABC

In the comics, a number of characters have taken up the identity of Ghost Rider - most famously, a stunt rider called Johnny Blaze. The Ghost Rider of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., though, is a lesser-known character named Robbie Reyes. Whereas most Ghost Riders acquired their powers by making a deal with the Devil, Robbie got his by being killed next to a car that was haunted by the spirit of a murderer named Eli Morrow. Because he doesn't share the same origin as the other Ghost Riders, his powers have been subtly different.

In terms of look and feel, Gabriel Luna couldn't possibly portray Robbie Reyes's Ghost Rider any more accurately. He has the right look, he's wearing a faithful reproduction of the character's costume, and he's even driving the same car. This trailer, though, explicitly reveals that something's been changed.

The opening sentence is a hint that Robbie Reyes's Ghost Rider has a power known as the Penance Stare. Whenever the guilty lock eyes with the Ghost Rider, their soul will be seared with all the pain and suffering they've made others endure. Here's the catch: in the comics, that power's never been possessed by Robbie Reyes. Marvel has been quite open about redesigning the character for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and it looks as though they've gone with the classic powerset. This is unlikely to annoy too many fans (Robbie's too recent a character), but adds an interesting twist to the question of how much studios and TV series should adapt comic book characters.

3. Ghost Rider Has Been Active for Some Time!

One seriously powerful superhero! Image: Marvel Comics
One seriously powerful superhero! Image: Marvel Comics

The first two words of this teaser are really important.

"They say..."

Clearly, the Ghost Rider of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been active for some time - long enough for word of his actions to get around. It seems likely that Chloe Bennett's Quake will come looking for him, and it's pretty certain the two will clash at first.

Ghost Rider will technically be the second time Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has embraced magic; sorcery got a nod in Season 1. This time, though, his mystic origin will take over the drive of the show, just in time for Doctor Strange - which, of course, will formally add magic to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Doctor Strange is coming! Image: Marvel Studios
Doctor Strange is coming! Image: Marvel Studios

The exciting thing about all this, though, is that we have no idea how long Ghost Rider has been active. His magic may have been at work for weeks, months, or even years. Magic is certainly being carefully embedded into the wider MCU.

See also:

All in all, this latest video just gives us more reason to be excited for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4! There are a huge number of plots that need to be developed as part of Season 4, but Ghost Rider stands head and shoulders above the rest. This should be one Hell of a ride!

Don't panic - Ghost Rider is coming! Image: Marvel Comics
Don't panic - Ghost Rider is coming! Image: Marvel Comics

Are you excited to meet the new Ghost Rider? Let me know in the comments!