Doctor Strange introduced magic to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — but it did so in a fascinating way, ensuring that sorcery coexists perfectly with the science-based universe we've seen so far. At the same time, over in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel Television explored some more supernatural ideas — from Ghost Rider to the Darkhold. Now, Jed Whedon and Jeffrey Bell have indicated how these supernatural concepts fit into the wider MCU.
Ghost Rider is Science, Not Magic
Doctor Strange introduced us to the concept of other dimensions, other "planes of reality" — after the classic pattern of 'Flatland.' The idea is that these other dimensions are other planes of existence, and that some beings can transcend the barriers between dimensions. Sorcerers learn to tap into the power of these dimensions, using it to shape reality.
Using the word "dimensions" to cover a lot of ground, Whedon suggested that the "hell demon" that is Ghost Rider is a being that originates from another reality — and possessed Robbie Reyes. This being originates in another dimension (dialogue hints that this dimension is the inspiration for the concept of Hell), and doesn't particularly want to return. At one point in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Robbie, Coulson and Fitz were stranded in another plane of existence. Jeffrey Bell describes this as a sort of in-between place, "the quantum energy fields between dimensions."
Significantly, this means that the mid-season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D stranded Robbie Reyes and Eli Morrow in another dimension. They're not dead; they're just not on our plane of existence right now. That means it's not too difficult to imagine them returning!
This circles back to the Darkhold, the so-called "Book of Sins" that is at the heart of Season 4. If these theories are correct — if magic is simply science that we don't understand yet — then the Darkhold is a book of incredibly advanced science. We already know that it holds the secret to breaking the barriers between reality, or transitioning from one reality to another. But it likely contains a lot of other significant concepts.
In the comics, the Darkhold is also the cause of the curses behind vampires and werewolves. The science behind Ghost Rider hints at a way Marvel could bring these two races into the MCU.
There are two possibilities. The first is that a vampire or werewolf is created when a person becomes exposed to another dimension. As we saw with Kaecilius in Doctor Strange, humans weren't made to be exposed to other dimensions — you saw the effect such exposure had around the eyes of the Zealots.
The second possibility is that, as with Ghost Rider, a vampire or werewolf is a human whose body is possessed by a being from another dimension. In the case of a werewolf, for example, this being — let's call it a demon, for simplicity's sake — can only take control of the host body at certain times.
Either way, Doctor Radcliffe's pursuit of the Darkhold is rooted in his belief that this can give him the secret of immortality. He's messing with supernatural science that could create vampires. It's very possible the third act of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will involve these.
- 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Reinvents The Origin Of Robbie Reyes's Ghost Rider!
- 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot' Tests The Water For A Whole New Approach!
- Is 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' About To Head Into A 'Secret Invasion'?
I love the idea of this "supernatural science"; it has unlimited potential, allowing Marvel to continue blurring the lines between sorcery and science. With the Darkhold remaining a major part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, these ideas are sure to continue to be developed.
Do you think Ghost Rider will return in Season 4?
(Source: IGN; Poll Image Credit: ABC)