The coincidences are mounting in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — and when it comes to #superhero TV shows, I don't believe in coincidences. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 has introduced us to Robbie Reyes's #GhostRider, and the latest episode — "The Good Samaritan" — has finally revealed his backstory. But Ghost Rider isn't the only supernatural element in the show; we're learning the power of the legendary Darkhold, a book with such power that heroes and villains have been seeking it for centuries.
But how is Ghost Rider connected to the Darkhold?
Before Robbie Reyes
Gabriel Luna's Robbie Reyes is only the latest in a long line of Ghost Riders. Our first hint of multiple Ghost Riders came back in "Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire", with Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson referring to the Ghost Rider as an "urban legend". That suggested that the Ghost Rider is a legend that runs through the history of the #MCU, and left fans excitedly wondering whether we'd soon hear more from past Ghost Riders.
It didn't take us long to find out. "Lockup" gave us a flashback to the moment when Lilli Birdsell's Lucy Bauer stumbled upon the Darkhold — the so-called 'Book of Sins', a source of deadly mystic power. The flashback gave us heavy hints that the Darkhold had in fact been recovered by Johnny Blaze's Ghost Rider — it seems that he'd recovered the Darkhold from its previous owner, killing him, and then secreted it away. Unfortunately the Bauers had been able to track it down, and stole it.
"The Good Samaritan" tied the threads together. The power of the Darkhold was used by a group of scientists, including Robbie Reyes's uncle Eli Morrow, played by José Zúñiga. Tempted by the possibility of becoming gods, the scientists began to fracture; Eli's colleagues put out a hit on him. Unfortunately, Robbie Reyes got in the way — he'd stolen his uncle Eli's Dodge Charger for a race.
Robbie lay dead on the tarmac by the time Johnny Blaze's Ghost Rider arrived. It can't be a coincidence that Ghost Rider arrived at this moment; he had to be tracking down the Darkhold. The Spirit of Vengeance offered Robbie's soul a second chance. He could become the new Ghost Rider, swearing to go after those who spill innocent blood. We can presume that the spirit of Zarathos then stepped out of Johnny Blaze; he was at last freed from his curse, with the demon bonding with Robbie instead.
Why Robbie Reyes?
Let's not fool ourselves; it's not a coincidence that the Spirit of Vengeance has chosen Robbie Reyes, a youth who was uniquely positioned to get it near the man who wanted to claim the Darkhold's power.
So is it possible that the MCU version of Ghost Rider is more closely tied to the Darkhold than we thought? Is it possible that, in the MCU, one of Zarathos's purposes is to guard the Darkhold? That would make sense; it would explain why Johnny Blaze had secreted the Darkhold away, and why he tracked it down, and why Zarathos took advantage of the opportunity to get into Eli Morrow's family circle.
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- Is Agent Coulson Out Of Control In 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Season 4?
- '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. hasn't been shy about rewriting the character of Robbie Reyes, so is it possible that the Ghost Rider, too, has been rewritten? After all, the Darkhold is better known as the 'Book of Sins' (a term that's even been thrown in by Coulson, so is official in the MCU as well). It would make sense for the Spirit of Vengeance to concern itself with restricting access to this 'Book of Sins'. For now, though, this remains only a theory — albeit one that fits neatly with everything we know so far. Only time will tell whether this theory is right or not.
Do you think Ghost Rider is the guardian of the Darkhold in the MCU?
Image: Marvel Comics