Season 4 of Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has returned from its winter hiatus and while a new story arc involving the Life Model Decoy has begun, the previous story arc just brought a few things to light.
Ghost Rider Spirit Explained
Ghost Rider's origin story has been explained to IGN by executive producers Jed Whedon and Jeff Bell, who revealed that the character's possession is passed from person to person. So there aren't a group of Ghost Riders, as some had hypothesized, rather, there's simply one Spirit of Vengeance that goes from host to host. Bell explains:
"There is a tradition within the comics that there's been many Ghost Riders and our take on that was they're not simultaneously a tribe of Ghost Riders but that it's passed. The Spirit of Vengeance is passed from person to person. In that respect, at least our intention was that the Spirit of Vengeance was passed from one person to another."
Along with learning of the Ghost Rider possession on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., the duo confirmed that Ghost Riders past would not be explored further on the series.
Bell's comments don't directly reveal the past #GhostRider to be Johnny Blaze, but his acknowledgement of the "suggestions within the storytelling" support the theory that the Ghost Rider seen in the Season 4 episode "The Good Samaritan" was Johnny Blaze.
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Mounting Evidence That Past Ghost Rider Is Johnny Blaze
While there is a chance the Ghost Rider seen in "The Good Samaritan" was Danny Ketch, there's little evidence to support this. However, the Johnny Blaze mementos seen in the episode, "Lockup" all but confirm the existence of Johnny Blaze. And while the mementos could seem ambiguous to some, the Quentin Carnival poster practically screams #JohnnyBlaze, seeing as at one time he was the main attraction of said carnival.
With all these factors accounted for, the Ghost Rider who showed up in "The Good Samaritan" was undoubtedly the #Marvel TV version of Johnny Blaze.
When accounting for how Johnny Blaze was teased heavily on the show, any reasonable person would expect him to make an appearance. But after hearing Bell deny that possibility, what is going to be done with Johnny Blaze?
While Bell only indicated that Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. would no longer pursue past Ghost Riders, that doesn't eliminate the possibility of Johnny Blaze showing up elsewhere.
He Must Be Somewhere In The Marvel Universe
At the moment Johnny Blaze is just a normal guy, seeing as he passed the Spirit of Vengeance on to Robbie Reyes, but he's still hanging around the #MCU somewhere. And despite hearing of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. no longer pursuing Johnny Blaze, his existence in the Marvel universe is now affirmed.
With that in mind, Blaze's mere existence in the Marvel Universe has to lead up to more than just a few Easter Eggs on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. — otherwise why imply his existence at all?
Where Will Johnny Blaze Show Up?
Since Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. won't feature Johnny Blaze, we can start thinking of where he could logically show up next. While he's currently without the Spirit of Vengeance, he does have a long past as the Ghost Rider that we're yet to hear about, and that aspect of his character could be the basis for an entire new solo series.
Robbie Reyes has only had the Spirit of Vengeance for a few years, so at any point before this Blaze could have many adventures in the MCU. And if you recall, Agent Coulson has in-depth knowledge of a former Ghost Rider, which implies Johnny Blaze had some notable adventures that caught the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Is A Ghost Rider Series In Development?
No new Marvel TV series have been announced, but the recent unveiling of The Runaways and Cloak And Dagger could indicate that Marvel intends to develop more titles into episode series, rather than additional Marvel movies.
To add to the possibility of a television series involving Ghost Rider, the accidental reveal of a Blade TV project could see Blaze appear alongside Blade and Moon. If Coulson's knowledge of Ghost Rider's past includes Blade and Moon Knight, within that scenario a series about the trio's adventures could be plausible — something along the lines of, say, Midnight Sons.
In Marvel Comics, the Midnight Sons was a team formed by Doctor Strange and made up of Johnny Blaze, Blade and Morbius among others. They were tasked with putting an end to Lilith, a demon set on conquering the universe. Individually they were no match for Lilith, but eventually it was Blaze who defeated her.
Could Johnny Blaze show up in another Marvel TV series? Or could he make his way into the MCU? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
And don't forget to catch up with the Season 4, Episode 11 of Agents of S.H.I.E.D., titled "Wake Up," on ABC at 10 p.m., Tuesday January 24. Watch the teaser here.