Does anyone remember the two Ghost Rider movies starring the enigmatic Nicolas Cage fondly? Probably not, since they were both critically mauled when they came out in 2007 and 2012, respectively. The fact that Sony couldn’t get a decent movie off of the ground was the reason they eventually lost the rights and sold them back to Marvel.
A version of the character later appeared in the fourth season of Agents of SHIELD. One of the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance directors, Brian Taylor, recently spoke to Flicking Myth to do promotional work for his new movie Mom and Dad. Taylor said his biggest regret when it came to Ghost Rider was not pushing for a R-rating.
“I think that Ghost Rider should be a rated-R, horror character. The original script that David Goyer wrote for that movie, which was actually written almost a decade before the first Ghost Rider film, was a hardcore, rated-R horror script and it was awesome. Then, in the time between that and the second movie, the script had been rewritten literally 14 times or 16 times or something like that to the point where it was kind of a mess. It was also just a little too clean and a little too restrained. If we had had the opportunity to do the original, rated-R Goyer script, I think that movie would’ve been a classic. I think the cast was really good and I think we got a lot of things right. I think the design of the character was fantastic. The way we did Ghost Rider as a tar-bubbling, black, charred creature was absolutely the right take on Ghost Rider.”
Perhaps the series was ahead of its time and the world wasn’t ready for more R-rated comic book movies. In 2012 we were all distracted by how good The Avengers was and how disappointing The Dark Knight Rises was. There wasn’t any room for a Ghost Rider movie and there likely still isn’t, which is why Marvel moved to to TV. While a lot of fans hoped the Johnny Blaze version would get a show on Netflix it was instead the Robbie Reyes version that went to Agents of SHIELD. While fans largely liked this version of Ghost Rider, Taylor, it turns out, isn’t a fan.
“They’ve brought that character back on TV now and he looks like the clean, vanilla, G-rated character again. That version really has no interest for me, but I do think a scary, rated-R, horror superhero movie is an awesome thing that should be done and I wish that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance had been it.”
One of the things that worked about Robbie Reyes in Agents of SHIELD is that there were plenty of hints that the man who gave Robbie the spirit was Johnny Blaze. He’s out there, and maybe we’ll get that series that does the character justice.
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