In a celebration of everything Ghost Rider, ComicBook interviewed some of the faces behind the titular flaming head anti-hero, though much the focus was on the most recent star to take on the role Gabriel Luna. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D actor spoke on the process behind how he was selected to play Robbie Reyes and shed a little light on Hulu‘s canceled spinoff for the Rider. Originally planned as a challenger to Netflix‘s Daredevil, Hulu pulled the plug on the series in 2019, citing a creative impasse.
From the very beginning of Luna‘s time with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the plan was for a show centering around Reyes as the Rider, something that Marvel was so confident in that they rushed to execute Luna‘s hold clause shortly after the character’s debut in Season 4. For all of the interest that there was, production never really took off. While Luna was hard at work to make the show a reality, it was still looking for a showrunner and progress was slow. Still, the show eventually got the green light from Hulu, and Disney‘s acquisition of 20th Century Fox provided a new swell of support to make it happen. In the interview, Luna stated:
A year goes by and we were still trying to find the right showrunner and meanwhile they’re picking up my hold again, so every six months, they would give me my fee to keep them in first position. And I just really loved that character. I really loved the people I was working with, so I elected to grant them that, always with the promise that we’d get there. We’d get this show across the finish line.
The dagger for the project, though, was Marvel Studios absorbing Marvel Television. With the ousting of executive Jeph Loeb and Kevin Feige handling productions from then on, the company put the kibosh on many of the upcoming shows. Ghost Rider would suffer the same fate, deemed as unfitting within the new plan for Marvel‘s small screen projects. Hulu was also ready to kill off the project for some unknown reason. It was neither him nor the character, Luna was told by executives for the streaming platform, but rather that they simply didn’t see the series in their plans anymore.
Luna was crushed to see his hard work unfinished because he loved the character and wanted to continue Reyes’ story. He added:
I would give all the money back just to do the show, just to give everything I have to that character for what we had, for that plan that we had. But you take the pay off and you move on, you move forward, and you try to continue your work.
Marvel has since gone in a different direction with their TV productions, opting for shows more closely entwined with the MCU like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Luna didn’t shut the door on a resurrection of Reyes though. For the “right story,” he said he’d like to return to the role of the Ghost Rider.