The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to grow with each passing month, as new characters from the Marvel Comics multiverse finally see the big screen in the largest film and television franchise in the history of cinema. At the rate that the MCU is expanding, it is only a matter of time before each of Marvel’s most popular characters finds themselves adapted.
One character that has yet to make an appearance in the official Marvel Studios films or television series is the Ghost Rider. Despite making an appearance in Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Ghost Rider has yet to be acknowledged in the MCU proper, leading many fans on Reddit to call for certain actors to helm the iconic character’s inevitable arc in the franchise.
Reddit user Mister_Doctor_0127 voices their own opinion on who should play the Ghost Rider in the MCU. “If they’re going with Johnny Blaze [the original Ghost Rider host], I’d love for it to be Charlie Hunnam.”
The Sons of Anarchy star is no stranger to playing tough characters with a penchant for motorcycle riding, and could blend quite nicely with the other talent he would be surrounded with in the MCU. Hunnam has also proven himself capable of leading in dramatic roles, such as in The Lost City of Z, which showcased his potential as a leading man.
While responding to a post indicating that the Ghost Rider actor for the MCU had already been selected, Redditor FictionFantom suggested that “Antony Starr would be an interesting choice” for the character, which would give the actor “a chance to do another comic book story without being compared to Homelander.”
Though the New Zealand actor is best known for playing the unstable superhero Homelander in the Amazon series The Boys, Starr has also demonstrated his ability to portray brutal leading men, such as his role as Lucas Hood in Banshee. Having him star as the demon-powered Ghost Rider could be the next logical step in the actor’s career.
One Reddit user by the name of ThighCream had several choices of actors for different versions of the Ghost Rider. Their pick for the teenaged Johnny Blaze was a standout among their list. “If they wanted to go the younger route for Johnny Blaze,” they write, “I’d say Luke Grimes.”
Luke Grimes may be an up-and-coming actor, best known for supporting roles in Yellowstone and the Fifty Shades franchise, but playing a Marvel hero could be the breakout role he needs to become a bonafide Hollywood leading man.
Reddit user NeutralNoodle has an eerily familiar choice for which actor should next take on the role of Ghost Rider, suggesting that “Nic Cage is the only choice.” Many longtime Marvel fans may remember that Cage is the only actor to portray the Ghost Rider in a live-action film, appearing in 2007’s Ghost Rider, and its sequel four years later.
Despite the fact that Cage has already portrayed the superhero in two less-than-well-received films, it isn’t impossible for him to return to the role in the MCU. The franchise’s next film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, has already indicated that it will bring back several pre-MCU actors in their original superhero roles, and may even give Cage a chance to redeem himself and his character.
“Real talk,” writes Reddit user dondonzino, calling to attention a comment section under a post detailing Ghost Rider’s potential introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Boyd Holbrook… should be Ghost Rider.”
Holbrook is no stranger to the Marvel Universe, having made an appearance as the cyborg Donald Pierce in Logan, which is considered to be one of the greatest superhero films of all time. With Fox’s X-Men series coming to an end, perhaps now is the perfect time for Holbrook to return to the superhero genre as a new character in Ghost Rider.
“I really want Jensen Ackles for Johnny Blaze,” clintbridges writes, drawing general assent from various commenters in the Reddit thread. Their suggestion comes just before Ackles is set to make his superhero genre debut in The Boys season 3 as Soldier Boy, one of the original superheroes.
Ackles is best known for playing Dean Winchester in the long-running CW drama Supernatural, which proved the actor’s prowess in an action-heavy story, something essential to every Marvel project. With Supernatural recently ended, Ackles is on the hunt for his next big role–which makes him a viable candidate for the Ghost Rider.
Commenting on a post asking about actors who could bring the Ghost Rider to life on the big screen, Redditor, TheBigBigStorm offered a somewhat out-of-the-box suggestion: “How about Matthew McConaughey as Johnny Blaze.”
If Marvel Studios intended on introducing an older, more weathered Johnny Blaze, perhaps to mentor the younger Robbie Reyes, McConaughey could well exhibit the role of a grizzled Ghost Rider. While his role would probably be minimal in comparison to that of the younger, less experienced Rider, McConaughey could certainly drop a memorable performance.
Redditor MGH-Head has an out-of-the-box idea that combines two fan-favorite characters from Marvel comics, stating that Marvel should “bring Jon Bernthal in as the Cosmic Ghost Rider.” Many fans will recognize Bernthal from his role as the Punisher in his self-titled series.
The Punisher is one of many characters whom Marvel fans hope will show up again soon in the MCU. MGH-Head’s suggestion would have him do so by taking the form of the Cosmic Ghost Rider, an alternate-universe Frank Castle who has been endowed with the Spirit of Vengeance, making for a very powerful antihero. Should this version of the character ever appear in the MCU, it would surely cause fans to celebrate profusely.
A Redditor under the handle of Demonic74 relays rumors regarding the Rider’s casting: “I’ve heard rumors [that] Norman Reedus might be cast as Johnny Blaze, who I think would fit the character quite nicely.” Reedus is currently starring in the final season of The Walking Dead as fan-favorite character Daryl Dixon.
Reedus has been a fan-favorite casting choice for Johnny Blaze’s Ghost Rider for years, especially given his role in The Walking Dead, which sees him play a weary biker with a heart of gold. If cast, Norman Reedus would make one of several TWD alumni to join the MCU, alongside the likes of Danai Gurira, Jon Bernthal, and Michael Rooker.
Though casting a new Ghost Rider is very exciting, sometimes it’s best to go with what has already worked in the past. One Redditor by the name of FrameworkisDigimon follows this idea, writing that they would “definitely rehire Gabriel Luna.”
Fans of Agents of SHIELD will recognize Luna from his stint as the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider, who appeared throughout the show’s fourth season. For some time thereafter, Luna was expected to reprise his role in a self-titled spinoff series on Hulu, though the show never made it off the ground. Nevertheless, with the pre-WandaVision Marvel series standing a better chance than ever at being confirmed to be MCU canon after Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio’s returns to the franchise, it seems possible that Luna could return as Reyes in the near future.
NEXT: 10 Hints That “House Of M” Will Occur In Multiverse Of Madness