Thanks to Hulu, the Ghost Rider will, uh, ride again. According to Variety, the now-Disney majority owned streaming service will bring a pair of hellish shows produced by Marvel Television. The report confirmed that the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider, previously seen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., will be the focus of the show, and another report from Variety added that Gabriel Luna will reprise his S.H.I.E.L.D. role. The second show arriving on Hulu is Helstrom, based on a lesser-known character.
Helstrom will follow siblings Daimon and Ana Helstrom, the son and daughter of a serial killer, both on a mission to take down the “worst of humanity.” Strangely enough, sources to Variety seem to indicate that Ghost Rider “will be a completely new iteration of the character in no way connected to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline.” One piece of the announcement that indicates this is the change of location: the comic book version and S.H.I.E.L.D. version of Reyes is based in East Los Angeles, while this Hulu show will have Reyes on the Texas/Mexico border. Ingrid Escajeda (Sneaky Pete) will be showrunner, while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writer Paul Zbyszewski and Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb will be executive producers; Zbyszewski will also be the showrunner of Helstrom.
The change in location might make the show more politically relevant, but fans of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe are left with some questions as a result. Will these two shows be based in the MCU like S.H.I.E.L.D. and the now-cancelled Netflix shows are purported to be? With Marvel Studios working on their own television shows for Disney+ with a closer relationship to the films, are the Marvel Television projects perhaps just in a different universe at this point? Has Marvel Television stopped caring about a shared universe? Or did Robbie Reyes just drive from L.A. to Texas and all of the fans are just overreacting? I’m hoping that it will be the last option and that this show just won’t mention the events of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. while also not contradicting them. One would think that there would be no legal issues with ABC and Hulu now under the same umbrella, but intellectual property law is weird and complicated, as the Netflix-Marvel snafu demonstrates.
It would be a bizarre situation to have Gabriel Luna, who will be making a Hollywood turn in Terminator: Dark Fate, portray the same character, but not the same character. It further shows the disconnect not only between Marvel Studios and Marvel Television, but Marvel Television’s own productions across several different networks. It appears that Hulu will replace Netflix as the host for more mature Marvel Television shows, including a series of adult animated shows and the teen drama Runaways, which was just renewed for a third season. Disney+ will have the Marvel Studios miniseries shows like WandaVision that focus on supporting characters from the films. Meanwhile, Cloak & Dagger will meander by itself on Freeform. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will remain the lone ABC network show with seasons six and seven coming up, and will probably be the only Marvel Television joint to even attempt to address the events of Avengers: Endgame. And after seeing that, how the hell is the show going to do that?
More importantly, will Nicolas Cage show up?