Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be ending next season, but the legacy carries on. The first show ever produced by Marvel TV has informed all the shows that come after. Whether it's something launched directly from S.H.I.E.L.D., like Agent Carter, or something that is utterly unconnected like Marvel's Runaways, all draw from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s template. Now Hulu is adding two more series come 2020, Marvel's Helstrom and Marvel's Ghost Rider. But fans of the latter are going to be in for a surprise. Hulu's Marvel's Ghost Rider is not a direct spinoff of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Fans might find that confusing, considering the current iteration of the Ghost Rider character was first introduced at the beginning of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4. Played by Gabriel Luna, the role is the Roberto "Robbie" Reyes version. Working as a car mechanic, Reyes is murdered by Fifth Street Locos gang members. As he dies, he makes his famous "deal with the devil" (who may or may not be Nicholas Cage's Johnny Blaze) and resurrects.
Reyes was such an essential part of Season 4's first half, the section was subtitled Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ghost Rider. But it turns out, the new show has nothing to do with the events of that season.
When asked about the new series at the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. roundtable at San Diego Comic-Con, in which Gabriel Luna will reprise his role, Loeb objected to the term "spinoff." "Ghost Rider is definitely its own thing," he insisted. The new show was not a spinoff, nor would it be affected by anything happening on S.H.I.E.L.D. since Reyes drove off in the Season 4 winter finale. Luna is still the same character. He did have those adventures with the S.H.I.E.L.D. Fans should rest assured “that will be referenced,” but one is not an extension of the other.
That explained why the cast of S.H.I.E.L.D. hedged when asked crossing over to the Hulu series. Both Natalia Cordova-Buckley, who plays Yo-Yo, and Henry Simmons, who plays Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie, were very happy for Luna to get his own show. (Cordova-Buckley cheered for Marvel adding in more superheroes of color.) But neither seemed like a chance to show up was in the cards. Simmons said he would certainly work with Luna again "on just about anything." This just wasn't going to be one of them.
Ghost Rider isn't a direct follow up to the adventures of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s team. But spiritually, it inherits what the show's been working to accomplish since it premiered in 2013. Actor Clark Gregg, who played Agent Phil Coulson since 2008's Iron Man, said the show's legacy was this kind of representation on television.
When this show came out of the gate, there wasn’t this kind of representation on television. To go to Cons back with Seasons 1 and 2, together as a squad, and see young girls... all dressed up as Quake, as Agent May… and then as now-Director Mackenzie and Yo-Yo... To have that silently just be part of what S.H.I.E.L.D. is, is just a little closer to what we hope the world will be like.
Marvel's Ghost Rider is slated to premiere on Hulu in 2020.