It didn’t take much for audiences to forget all about Nicholas Cage when Ghost Rider finally made his way to ABC’s Agents of SHIELD.
But now audiences are going to have to forget about Ghost Rider, at least for a little while. And it all comes down to money.
Executive producer Jeffrey Bell told CinemaBlend that Gabriel Luna’s 22-episode stint as the fiery anti-hero had come to a natural story conclusion. Which it did. But as reporter Laura Hurley pointed out, it also costs quite a bit of budget to bring the flaming skeleton to life.
The special effects required whenever Robbie transformed into Ghost Rider to wreak havoc on bad guys didn’t come cheap, and other stories can be tackled with far lower expenses. The midseason finale indicated that we’re in for a big plot about Life Model Decoys, and LMDs don’t actually require special effects for most of their scenes, since they look like people.
LMDs, by the way, date all the way back to 1965 in Marvel comic books, used first by SHIELD to help protect Nick Fury. LMDs are a form of android that can mimic the behavior of anyone they are programmed to replace, usually serving as decoys to keep bad guys at bay.
This is just the second time LMDs have appeared in a live-action Marvel production, that is if you count the 1998 television movie Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD that starred David Hasselhoff.
LMDs will be a key staple of the second half of Agents of SHIELD‘s fourth season, to the point that the secondary title has been changed from “Ghost Rider” to “LMD.”
Ghost Rider was introduced to comic readers in 1972, and was finally brought to the big screen by Nicholas Cage in 2007 through Sony’s Columbia Pictures. Although a low-grossing sequel was made in 2012, the rights to Ghost Rider reverted from Sony back to Marvel soon after.
Luna might not be done with Ghost Rider as of yet. Talk remains about a potential spin-off series featuring the character that could find a home on Netflix, and Luna himself has suggested the possibility he could make a rare jump to the big screen from television.
Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays on ABC, with the next new episode set for Jan. 10.
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