As with most superhero properties in the year 2021, there have been several iterations of each project throughout the years. Take Ghost Rider into account. The Spirit of Vengeance has appeared in two feature films and on Agents of SHIELD, and rumors suggest he'll be back before too long at all. When it comes to Nic Cage's take on the character, Ghost Rider (2007) helmer Mark Steven Johnson says he was the only actor ever considered for the role.
"Nic was always the choice for Ghost Rider," Johnson tells us as part of our larger Hellfire and Brimstone: A Celebration of Marvel's Ghost Rider piece. "He has such a love for this character. There was never talk of anyone else playing Johnny Blaze."
Cage and Johnson are such big fans of the character, they both wanted the character to go up against an obscure Marvel villain in the movie.
"In my first pass at the script the villain was Scarecrow," Johnson adds. "I always loved the Marvel version of Scarecrow and thought he would have made a really cool and sinister adversary for Ghost Rider. But the studio was afraid it would get confused with the DC Scarecrow and so we ended up with Blackheart."
The filmmaker admits the film's version of Blackheart fell short of what they imagined. "That was a tough character to crack. The Son of the Devil. Wes Bentley did a great job. As did Peter Fonda as Mephisto," the director concludes. "But I never got the story right. A hero is only as good as his villain. And we never quite got the villain and the villain agenda down."
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Ghost Rider (2007) is now streaming on HBO Max. For even more Ghost Rider goodies, you can check out Hellfire and Brimstone: A Celebration of Marvel's Ghost Rider here!