If you ever read the Ghost Rider stories in Marvel Comics, you know how awesome the character is. Many people took on the mantle throughout the years, but the most popular guy to ever be Ghost Rider is Johnny Blaze, the one we see in the movies played by Nicolas Cage. There’s chatter about a new film coming out soon, so how many Ghost Rider movies are there?
There are two Ghost Rider movies from 2007 and 2012. Nicolas Cage played the main character, Johnny Blaze, in both films. A third movie was planned, but due to the lack of commercial and critical success of the first two films, it got canceled before ever going into production.
Although we hear a lot about Ghost Rider 3 possibly coming out, I hate to break it to you – it’s not happening any time soon. However, there are other rumors about the Spirit of Vengeance getting its MCU introduction as soon as this year, just not in a stand-alone movie. Let’s dig into it a bit more.
Ghost Rider Watch Order
There are only two Ghost Rider movies ever created, with Nicolas Cage being the only actor to return in both, playing the main character, Johnny Blaze. You should watch them in release order, as such:
- Ghost Rider (February 16, 2007)
- Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (February 17, 2012)
Ghost Rider (2007)
The first Ghost Rider movie came out in 2007. Before its release, fans were incredibly hyped about it, seeing that the titular character was highly popular among comics fans. That’s probably why the movie did fairly well in box office numbers, doubling its original budget of approx. $110 million, earning somewhere around $229 million worldwide.
However, those who had seen the movie were left quite disappointed. Nicolas Cage had done a good job playing Johnny Blaze, but the movie itself was poorly written, goofy, and all over the place, earning it a weak 5.3 IMDb rating. The critic reviews were even harsher, with a 26% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and a terrible 35% on Metacritic.
As I mentioned, the movie follows Johnny Blaze, whose father, Barton, is dying from terminal cancer. To save his father, Johnny deals with the devil, Mephistopheles, offering his soul in return for his father’s health. The devil grants Johnny his wish but tricks him, as Barton dies in a motorcycle accident soon after.
Johnny decides to leave the city, his girlfriend, and his entire past life behind and moves away, only to become a famous motorcyclist years later. He also reunites with his ex-girlfriend, Roxanne, as she’s now a TV reporter.
Once again, the devil reaches out to Johnny, offering his soul back if Blaze agrees to become the Ghost Rider and defeat Mephistopheles’ evil son, Blackheart, who plans to unleash Hell on Earth. Johnny ends up being the devil’s bounty hunter and never gets his soul back.
Honestly, half the movie makes no sense or has no weight for the plot. It had some success financially, but only because fans were eager to see Ghost Rider on screen, not because the movie was actually good. Sure, it had some cool moments and can be watched as a goofy, guilty pleasure, but that’s about as far as it goes.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
The second movie, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, was even worse than the first film. It couldn’t live on the hype from fans like the first movie, as we already had low expectations. It got a 4.3 IMDb rating, 35% Metacritic score, and a horrible 18% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Although the movies are set in the same timeline and follow the same continuum, the stories have almost nothing in common whatsoever. The only actor returning for the second film was Nicolas Cage. The rest of the cast and characters were completely changed.
The film was imagined more like a reboot rather than a sequel so that it could be viewed as a stand-alone film, but it should be considered a sequel nonetheless.
In the film, Johnny is tormented with being the Ghost Rider, unable to get his soul back and shake off the Spirit of Vengeance. However, he gets a new chance after a French monk, Moreau, offers to help get Johnny’s soul back if Johnny helps him protect a young boy from the Devil.
Later, we learn that the boy is actually the devil’s son, and Roarke (formerly Mephistopheles) wants to take over Earth.
I think the ratings are all you need to know about the film. It’s a complete disaster – anticlimactic, non-relatable, badly written, and overall terrible. Not even a star cast of Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba, and Ciaran Hinds could save the film. You could at least view the first movie to have fun as a guilty pleasure, but the Spirit of Vengeance doesn’t have that either.
Are Ghost Rider 1 And 2 Connected?
Ghost Rider 1 and 2 belong to the same universe, timeline and follow the same character, Johnny Blaze, years apart. Also, the same actor, Nicolas Cage, is portraying the lead character. However, that’s about as far as the connection goes.
The entire cast and characters from the first movie had been replaced – Cage’s Johnny Blaze is the only character reappearing in the second movie. Even the writers and directors have changed.
Although the movies are loosely connected with Cage – hence, considered sequels – Spirit of Vengeance was imagined more like a reboot of the series rather than a second part.
Are There Three Ghost Rider Movies?
There was a plan to make a third Ghost Rider film called Ghost Rider: Dawn of Darkness. However, it never materialized, as the project was canceled before production ever began. Despite new rumors, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see a third Ghost Rider movie any time soon – especially not as a sequel to the previous two due to their poor audience reception.
However, we might see the character return on the big screen sooner than we might think. Here’s how.
Will Ghost Rider Get Introduced To The MCU?
Although we might not get a stand-alone Ghost Rider movie in the MCU anytime soon, it seems that the character might appear sooner than you might think.
According to Nick Santos from That Hashtag Show, Ghost Rider might get a cameo in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. Santos claims he had seen concept art for the film, and it seems that Marvel is planning to bring the character back into the mix.
Some fans hoped it would be Gabriel Luna’s Robbie Reyes version of the character, but that won’t happen. If the rumors are true, the Ghost Rider seen in Doctor Strange 2 will be Johnny Blaze – not Nicolas Cage, but a newly cast actor. Rumors have Norman Reedus taking the role, but it remains to be seen.
It makes sense it could happen for several reasons. First, the Multiverse of Madness will open up huge possibilities to bring in characters from all over Marvel Comics.
When you consider that the film will have a horror-esque vibe to it, and the fact that Marvel is moving more and more into that direction with Morbius and Blade, it wouldn’t come as a surprise they introduce Ghost Rider – the epitome of Marvel horror – into the mix, too.
Secondly, it would fit perfectly with the new Ghost Rider ongoing series title from Marvel Comics. It’ll focus on Johnny Blaze – the original Ghost Rider – in a dark, horror-filled series.
Benjamin Percy (Wolverine, X-Force) will write the new Ghost Rider title, while Cory Smith will be responsible for the artwork.
Whether it’s the new comic series, an introduction to the MCU, or both – it seems that 2022 will be a great year for Ghost Rider and his fans.