Robbie Reyes has been a part of Marvel Comics canon for less than three years, after first being introduced by writer Felipe Smith and artist Tradd Moore as the title character of 2014’s “All-New Ghost Rider” #1. Yet the character has already made the leap to live-action, debuting in last week’s fourth season premiere of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” as played by actor Gabriel Luna.
With Luna’s second appearance as Ghost Rider set to air tonight on ABC, CBR News talked to the actor last week at a premiere event in Los Angeles to discuss what he relates to about the characters, the importance of Latinx representation in genre fiction and the changes made to the character from page to screen. In the brief interview, Luna’s enthusiasm for Robbie Reyes, and Marvel in general, was clear — namedropping fellow recent additions to Marvel’s superhero roster like Kamala Khan, Miles Morales and Lunella Lafayette, the star of “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.”
CBR News: Gabriel, clearly there are not a lot of Latino characters in genre TV or movies, but there aren’t a lot in American superhero comics, either — Robbie Reyes is one of the only Mexican-American characters on Marvel’s roster. How important is this role to you?
Gabriel Luna: What I’ve always loved about the comics is that they paved the way for what we have in our reality. Even if you go back to the Silver Age and some of the science-fiction-type stuff that they introduced, we’ve now come to know as real things. It all starts as an idea in your imagination.
This is kind of an inverted sense, where the reality was already there — we’ve always been here. That hasn’t changed. Marvel has just done a really fantastic job of showing the world as it is, with Lunella Lafayette and Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel is a Muslim woman. These beautiful stories in Marvel NOW! that are just true. As Robbie, as the first Mexican-American superhero in one of the main titles, I was just so taken aback when I found out about it originally. The fact that I’m given the opportunity to make him real is extremely exciting, man.
It’s a character that’s still very new in the comics, and has only been around a couple years. What were some of the qualities about Robbie Reyes that excited you about playing him?
As a young man, he’s already the patriarch of his family, which I understand really well. I love how strong and silent he is. He’s not quippy. He’s not Peter Parker, he’s not Clint Barton. He’s very, very focused, and I love that about him. I’ve just wanted to do my best to depict that.
The character in the comics is depicted a younger than your version — how do you see that as changing Robbie Reyes?
We’re expanding on the canon, we’re expanding on the story. We’re just sliding it over. Eventually, you may see us address what happened in those years since. He’s a growing character, and we happen to be the show that’s given him the room to grow.
Gabriel Luna appears on a new episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” at 10 tonight on ABC.
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