In “Uprising,” the third episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s” fourth season, Ghost Rider and Daisy “Quake” Johnson were on the verge of discovering their common enemy — until the Watchdogs rudely turned off the lights. Following a series of global blackouts, the pair teamed up to fight crime on the mean streets of Los Angeles and rescue Robbie’s brother Gabe Reyes, who was none-too-pleased to discover Robbie working with Quake and told her to beat it out of concern for his brother.
“Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire,” this week’s episode, finds Robbie and his alter ego in even more dire straits after S.H.I.E.L.D. captures him and brings him back to base. In anticipation for Ghost Rider’s first encounter with S.H.I.E.L.D., CBR spoke with Gabriel Luna about the arrival of Robbie’s uncle Eli, Robbie’s connection to Daisy, the way Gabe anchors him in the face of Ghost Rider’s power and more.
CBR: In the preview for this week’s episode, it looks as though S.H.I.E.L.D. takes Robbie into custody. What was it like for you, as an actor, to finally step foot on the S.H.I.E.L.D. base set?
Gabriel Luna: As you can see in the episode, I’m in the containment pod and — at one point — the door slides open, and who knows if all hell breaks loose? But I remember being on the cargo bay of the Zephyr and that door slides open; I remember seeing Agent Phil Coulson standing in front of me. It was the first time Clark [Gregg] and I had worked together. We did table reads and I’d seen him walking around the lot, but this was the first time Robbie Reyes and Agent Phil Coulson are in the same room and I remember, in my mind, I was Gabriel Luna being like, “Holy shit! That’s Agent Phil Coulson!” It was exciting! The whole set is incredible! I mean, it’s the specificity in every inch of that place, and the detail is something to behold. I just was really happy to be there. It was kind of cool.
I have a feeling Ghost Rider’s captivity isn’t going to go so well for S.H.I.E.L.D. Can you tease next week’s episode in three words?
Lola vs. Lucy. That’s my nickname for my hell charger that I’ve given her. And then I have a mini-Lucy flying around with me, who came with me to [New York] Comic Con. She’s sitting right there on a chair.
Gabe really showed his teeth in the last episode! Is his protectiveness of Robbie going to change the way Robbie views him?
I love that scene, and I love how earnest he was in his desire to shield his brother from any potential harm. We are each other’s keepers, and obviously Gabe knows a lot about Robbie and his history. He thought he might be racing again; he thought he might be getting involved in all these things — these bad things, as he puts it. He’s limited, unfortunately, in his ability to go out and keep tabs on his brother and help his brother. This secret that’s being kept from him is always kind of looming, but he’s not sure as to what exactly is going on.
I think that bond between them will never break, and there’s nothing that Gabe could possibly do to me that could snuff out this love I have for him. I enjoyed watching it; I thought it was great with how protective he was of Robbie. I think he says at one point, “So Robbie looks after you?” “Nah, man, I take care of his ass!” Which is true! He’s the brains of the outfit, while I’m the brawn. Sure, he’s not completely informed as to what’s going on and he may not have all the answers that he needs in terms of who Daisy is and what she and I are actually trying to accomplish together, so I hold nothing against him.
We recently got some information about Robbie’s uncle Eli, and it’s fair to say his character is a little different than the comic book version. How does Eli affect Robbie’s character moving forward?
There’s not much I can say about that other than we’re going to meet Uncle Eli. I love the way we have tweaked the storyline when it comes to Uncle Eli and I think people will appreciate it too. It’s something I’ve really been impressed with coming from Jed [Whedon] and Mo [Maurissa Tancharoen] and Jeffrey Bell and the rest of the writers, Jeph Loeb and then all of the people who are responsible for how we transition these characters from the page to the screen. At the same time, they keep it fresh and new and keep it alive in the moment so that people are surprised and they’re engaged and they’re having this new experience, so that they can’t see it coming a mile away having read the books or whatever.
We are going to see Uncle Eli, which I’m very happy to tell you. The way in which he comes to our story is something I can’t really touch on, but I think everyone will be pleased with the way we kind of slide that story over to the screen and make it new and exciting.
Robbie appeared really, profoundly sad to discover Daisy had left without telling him. How would you say he feels about her at this point in their relationship?
I think that look on his face you see is perhaps a little disappointment in that he started to have a bond with someone he hasn’t killed. [Laughs] I think that face you see is one of — not fear, but definitely concern that the one person who knows that Robbie Reyes is Ghost Rider is now back out there running around, doing whatever she has to do. At the end of episode two, when I ask her to team up, a lot of that is I respect her power and I respect her. I understand that she’s going in the same direction I am, she’s seeking the same ends that I am, so I offer the opportunity for her to jump in and saddle up and we go find these things out. We get sidetracked with this blackout, obviously, and then of course she has a discussion with Gabe, who has a brother and — as my family — wants to protect me. I think when you see Robbie at the end of that episode, it’s like, “Yeah, this girl’s cool and she’s helpful and we seem to be on the same path.” But then it’s also like, “Okay, now the one person who knows I’m Ghost Rider is out there” and that’s certainly cause for concern for him.
How much control would you say Robbie has over his alter ego?
I think he has all the control that his love for his brother and his love for his neighborhood will allow him or will empower him. It’s a great aspect of the character in the comics, and there’s a really great scene at the very end of the first run of “All-New Ghost Rider,” where… his love and his profession of his love to his brother, who’s going through this really horrible — I don’t know if you read the book, but he becomes this demon monster at one point. In order to get to him and try to create a connection so he could call him back from the brink of this very destructive episode he’s having, he reaches out to Gabe and he just tells him, “I love you. I love you. It’s me.” As you’ll see throughout the season, the proof of that and that armor that he has against the beast, against the demon, against the Rider, is one built of this fraternal brotherly bond and great love for Gabe Reyes, his brother.
Airing Tuesdays at 10 pm ET/PT on ABC, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Chloe Bennet as Daisy “Quake” Johnson, Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons, Henry Simmons as Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie and more.
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