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Ghost Rider 2 Could Rev Up Without Nicolas Cage

by  in Comic News, Movie News Comment

A Ghost Rider sequel could take off without Nicolas Cage.

Vulture reports that time is quickly running out for the Sony-owned Columbia Pictures: If the studio doesn’t begin production on a follow-up to the 2007 film by Nov. 14, the rights automatically revert to Marvel. Cage has repeatedly expressed his eagerness to make another Ghost Rider, but if the actor can’t free up his schedule — and soon! — the studio might be forced to look for another star.

The blog spoke to “one unconnected producer who’s worked in the comic-book genre” who insists that’s easier said than done: Ghost Rider isn’t well-enough known outside of superhero fandom for the film to work without Cage. Balderdash, I say — and Vulture writer Claude Brodesser-Akner agrees, pointing out that billboards for Iron Man 2 “show nary a glimpse of star Robert Downey Jr.”

Ghost Rider 2 — is it still called Spirit of Vengeance? — probably would be better off without Cage, who has played the same cardboard cutout in most of his films for the past eight years or so. Only the hairpieces change. Sure Cage’s name still has some marquee value, but the actor’s box-office track record has become so spotty that it seems ridiculous to insist a movie — any movie — needs him in order to work.

FlashForward writers Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman, overseen by David S. Goyer, reportedly have turned in a draft of the script, so it’s too late to cross our fingers that the studio will find inspiration in Jason Aaron’s recent runs on Marvel’s Ghost Rider and Ghost Riders: Heaven’s on Fire. But we can still hold out hope executives will go with another actor — even one without major name recognition — who can sell the hell out of motorcyle-riding, leather jacket-wearing, flaming-skulled Spirit of Vengeance.

So forget Nicolas Cage, Columbia. Let the bees have him.