The cancelled streaming series Ghost Rider was supposed to be the next in a line of revitalized Marvel Television series. However, recent reports have indicated that Marvel Television will be relinquishing the live-action arm of Marvel productions to Marvel Studios. In the process, Ghost Rider was canceled before it ever got the chance to begin. Coupled with reports that Kevin Feige is already considering a place for Ghost Rider within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it looks like that the character is set to be a bigger deal for Marvel going forward.
It actually makes sense, however, especially considering how successful Venom was for Sony. The character actually has a number of major similarities with Venom, and it might just be the closest thing the MCU could have to the surprise hit character.
Possessed by a demon after making a literal deal with the devil, Ghost Rider is an inherently darker character than most of the superheroes who exist within the MCU.
His connection to the darker, supernatural corners of magic within the universe giving him plenty of material to explore and could prove to be an easy way to introduce concepts and characters like Limbo and Mephisto to the MCU. While Doctor Strange may confront otherworldly forces and Blade will contend with vampires, Ghost Rider tends to deal with the worst of the worst. As a result, the action for the MCU's Ghost Rider could (and should) be more brutal and engaging. Ghost Rider can fight threats that would be out of place in the rest of the MCU, giving his film a different feel than other movies in the universe. Like Venom, this unabashed tone shift could help it stand out in a crowded superhero world.
Whether the MCU's Ghost Rider shows up in a movie or another streaming series, it could derive a lot of fun from the fact that Ghost Rider is nominally a normal man who's been possessed by some strange force. The MCU incarnation of Ghost Rider could potentially openly communicate with the Spirit of Vengeance that makes him into Ghost Rider, allowing the character to have someone to bounce off for both dramatic and comedic moments. The bizarre relationship that grows between Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote was the most surprisingly affecting piece of the film.
Giving the same kind of rapport to Ghost Rider could help this film stand out, not just from the earlier cinematic versions of the character but other movies within the MCU. It could just be weird in the way Venom was, which at least made it memorable.
Venom was a surprise smash, earning over $800 million at the global box office. Part of that comes from the nostalgia for the character and the specific era he was in his heyday. That same era was when Ghost Rider was more of a marquee character within the Marvel Universe.
Like Venom, this could drive out a larger fan reception. It's important to remember just how big of a deal Ghost Rider was in this era. He was legitimately one of Marvel's highest-selling characters, fueling an entire corner of the Marvel Universe and leading to titles such as the Midnight Sons and Hellstorm. Don't forget, Ghost Rider ended up appearing in two feature films before the Avengers appeared together. Like Venom, he's thrived on non-comic merchandise like t-shirts as much as he has in comics, which means that a wider-than-average audience is already familiar with the character.
Introducing Ghost Rider to the massively expanded landscape of the MCU could allow for more of those elements to bleed through into the greater universe. Like Venom opened up the possibility of more symbiotes appearing in the future of the Sony Spider-films, Ghost Rider could lead to an influx of supernatural characters. Even just the possibility of bringing the various other Ghost Riders to film and see the skull-headed hero join the MCU in a major way should be enough to excite any Ghost Rider fan. And if Venom's success is any indicator of what could be in store for Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance could very well end up being the MCU's next surprise smash.