From Ryan Gosling to Keanu Reeves, who could be the MCU’s next Ghost Rider?

Ghost Rider MCU

In a Tweet promoting his upcoming MTV News interview with Ryan Gosling, Josh Horowitz set the internet ablaze when he teased that actor Gosling wants to be Ghost Rider. That has been enough to energize the Marvel faithful who have been dreaming of flaming skulls, chains, and Harley Davidsons with wheels of fire to tear up the MCU once again.

Although Marvel Studios canceled the proposed Ghost Rider live-action series for Hulu, the indication is that the Spirit of Vengeance will ride again. Who could play Ghost Rider in the MCU? Here are the top choices.

Ryan Gosling

the gray man
Image via Netflix

It doesn’t take much to get the rumor mill churning, especially when an actor mentions they wanr to play a particular character. Even if Gosling’s comment is half hearted or meant as a joke, the speculation can go into overdrive within hours. Remember when Keanu Reeves said he always waned to play Wolverine? It caused a wave of speculation that lasted for weeks.

That brings us to the reason everyone is talking about Ghost Rider. Marvel has made it public that Nova will be starring in a solo movie. There had been gossip that Gosling, resident heartthrob and the face that launched a thousand memes, would be the MCU’s Nova. While he reportedly debunks that theory in the MTV interview, he’s inspired plenty of theories about suiting up as Ghost Rider. 

Of course it could all be misdirection. Marvel isn’t above lying to the audience to preserve its surprises as we saw with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Gosling could actually be the MCU’s Nova or another character, and the Ghost Rider comment was a calculated move.

Norman Reedus

Image via AMC Networks

When it comes to Ghost Rider, Norman Reedus would seem to be the best choice. Much of that comes from his motorcycle-riding character in The Walking Dead, Darryl Dixon. He’s also proven himself to be capable of action roles, and fans would love to see the TWD favorite join the MCU. 

The word on the internet is that Reedus has been offered a leading role in the MCU. On the off chance that this is true, it doesn’t necessarily mean he will play Ghost Rider. Fans tend to associate characters rather than actors when it comes to fan castings, so since Daryl has a penchant for motorcycles on a horror-themed show, that automatically makes him perfect for the Spirit of Vengeance.

Keanu Reeves

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Image via Lionsgate

Is there anyone rumored for more superhero roles than Keanu Reeves? Marvel president Kevin Feige has said that he has offered numerous roles to the John Wick star since Iron Man, but they have yet to agree on the right part. 

Last year, reports circulated that Feige and Reeves met about an undisclosed role. That has spawned the gossip that Reeves, a motorcycle enthusiast, has been cast as Johnny Blaze. Then again, Keanu’s name has been connected to practically every major Marvel character at this point, ranging from Wolverine to Adam Warlock. At this point, we have to wonder if Reeves is actually going to be part of the MCU or if he and Feige just enjoy stirring the pot.

Nicolas Cage

nicolas cage ghost rider
Image via Sony Pictures

A few years ago, the possibility of Nicolas Cage riding his flaming Harley into the MCU would have been unthinkable. The Sony Pictures produced Ghost Rider movies that Cage starred in are considered some of the worst superhero movies ever made. These days, however, fans have embraced the Ghost Rider movies as escapist entertainment. Combined with the current Cage-aissance, and you have a fan push to bring Cage back to the world of Ghost Rider.

Cage has expressed interest in reprising his role as Johnny Blaze. Since we saw the Spider-Man reunion in No Way Home, it led to rumors that multiple Ghost Riders would appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Of course, that didn’t happen, but the door has been opened for just such a spectacle. 

Gabriel Luna

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When the Ghost Rider series on Hulu was on the table, the assumption was that Gabriel Luna would once again portray the Spirit of Vengeance. It was Luna who brought Ghost Rider to the MCU as Robbie Reyes in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and it is likely he will remain in the role.

Unlike the previous biker incarnations of Ghost Rider, Reyes’ preferred ghostly mode of travel was a haunted muscle car with fiery wheels. While fans may want to see a more traditional Spirit of Vengeance ride a blazing chopper into the MCU, that may not be what Feige wants.

We haven’t seen Reyes since his brief stint on Agents, and the canceled show is still regarded as official canon. That means that Robbie is roaring his engine somewhere in the MCU, waiting for the call to action. 

Antony Starr

the boys homelander
via Prime Video

The Boys just wrapped its third season, and the ultra-violent superhero satire is building a large fan base. A fan favorite from the show is Antony Starr’s Homelander, the twisted, genetically-engineered Superman parody that reminds us of just how scary a world of superpowered humans could actually be. 

Starr has owned the role and made himself a breakout star in the process. Naturally there has been internet rumblings that Starr is in talks for a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If it’s true, you can’t blame Feige for being interested. Starr has shown his acting chops, and he is downright scary as Homelander. The gossip is that Starr is in the running for Dracula in Blade, but there is growing speculation that he could be the next Ghost Rider. 

Jon Bernthal

Image via Marvel Televsion

Now that Marvel Studios has made the Netflix Daredevil series MCU canon, it has intensified the cries to resurrect the Punisher. While Jon Bernthal wasn’t the first to play the vigilante, he owned the role, and the hot rumor is that he will appear in Armor Wars.

The Punisher, of course, is a rated-R superstar that doesn’t fit the Marvel/Disney kid-friendly formula. There’s also the problem with the misuse of the Punisher logo that has been embroiled in controversy in recent years. All that being said, this may not be the best time for the Punisher to appear on Disney Plus, however a more lighthearted Frank Castle in the form of Cosmic Ghost Rider could do the trick.

In the “Thanos Wins” alternate timeline in the Marvel Comics, the Punisher became the Spirit of Vengeance. After humanity went extinct, this Punisher-themed Ghost Rider was the last being on the planet. The centuries of solitude caused Frank severe mental trauma, and his mental state deteriorated into something akin to Deadpool. 

There have been fan castings and speculation that Bernthal could be the cosmic Ghost Rider of the future. It’s a long shot, but it would be an interesting choice.

Sam Elliott

Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images

The consummate cowboy with one of the most distinctive voices in cinema, Sam Elliott has played two Marvel characters outside of the MCU: first was General Thunderbolt Ross in Ang Lee’s underappreciated The Hulk released in 2003; second was Carter Slade in 2007’s Ghost Rider, a comic character who predated Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider before being renamed the Phantom Rider.

If the Sony Pictures produced Marvel movies are part of the MCU Multiverse, that makes Elliott’s Carter Slide canonical. With all the chatter about Nicolas Cage reprising his role as Johnny, it’s not a stretch to assume Carter Slade would come along for the ride. Instead of a muscle car or a chopper, Carter could ride his phantom horse in a Western-themed movie or streaming series that focuses on the origins of the early Ghost Rider.