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Live-action Ghost Rider and Helstrom shows blazing onto Hulu next year
For Ghost Rider, Ingrid Escajeda (Justified, Empire, Sneaky Pete) will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Paul Zbyszewski, Marvel Television president Jeph Loeb, and ABC Studios are also attached as producers.
“I couldn’t be more excited and honored to be handed the reins to a Marvel character as beloved as Ghost Rider," Escajeda said in a statement. "This story hits every note for me—my love for grounded yet conflicted characters and my desire to scare the $&!# out of people! It’s important to me to find a take that thrills existing fans as well as wider audiences and I believe we’ve done just that."
Robbie was created in the pages of Marvel Comics by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore in 2014. In the comics, Reyes lives in Los Angeles, working at an auto body shop and taking care of his disadvantaged brother. The TV series will find Reyes living on the Texas/Mexico border, doling out justice via the demonic and fiery spirit that inhabits his body.
The mantle of Ghost Rider goes all the way back to 1972 when Johnny Blaze first struck a literal deal with the Devil to save his father from dying of cancer. Originally created by Roy Thomas, Gary Friedrich, and Mike Ploog, Blaze was played by Nicolas Cage in two live-action films from Sony/Columbia Pictures in 2007 and 2011 respectively.
As fans are likely aware, Reyes has already cropped in live-action before in the recent fourth season of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where he was played by Gabriel Luna. Variety has confirmed that the actor (soon to appear in November's Terminator: Dark Fate) is returning for the Hulu series, but that this iteration of the character will have no connection to the Robbie on AoS. He alluded to the announcement last night in a tweet before revealing what he meant in two follow-up posts this morning.
"It’s an honor to ride again with @Marvel and our new partner @Hulu!" wrote Luna.
When it comes to Helstrom, Zbyszewski is taking up the reigns of showrunner and executive producer to explore the lives of Daimon and Ana Helstrom, the children of a powerful, yet enigmatic, serial killer. Despite their parentage, the siblings decide to use their skills for good, tracking down the scum of humanity. Loeb will produce as well.
“As a lifelong Marvel fan, I feel incredibly fortunate to help bring this darker, thrilling corner of the comic book universe to life, and I’m just grateful to everyone at Marvel Television and Hulu for the opportunity,” Zbyszewski said. “Marvel’s known for all the heart, humor, and action they put into every series, but this time around we’re adding some scares to that mix. I think we’ve found a compelling way to dissect some of our deepest fears through the experiences of our two lead characters.”
In the world of comics, Daimon and his sister, Satana, were also created by Thomas and Friedrich (but not Ploog) in the early '70s. Both were the children of Satan and while Satana was raised in Hell by her father, Daimon was brought up as an orphan on Earth. Over the years, he became an ally to Ghost Rider and the Defenders. In the comics, the siblings' surname was written as "Hellstrom," with Daimon often using the hero pseudonym of "Hellstorm."
"We're thrilled Hulu will be moving into a new—admittedly chilling—corner of the Marvel Universe with Ghost Rider and Helstron. Paul and Ingrid are crafting gripping adventures into fear that live in our Spirits of Vengeance cornerstone."
Both shows follow on the heels of the Runaways, which was renewed for a third season in late March. Hulu is also working on adult-oriented animated series for M.O.D.O.K, Hit-Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler, and Howard The Duck. All of those will culminate in a Marvel's Offenders crossover.
After the cancelation of Marvel's shows on Netflix, it seemed like Disney didn't want competition for its own streaming service, Disney+, which launches in November. However, Disney's recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox came with a major stake in Hulu, an optimum place to put the House of Mouse's more mature programming, particularly if they end up just buying out the rest of the company.
(Quotes and Hellstrom bio info via Marvel)