The Ghost Rider Panel at Comic-Con

Superhero Hype! attended the San Diego Comic-Con panel on Ghost Rider presented by Sony. On the panel were producer Avi Arad, director Mark Steven Johnson and Eva Mendes, who plays Roxanne in the film. Johnson started things off by showing a teaser for Ghost Rider. The teaser was for Comic-Con only and reportedly won’t be online.

It starts out showing Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze preparing to jump a line of trucks on a motorcycle at a football field. Intercut with it are scenes of Mendes interviewing Blaze before the stunt for TV. Then, of course, things turn dark. We see various shots of Peter Fonda as Mephisto, Wes Bentley as Blackheart, and a variety of other bad guys with sharp teeth. Sam Elliot is also shown mentoring Johnny Blaze. In one amusing scene, Elliot asks Blaze if he’s alright. Blaze responds, “I’m fine but I feel like my skull’s on fire.” That line got laughs from the audience. Other memorable scenes include a shot of Johnny stumbling along as fire seems form on his feet. The teaser concludes with a shot of a motorcycle cop clocking with a radar gun at the Texas state line. As Ghost Rider approaches, the radar clocks him at 999 mph, then the cop is blown away as the Spirit of Vengeance passes. Ghost Rider himself was never really shown and a brief glimpse given amid a bunch of quick shots was just test footage used for this temporary teaser.

Johnson followed the teaser with a Q&A with Mendes and Arad. He mentioned that they wrapped shooting a few weeks ago. Talking about the Ghost Rider’s abilities, he said he will fight with a chain, a hellfire gun, his Penance Stare, and more. He also mentioned that Ghost Rider’s flames change with his emotions. When he’s enraged, it blazes white hot like a “mane” on him. When he’s sad, it is toned down and turns blue. The fire certainly sounds like it reflects the character. As the talk progressed, a young fan asked where they got their cool Ghost Rider hats. Mendes responded by giving the kid her own hat. (Johnson then joked that the rest of the fans would be admiring the rest of her wardrobe hoping to get her to take it off and give it to them.)

Johnson mentioned that Blackheart is the main villain and he’s a rebel angel that was thrown out of heaven along with the Devil. For this story, the lore is that rebel angels fell all over the earth when cast out of heaven, now they are ‘elemental demons’. It is Ghost Rider, as the bounty hunter for the Devil, who rounds up these rogue demons. Another young fan admired Eva Mendes and asked about her character’s name. Mendes said she nicknamed the character ‘Roxy’ to which the kid responded that Roxy was ‘foxy’. Mendes laughed and told him to come back in 10 years. Johnson, when asked what Ghost Rider’s wheels would be like, responded that they would be solid wheels covered in fire rather than pure flames like in the comic. The solid wheels gave the bike more weight while the purely flame wheels made it look like the bike was floating.

Avi Arad was also asked about other Marvel projects. He mentioned that in the works were Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Nick Fury, Shang Chi, Black Panther and others. (He mentioned that there was no “Machine Man” movie when asked. I guess there are big “Machine Man” fans out there after all.) He dodged a question about who the Spider-Man 3 villains were.

That concluded the presentation. Johnson was quite impressive in his knowledge of Ghost Rider and he was also great with the fans, especially when one challenged him about the quality of Daredevil. He certainly seems to be a big fan and really looks like he’s having fun making Ghost Rider. I was also very impressed with Eva Mendes, who was beautiful, funny, and genuinely interested in her character and the Ghost Rider comics. It looks like it will be a cool movie to watch out for.

Source: Scott Chitwood