Warning: spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 got off to a fiery start thanks to the introduction of Robbie Reyes, a.k.a. Ghost Rider. The first five episodes showed a lot of what the famed comic character can do, ranging from roasting gang members alive to killing ghosts. His origin story was mostly shrouded in mystery until "The Good Samaritan" revealed just what made Robbie the way that he is. As it turns out, he didn't so much sell his soul to the devil as he did agree to save his own life and seek vengeance. Oh, and there's more than one Ghost Rider, too.
Robbie finally shared his story in "The Good Samaritan" as he told his brother and Daisy about the disaster that led to his soul-trade with the devil. When the Reyes bros were on the road heading to a street race, they ended up in the crossfire of an attempted hit on their uncle. The car crashed, paralyzing Gabriel and killing Robbie. A second Ghost Rider arrived on the scene and passed the Spirit of Vengeance into Robbie, bringing him back to life in order to protect his brother and seek his revenge.
The origin of Robbie Reyes' Ghost Rider was much less mystical than some of us might have expected. Robbie has always claimed that he sold his soul to the devil in order to get his power; it was easy to imagine that he had proactively conjured some kind of demon. It wouldn't have been the same as his Marvel comic origin story, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has always used the comics as guidelines rather than rules. The twist that Robbie only kinda sorta volunteered his soul when his only other option was death paints him in a more sympathetic light, which he really needed after killing his most recent victim who only kinda sorta deserved to die.
The big question now concerns who that particular Ghost Rider was that passed the vengeful spirit into Robbie. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could go in an entirely new direction and create its own chapter in the Ghost Rider mythology with an original character, or it could go in what I consider a much more awesome direction and reveal that the Ghost Rider encountered by Robbie was none other than Johnny Blaze.
Johnny Blaze is by far the most famous incarnation of the Ghost Rider character, thanks both to his role as the original Ghost Rider in the comics and as the thrust of a pair of Nicolas Cage movies. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. producers deliberately chose to use Robbie rather than Johnny in order to showcase the family dynamic of the Reyes brothers, but they never ruled out an appearance from Johnny Blaze. In fact, the episode prior to "The Good Samaritan" featured a nod to the Johnny Blaze character via a poster advertising him as a motorcycle stuntman. At the time, the nod felt like it could be nothing more than an Easter egg for fans of the original Ghost Rider. Now, it feels like foreshadowing that Johnny Blaze could have a part to play in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4.
Only time will tell. Sadly, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is now going on a little bit of a break. Tune in to ABC on Tuesday, November 29 at 10 p.m. ET to see what's next for Ghost Rider.