Nicolas Cage's Ghost Rider and its soft reboot Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, for all their faults, led to some clamor for Ghost Rider 3. After the rights to the vengeful demonic character reverted to Marvel in 2013, there's been renewed interest in bringing Johnny Blaze into the fold. As Marvel continues to expand its roster of classic comic book characters, it only makes sense for Ghost Rider to appear at some point in the Multiverse Saga.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean that Ghost Rider 3 can still happen. Instead of a sequel, the MCU is more likely to pursue an entirely different direction for fleshing out the Spirit of Vengeance in live-action. The fact is that, in order for Ghost Rider's MCU debut to work, it needs to distance itself from the first two aforementioned movies. Here's why Ghost Rider 3 probably won't happen, and how Nicholas Cage could return as Johnny Blaze outside his own movie.

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Ghost Rider Was Made In A Different Era For Superhero Movies

While Nicolas Cage was fun as Johnny Blaze, Ghost Rider 3 is unlikely to ever happen. Comic book movies were in a different place back in 2007 when the original Ghost Rider was released. The movie was a big-budget, PG-13 adventure based around a character who transforms into a demon with a flaming skull, meaning an R-rating probably would have been a better fit. A terrible wig aside, Cage received good reviews for his lead performance — but the story, lame villain, and terrible CGI led to Ghost Rider being roundly panned. To this day, both Ghost Rider and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance are largely remembered for being the worst of Nic Cage's superhero movies.

That said, Ghost Rider was a financial success, so a sequel was greenlit. The next year saw the release of game-changers Iron Man and The Dark Knight, indicating the genre was undergoing a dramatic shift. There were early signs Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance would be an improvement on the maligned original; Crank co-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor were at the helm, the film was said to be a soft reboot and the supporting cast including Idris Elba and Christopher Lambert (Highlander). While Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance was better and contained a couple of fun action scenes, it was still a mediocre comic book movie.

Taking off from 2008's Iron Man, superheroes have since come a long, long way, with the conclusion of the Infinity Saga in Avengers: Endgame, the MCU's Multiverse Saga, and Marvel's foray into series-based storytelling pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the superhero genre. Considering how elevated superhero storytelling has become, movies like Ghost Rider have aged terribly. Rather than Ghost Rider 3, it would be more worthwhile for the MCU to pursue its own take on the character.

Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance Was A Box-Office Disappointment

Ghost Rider 2 makes Ghost Rider 3 even less likely. While Ghost Rider performed well, the movie’s poor critical reception couldn’t be ignored. Sony saw the value of making a follow-up with the character but not necessarily in the same style as the original. Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance was given a lower budget and Johnny Blaze’s origin is slightly retconned to imply the original movie didn’t happen. Neveldine and Taylor brought their trademark kinetic style to the sequel, but the threadbare story and one-note characters did little to impress.

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Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance was also released in 2012, just a year before Marvel entered MCU Phase 2 — the era when the MCU began planting the seeds for long-term storytelling, dominating the genre, and releasing content simply incomparable with the Ghost Rider movies. Moreover, by 2013, Cage effectively ruled out returning for Ghost Rider 3, and in the years since, has lamented that the studio wasn’t brave enough to make an R-rated movie with the character, especially in light of Deadpool's success. The co-directors of Spirit Of Vengeance also regret the film not being a darker, bloodier affair that took advantage of the character’s horror roots.

The Rights To Ghost Rider Reverted Back To Marvel

Following the lukewarm performance of Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance and Nic Cage’s open disinterest in returning, Ghost Rider 3 was canceled. The rights to the character reverted back to Marvel in 2013, and Ghost Rider, in the form of Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna), appeared during season 4 of the acclaimed Marvel series Agents of Shield. Marvel also appears to have little interest in making a Ghost Rider movie and even if they did, it’s extremely unlikely they would revive the Nicolas Cage Johnny Blaze era.

Not only has Cage himself ruled out a return, but the Ghost Rider films themselves also have a weak reputation among fans. An R-rated Ghost Rider 3 with Nicolas Cage sounds like it could be a blast, but sadly, it feels like the original movie arrived too early. There’s a chance he could be redeemed on the big screen in the future, but it definitely won’t in Ghost Rider 3.

As Agents of Shield is no longer being canon in the MCU, Marvel definitely wasted Ghost Rider. That said, there's definitely still demand for the character to make the jump to live-action in the contemporary Marvel setting. With the introduction of incursions in the MCU's Multiverse, Marvel has actually already laid the groundwork for Ghost Rider's perfect MCU entrance.

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Avengers: Secret Wars Presents An Opportunity For A Nicolas Cage MCU Cameo

Forget Ghost Rider 3 - Nicolas Cage's Johnny Blaze can make his long-awaited return in Avengers: Secret Wars, the 2026 MCU Phase 6 movie that will see the culmination of Marvel's Multiverse and variant story set-ups. Based on arguably the most highly revered Marvel Comics event, Avengers: Secret Wars is basically about a massive incursion that collapses the multiverse into a single place called Battleworld — a spectacle promising to be filled with cross-franchise variants like Multiverse of Madness's Earth-838 Illuminati.

Nic Cage's Johnny Blaze is just one of the many classic comic book characters who could appear in the sixth Avengers movie. In fact, both Cage's Johnny Blaze and Gabriel Luna's Robbie Reyes could both appear as variants of Ghost Rider from different universes. In any case, while Ghost Rider 3 won't be hitting theaters soon, there will actually be plenty of opportunities for the Spirit of Vengeance to return to live-action amid the Multiverse Saga.

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