There are a number of reasons why Ghost Rider wasn't much of a hit back in 2007: the main character is creepy, poor script, relatively unknown character -- whatever. Nicolas Cage was probably the biggest draw. If there's one thing people like to see Cage do most it's play weird, off-the-wall characters. Despite his assertions that he wants to reprise his role as Johnny Blaze in a sequel, it appears that Columbia Pictures is set to move on without Cage's participation.
Vulture is reporting that Cage could be too busy filming National Treasure 3 to be a part of the sequel. Columbia wants desperately to get another Ghost Rider film out there otherwise the rights revert back to Marvel. It's a similar situation with all of Marvel's properties currently on license to outside studios. In this case, Columbia must have something in production by the middle of November or risk losing the license. Writers Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman worked in collaboration with David S. Goyer to turn in a final script already.
Apparently, Columbia has asked Marvel for an extension on that license. Don't expect that to happen. Marvel in the past has expressed regret at licensing away their properties to other studios because it lessens the financial gains they themselves could be reaping. It would be to their benefit to have Ghost Rider become part of the larger Marvel film universe.
So if Cage isn't involved, would that cause a rewrite of the script? Would they continue on with Johnny Blaze as the main character? Or would they possibly switch to one of the others who posessed the flaming skull, like Danny Ketch? We'll find out soon enough but I doubt that Ghost Rider 2 succeeds on any level without an A-list talent attached.
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