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Has Marvel Found An MCU Role For Keanu Reeves?

We've waited, we've hoped, we've begged to an apparently deaf god to let Keanu Reeves appear in the MCU — and once again, rumors are flying which stock our hopes that the wish will come to fruition. 

Yes, yet again, chatter is gathering that Reeves is this close to signing on to a Marvel project, but the character chosen is a unique one this time, untied to any specific project. That character: Ghost Rider — specifically, the original Johnny Blaze iteration, according to eternal rumor-monger We Got This Covered. You'll probably recall that Nicolas Cage was the last man to hold that on-screen role in the less-than-enthusiastically-received diptych of films centered on the character. Is it time to let Johnny Blaze give it another college try, this time with better CGI and hopefully a more robust script?

Reeves is enjoying a second renaissance of fame borne upon the back of the gratuitous, glitzy violence of the John Wick films, and the idea of him taking up the mantle of the flaming-skull soul-reaper is a very particular kind of wish fulfillment. Anybody with a flame in their heart for comic book adaptations would feel a little twinge at the suggestion, but it is just that: a suggestion. As you're probably aware, WGTC is not a reliable source of inside info, and we have no reason to believe that this rumor is anything more than glorified fan-casting. This new hope will come, likely go, and we will continue to wonder if Keanu will ever quit flirting and commit to signing a contract with Marvel Studios.

Ghost Rider has a messy franchise past

The minor critical and financial disasters of 2007's Ghost Rider and its 2011 sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance have likely put Marvel Studios off of commissioning a version of its own for some time — at least, insofar as the silver screen. Enough people remember the previous films to generate a pretty terrible legacy for the entire brand. While neither of those were produced by Marvel Studios (they are relics of the bygone era of individual comic character adaptation films licensed by Marvel Entertainment), the casual moviegoing audience will likely not appreciate the corporate separation, and leap to a whole bunch of negative assumptions regarding any new big-screen adaptation of our rough-and-ready hellfire friend.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did feature Robbie Reyes' Ghost Rider for a season with Gabriel Luna cast in the role, an interpretation which was quite well-received. Before The Great Marvel-Disney Merger, there were plans to spin that character off into his own series on Hulu with Luna continuing in a starring role, but alas, that is no more. All of this adds up to a whole bunch of complications in letting Johnny Blaze ride again, no matter how perennially cool leather-jacket-clad men damned by Mephistopheles and wielding magical chain whips might be (and they really are).

Keanu and Ghost Rider are hot commodities on the gossip circuit

When we say this happens quite a bit, let us illustrate: just one month ago, WGTC insisted to us that Ghost Rider was for realsies appearing in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, but the Danny Ketch version, not Johnny Blaze, and with Brett Dalton from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. attached to the role. We're always willing to kick the speculative football around for fun and giggles, but really: pick one, guys. Marvel Studios is not likely to let two Ghost Riders run around in the same franchise. 

There has also been unconfirmed speculation that Keanu Reeves was approached for Eternals. We can say for certain that Kevin Feige has been looking to pick up Keanu for a role for a very long time; that's the grain of truth lending weight to this supposition. However, he could be hesitant to sign the kind of very long-term contract that most high-profile MCU characters demand. He's involved with multiple other franchises, and he likely wants to maintain a certain level of quality within those franchises for the sake of his career. 

That's not to say that he thinks MCU movies are bad movies, but Marvel Studios contracts are unique; he won't get a whole lot of say in the production of those films, and with years between filming stints, there's little flexibility and no guarantee that he can anticipate every film he would be contracted for, and this isn't necessarily in line with his creative interests. Finally, to be frank: this is not a job Keanu Reeves needs, so he's empowered to pick and choose as he pleases (to Feige's probable frustration). Don't let the hype train get the better of you: the day for Keanu joining the MCU may come, but it's probably not this one.