She-Hulk Episode 4 introduces Donny Blaze – he may not be Johnny Blaze, but is this the MCU’s Ghost Rider?
Ghost Rider is one of Marvel’s most badass superheroes. In his first supernatural incarnation as Johnny Blaze, he’s a stunt motorcyclist who sells his soul to Mephisto, with his body consumed by hellfire and his head transforming into a flaming skull.
He’s appeared in a number of animated projects over the years, but he was memorably played by Nicolas Cage in the eponymous 2007 film, followed by Spirit of Vengeance in 2012. Gabriel Luna also played the Robbie Reyes version of the character in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2016.
However, despite fan casts for the likes of Norman Reedus and Keanu Reeves, Kevin Feige hasn’t been rushing out a new Ghost Rider – until now, perhaps, with Donny Blaze in She-Hulk Episode 4.
She-Hulk Episode 4: Who is Donny Blaze?
Donny Blaze, played by Rhys Coiro, is a magician who once practiced as a student of the Mystic Arts. However, bad behavior – like summoning three kegs and his former fraternity brother to Kamar-Taj – saw him kicked out within a week.
Now, he performs “cheap human tricks” at the “Mystic Castle”, using a combination of everyday illusions and “real magic”, as Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) puts it.
This angers Wong (Benedict Wong), describing him as a “charlatan” who uses “sacred teachings” to send volunteers into other realms for fun, without knowing “the basics of interdimensional portalling.”
His full powers haven’t been explored, but Donny is equipped with a sling ring, as seen in Doctor Strange and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
She-Hulk: Is Donny Blaze related to Johnny Blaze?
So far, there’s been nothing to suggest any relation to Johnny Blaze beyond their surname. There’s no reference to the Spirit of Vengeance in She-Hulk Episode 4, and his only ally is an elderly man named Cornelius P. Willows (Leon Lamar), who appears to just be his manager more than anything else.
Luna’s Reyes hasn’t been seen in the MCU outside of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and again, there was nothing in the episode to suggest any connection between the two characters.
She-Hulk: Is Donny Blaze Ghost Rider?
At the time of writing, it’s unclear whether Donny Blaze will become Ghost Rider in the MCU. Maybe his name is just a red herring, or perhaps the show’s head writer wants us to be surprised when it happens.
Speaking at the premiere, Jessica Gao told Deadline: “He’s not Ghost Rider – his name is Donny Blaze. He is a magician named Donny Blaze.
“This is just a magician who picked a stage name that he thought was going to get a lot of attention. He’s a big character in his episode but he is not Ghost Rider.”
In the comics, there’s been 10 different incarnations of Ghost Rider: Johnny Blaze, Robbie Reyes, Danny Ketch, Rex Fury, Carter Slade, Alejandra Jones, Ghost Rider 2099, Cosmic Ghost Rider, Hyboria Ghost Rider, and Ghost Rider 1,000,000 BC – the latter rides a flaming wooly mammoth.
If Donny does end up being Ghost Rider, they could take him on the Danny Ketch route, making him Johnny Blaze’s brother and the son of Barton Blaze.
Danny ended up becoming Ghost Rider after taking his sister Barbara to see Harry Houdini’s grave on Halloween night. They ended up encountering two gangs, one led by Deathwatch and the other made up of Kingpin’s goons.
As they started fighting, Barbara gave away their position and ended up being killed. Danny carried his sister’s body to a nearby junkyard, where he found a motorcycle with a glowing gas cap. As he touched it with his sister’s blood on his hand, it transformed him into Ghost Rider.
However, the more likely reality is this: Donny Blaze isn’t Ghost Rider, nor will he ever be Ghost Rider, but it’s likely the MCU’s first steps towards reintroducing the hero.
She-Hulk Episode 4 will be available to watch on Thursday, September 15.