Nicolas Cage has revealed that his upcoming return to comic book movies in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will actually not be considered a sequel to his effort in 2007's Ghost Rider. (Wait...wha?) A junket interview with Collider to promote this weekend's release of Drive Angry 3D concluded with Cage fielding a question about what audiences should expect from the (also 3D powered) 2012 Ghost Rider follow-up. Besides the typical hype about amped-up action and new shooting styles, Cage actually went out of his way to make it perfectly clear that Spirit of Vengeance is not direct sequel to the 2007 film, even revealing that an all-new origin sequence will be featured in the film about stunt biker Johnny Blaze, whose Faustian bargain turns him into a flame-skulled demon hog rider whenever evil is afoot by night. So, just to reiterate, according to Nicolas Cage, he will essentially be starring in a reboot of his own film?
As Cage tells Collider:
"A completely original interpretation of Ghost Rider. It's not a sequel at all. It's 'Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance,' everything about it is different including the origin sequence. They'll see new camera movies, high adrenaline, it's like extreme sports. I think the movies going to be an incredibly wild ride."
Taking the director's chair from previous helmer Mark Steven Johnson, will be the team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, whose previous directorial stints include recent high-speed action dramas like Gamer and both Crank films. That fact, taken with Cage's comments, is a clear indicator that the intensity and visuals will be in full focus, rather than any particular storyline. So, any adherence to the previous film, which prominently devoted time to a romance with Eva Mendes' character may have been viewed as an unwanted constraint.
Yet, this strategy of releasing nebulous, "technical" franchise reboots is hardly restricted to Ghost Rider. In fact, the same thing is being done with fellow Marvel property, The Wolverine, Hugh Jackman's next turn as the titular adamantium-infused wildman of the X-Men film series. That film, in the same manner, has essentially scrapped the notion of having any connection to the previous X-films, or, for that matter, even the character's solo film debut in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
It's an odd thing to ask your audience to come and see a movie with the same character and the same star and expect them to take some magical narrative leap that this is suddenly "a different universe" than the last movie they saw. However, this practice nevertheless seems to be on the upswing. It certainly will be interesting to see if the strategy pays off for Spirit of Vengeance when it hits theaters on February 17, 2012. (Just under a year away.)
What say you? Not that the first movie changed the world or anything, but will you be up for this rebooted/retconned Ghost Rider?