To the elation of dozens of fans yesterday, ComicBookMovie.com revealed that the film rights to Ghost Rider have reverted to Marvel Comics. Sony Pictures previously held the rights, and had produced two widely panned feature films starring Hollywood's most D-Listiest A-List actor, Nicholas Cage. However, while the return of the rights to the House of Ideas opens up scores of possibilities for Marvel to reboot the franchise and add the character and his supporting cast to its already robust movie universe, not everything is as rosy as it seems. We visited Marvel's headquarters in New York City to find out what was up.
"Oh, we're really excited to have Ghost Rider back," said Marvel's Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada. "The character has a rich history in the Marvel Universe, and a dedicated fanbase. We really think there's a lot that we can... dammit! Hold on a second..."
Quesada's attention turned to the back of his office, where a thin-haired man in a leather jacket was crouched in the corner, rummaging through some boxes.
"Hey! Get out of here, Nicholas Cage!" Quesada shouted angrily. "Go on, shoo!"
"He keeps doing that," explained an annoyed Quesadaas he fumbled around his desk. "We keep telling him, 'nobody likes you, Nicholas Cage. Why don't you go home?' But he doesn't listen."
Quesada picked up a jar of pens and rattled it at Cage, and the frightened actor scurried quickly out of the office.
"That's the third time I've had to do that this morning," Quesada told us. "He just keeps coming back. I don't know what he wants, but he keeps quoting lines from his movies and then sort of just standing there awkwardly, like he expects people to applaud or something. It's really obnoxious."
"Put. The bunny. Back. In the box," said Cage, who had poked his head back in the doorway, quoting a line from 1997's Con Air. Quesada threw a coffee mug at him, and he took off down the hallway.
"He did pretty much the entire script to Face Off yesterday afternoon," Quesada lamented. "Both his and John Travolta's lines. I wanted to gouge out my eardrums."
But what was Cage doing at Marvel's offices, and why wouldn't he leave?
"It was in his contract, apparently," Quesada explained. "Our lawyers must have overlooked it when we agreed to take the rights. Apparently he's signed on for four more films, which is probably why Sony wanted to get rid of the franchise."
"He lives here now, I guess," Quesada sighed, shaking his head.
"I got nowhere else to go," said Cage, who had slipped quietly back into the room. Quesada rolled up a newspaper and tried to smack Cage on the nose with it, but Cage dodged and retreated from the office again. Quesada followed him to the door.
"That wasn't even you!" an exasperated Quesada shouted down the hallway. "That was Richard Gere! You weren't even in An Officer and a Gentleman!"
"Was he?" Quesada asked, turning his attention back to us. We admitted we didn't know. Cage has been in a lot of movies.
"Bottom line, we may have bitten off more than we can chew," said Quesada, resigned.
We left Quesada to his fate and headed back to the Outhouse bullpen. On our way out of Marvel's office, we noticed that Cage had cornered Tom Brevoort and was trying to convince the beleauguered editor to trade him half of his sandwich in exchange for Cage acting out parts from David Lynch's 1990 crime thriller, Wild at Heart. We made brief eye contact with Brevoort, who looked pleading and desperate for help, but we kept on walking. We didn't want Cage to follow us home.
We'll keep you updated on this story as more details emerge.