Agent of SHIELD‘s Ghost Rider project was quite the mystery project. It was the first successful attempt for the series to expand its universe. It already seemed like a miracle that they pulled off the effects in a broadcast network like ABC. So, an entire show featuring the Spirit of Vengeance would be quite costly.
It seems sadly that very fact played a role in why Agents of SHIELD‘s VFX supervisor Mark Kolpack also didn’t join the production. In an interview with ComicBook.com’s Adam Barnhardt, he revealed that he opted not to continue his work on the character’s design that he brought to life in SHIELD’s fourth season due to budget constraints set by Hulu.
I had to pass on it because I couldn’t get into a situation, as I told them, where I’m struggling with the budget to try to do the creative and we’re trying to pare the creative down. And it was really unfortunate because Gabe wanted me to do it. I wanted to do it. I wanted to direct some. All this stuff. But I felt I couldn’t do my best with not as large a budget. So I had to regretfully decline and that was sad because I wanted to do it, Marvel wanted me to do it, Gabe wanted it. It was a logical process that I would have, but then it didn’t happen anywayMark Kolpack
While not confirmed, it most likely played a role in why the series didn’t continue. Without the proper team to bring the effects to life, it wouldn’t have been an easy rode to bring the character to life. Especially considering Kolpack already managed to make it possible on ABC’s network restraints. However, he also confirmed that it ate up quite a bit of their overall budget, hinting as much as half of each Agent of SHIELD‘s episodes investment went into that flaming skull.
Marvel Studios seems willing to make that investment, as there are enough hints at him potentially joining the MCU in the near future. We’ll see if Gabriel Luna also gets a chance to take on the role, or they try to return to the character’s roots before expanding the mythology. It’s disappointing that the Hulus series didn’t get a chance to move forward, but Luna is currently busy working on The Last of Us for HBO, while Kolpack is continuing his work on the series Raising Dion.