Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made a noteworthy gamble in Season 4, to swing a little darker by adapting a new Ghost Rider for live-action. That said, midwinter finale “The Laws of Inferno Dynamics” put a pin in the Rider to bring us a new “LMD” arc, something executive producer Jeffrey Bell admits was partly out of “financial considerations.”

TVLine had a chance to speak with Bell before the new “LMD” half-season premieres with January 10 return “Broken Promises,” clarifying a few points on Gabriel Luna’s exit as Robbie Reyes. For one, Bell acknowledged that the “financial considerations” of Ghost Rider CGI were high over a full season, while the simplicity of actors playing Life Model Decoys “doesn’t cost as much.” There’s also the chance to provide a new “flavor”:

[Ghost Rider is] a lot for 22 [episodes], especially with everything else that we like and care about on the show. It would feel like one flavor over a long period of time, but we’ve certainly left it open [for him to return].

Executive producer Jed Whedon also noted that “[LMDs are] something that we’ve been wanting to get to, and now we’re finally able to get to,” without specifying what held them up previously. The first Avengers movie made passing reference to the “Life Model Decoy” of Tony Stark, while S.H.I.E.L.D. viewers suspected that Patton Oswalt’s recurring Koenig brother characters might have been some remnant of the program.

We’ll see more when the “LMD” arc begins in January, but might Ghost Rider still return, or at least garner his own expensive spinoff?

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