November 14, according to Vulture, is the date when the Ghost Rider rights will revert from Sony to Marvel… unless the Japanese corporate giant has a movie in production by that date. And Sony is so serious about meeting that date they’re thinking of going ahead with Ghost Rider 2 even if Nic Cage isn’t available.

And it’s very likely Cage won’t be available. National Treasure 3 could start shooting this fall, and that paycheck will likely be bigger than Ghost Rider 2‘s paycheck. Supposedly Sony is asking for an extension on the rights, but Marvel really wants their characters to come home, so I can’t imagine they’re going to grant one.

This is the face of bad studio decision-making in action. The reality is that nobody actually wants a Ghost Rider 2, but Sony doesn’t want Marvel getting the character back and possibly making a movie that earns some cash. That will make the Sony execs look like the dummies who let the good property get away – this is the exact reasoning behind Fox developing new X-Men, Fantastic Four and Daredevil movies. They aren’t all that worried about making them good or particularly successful, they just want to make sure Marvel doesn’t get the rights back and then make successful versions of the movies.

If Ghost Rider did revert to Marvel it’s hard to imagine the studio jumping on a new movie any time soon. They have their hands full for the next couple of years, and Ghost Rider isn’t a particularly vital part of the Marvel Universe. But I know that Kevin Feige looks to all the lost and wandering characters and really wants to have them back.