Iron Man: [holding Ghost in mid-air] “You’ve got nowhere to go.”
The Ghost: “That right? There’s more than one reason they call me [disappears] The Ghost.” – Iron Man: Armored Adventures, “Chasing Ghosts” (Season 1, Episode 17)
A security guard flips through a magazine. He’s been hired to guard a laboratory overnight while the eggheads get some shut-eye. Glancing up, he sees a white transparent figure floating towards the lab. The guard jumps to his feet and approaches the creature. A yell doesn’t stop it. He clears his nightstick and attacks only to fall through the figure. The startled guard aims his gun and fires. The bullet goes right through the figure and its ricochet clips the guard.
The ethereal intruder has had enough and approaches the guard. Its hand phases through his chest. The guard feels something grab his heart and squeeze. The Ghost takes what he came for and disappears into the night.
The Ghost is one of Marvel’s more obscure villains. Information is scarce on this spectre. We don’t even know its real name despite a 30 year history. So who is it? How did it get powers? Why has a woman been cast as The Ghost in Ant-Man and The Wasp? Let’s find out.
Ghost in the Machine: The Ghost’s Backstory
The Ghost: “Stop calling me that, Neil. Your prize tech man died in flames. That life is gone. All that there is now is his ghost.” – Thunderbolts #151
The Ghost debuted in Iron Man #219 in 1987. He was created by David Michelinie and Bob Layton.
The Ghost’s real name has never been revealed. He was an engineer and programmer who created a computer processor that could become intangible or otherwise become camouflaged in its environment. He named his invention Ghost-Tech and presented it to his excited bosses. The programmer planned to take a vacation from the intense work, but his girlfriend convinced him to stay at work. Despite what seemed to be an ideal romance, he learned that she had been hired by his bosses to keep him loyal to them.
The bosses killed the girlfriend when she tried to blackmail them and then sent an assassin to kill the programmer. He survived by fusing the Ghost-Tech to his body and faking his death. Considering his past life dead, he called himself The Ghost and began a war against corporations becoming an industrial saboteur. Watch your back, Walmart.
Wraith’s Revenge: The Ghost’s History
The Ghost: “You may have saved Stark today, but it’s inevitable. He’s done for. He won’t know where, he won’t know when, and you can’t protect him forever.”
Iron Man: “Who are you working for!?”
The Ghost: “Does it matter? I was paid to do a job and I’ll get it done, no matter how long it takes.” – Iron Man: Armored Adventures, “Chasing Ghosts” (Season 1, Episode 17)
After The Ghost killed his bosses and became a saboteur for hire, he was hired by Exxon, oops, I mean Roxxon to steal experimental technology from a rival corporation. The Ghost attacked the company on the same day Tony Stark visited to discuss a merger. Iron Man fought off The Ghost, who swore revenge against Tony Stark and his bucket of bolts.
Stark was terrified by The Ghost and obsessively upgraded his armor to prepare for the rematch. He even started sleeping in the armor for extra protection. When that clash came, Iron Man used a new radiation technology to overload The Ghost’s tech, which seemingly killed him.
Not so fast. It was soon revealed that The Ghost had once again faked his death. He became a recurring foe of Iron Man, but has fought other heroes while on missions. In recent times, The Ghost has joined The Thunderbolts, Marvel’s version of the Suicide Squad.
Casper, the Spectral Saboteur: The Ghost’s Powers and Personality
The Ghost: “Pretty gutsy, kid. But some assassins are honorable men who would never betray their clients for money. [holsters a laser] Lucky for you, I’m not one of them.” – Iron Man: Armored Adventures, “Chasing Ghosts” (Season 1, Episode 17)
The Ghost can phase through objects, turn invisible, and fly. The Ghost’s suit also contains lasers, explosives, and advanced technology that can hack almost anything. We also believe that there is a universal TV remote in there. It’s bigger on the inside.
The Ghost is a paranoid recluse with a burning hatred for corporations. He’s been a villain and an anti-hero, but always makes time to try and assassinate Iron Man. The Ghost abandoned most of his emotions for an almost sociopathic focus on logic.
The Actors who play The Ghost
The Ghost debuted in the 1994 cartoon Iron Man. Voice actors Jennifer Hale, Tom Kane, and Jaime Horton spoke simultaneously to give The Ghost an otherworldly voice. The Ghost next appeared in Iron Man: Armored Adventures and was voiced by Michael Dobson. Jim Cummings voiced The Ghost in Avengers Assemble and Marvel’s Spider-Man on television.
The Ghost is the main antagonist of Ant-Man and The Wasp and is played by Ready Player One’s Hannah John-Kamen. The creative team decided that The Ghost’s gender was unimportant and it would be more interesting to cast a woman in the role. Thankfully, The Ghost is so obscure that there has been no controversy from the change.
Didya get all that?
The Ghost is wanted: dead and alive.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.