The Age of Papa Emeriti seems to be over. In fact, it would appear that Ghost have turned a whole new leaf in general.
Used to be — y’know, in the way back when of 2010 – 2015 — that sure as each new Slipknot album brings new Slipknot masks, each new Ghost album brought a “new” Papa Emeritus — really just frontman and mastermind Tobias Forge playing a slightly different character each time — to sing for the band. That changed with last year’s Prequelle, which, as per usual, introduced a new character for Forge to embody, but did not introduce a Papa. Instead, we got Cardinal Copia, whose backstory is that he’s, like, younger and less experienced and stuff.
Still, based on past behavior, one would likely assume that Cardinal Copia’s time with Ghost will be limited to the Prequelle cycle.
But one would assume wrong! In a new interview with an Australian podcast, The Music, Forge revealed plans to keep “Cardi” (yuk yuk) around for awhile:
“Right now, if everything goes according to plan, we’re hoping for Cardi to be strong enough and cool enough to possibly do something that none of the previous ones have done, and that’s basically to do two cycles.”
Forge went on to explain why thinks it’s worth it to keep exploring the Cardinal for the time being:
“Which I just find interesting, because each of the other ones you’ve sort of met when they’ve already accomplished their thing — they’re already accomplished; there’s no story — whereas this time around he’s presented very al dente; a little bit of chewing resistance. Not even I liked him to begin with. But now I can’t wait to see him hopefully accomplish these things and I really look forward to possibly seeing him in the skull paint and real papal attire.”
Maybe I’m stupid for not noticing this before, or maybe I just haven’t been paying close enough attention to Ghost lore, but this all leads me to believe that Prequelle was called Prequelle for a reason, and Forge has had some grand narrative for Cardi planned out this entire time. So that’s kinda neat I suppose.
Look, I’ll be honest: I love Ghost’s music, and the degree to which people care about who Forge is playing at any given moment totally baffles me (the same way the incredible amount of interest in Slipknot’s masks baffles me). Having said that, it’s clear that a substantial portion of Ghost’s fanbase are very invested in this stuff, and I’m kinda curious to see how they react to not having some big dramatic unveiling of a new character the next time out. Like, if tomorrow, you found out that Slipknot were just gonna keep using the Gray Chapter masks, would you feel let down, or would you not care? Has the introduction of a new Papa/Cardinal/Rabbi/whatever comes next become an essential part of the Ghost promotional cycle?
Discuss amongst yourselves for now, ’cause we probably won’t know ’til 2020 at earliest.