I’m not going to say I am responsible for this decision, but I have been on record, for some time now, writing on how Marvel needs to release something new with the Punisher. In what lunatics like me consider to be the most important news in television this year, Marvel has confirmed the Punisher will appear in the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil. But, before you get too excited, let’s consider what could be wrong with this.
The Punisher has one of the saddest origin stories in comic book history. You really think losing your parent’s in an alleyway is tough? Try losing your wife, son, and daughter in a park when you already possess the skills and abilities to prevent it. This tragic beginning is what made Frank Castle into the Punisher, and having him on Daredevil may mean this story is glossed over. In case you didn’t know, before he joined the Marines, Frank was also in the seminary training to be a priest. This sort of information helps to round out the character and really make him who he is. Without it, he might just come off as some psychotic mass murder.
Originally, the Punisher appeared as a villain hunting Spiderman, but afterwards he got his own comic and transformed into everyone’s favorite anti-hero. In the first season of Daredevil, we saw Matt Murdock straddling the line between vigilante and straight-up psychopath, but from how the season ended it seems he’s successful in reining in his darker side. With someone like Castle appearing, will they butt heads in a way that will keep them on opposite sides? If so, how are they going to handle that?
OK, this one isn’t really a problem. In fact, this is probably the best part about this announcement. I know I wasn’t the only one who was hoping Thomas Jane would be approached for a good Punisher role, but having Jon Bernthal in that role is probably even better. Sure, he was a complete jerk in AMC’s The Walking Dead and a lot of people (myself included) were looking forward to seeing him die. Still, his passion and overall ability to be a badass makes him an excellent choice for Frank Castle.
The best case scenario is they intend to use the Punisher in just one season and then assess his appeal from there. If they can execute the character right, people will want to see more of him, which could mean his own series, or perhaps even a movie out of the mix. Whatever the case might be, they need to make sure he has the right presentation. Though he goes off the deep end at times, Castle is a complicated character and could certainly appeal to the audience en masse if executed properly.
Are you looking forward to seeing Jon Bernthal as the Punisher? What aspect of this character do you hope to be included?