Netflix has recently confirmed that it has commissioned The Punisher as a standalone, spin-off TV series following the success of the character in Daredevil Series 2, which arrived in March 2016. It’s still early days for the recently announced show, so there will be a lot more details to come over the coming year or so, but if the debut of Jon Bernthal (Fury) as Frank Castle / The Punisher is anything to go by, we should be in for another hard-hitting outing from Marvel on Netflix.
The release date is TBC at the moment, but with the commission confirmed in 2016, it was looking likely to be at least 2017 before it arrived on Netflix. However, with Marvel’s The Defenders being the big release in 2017, it’s probably going to be a 2018 release now.
Equally, there’s no word on the plot for the series, but if the comic books are anything to go by, there will be soul searching, gun battles and enemies aplenty for The Punisher to face. The arrival of a new video for Marvel’s The Defenders in July 2017 featuring Bernthal as The Punisher for a short scene in his new skull emblazoned costume, so clearly he’s going to have fully embraced his persona by the time the TV series comes around. It also added weight to the prospect of a cameo appearance for Castle in The Defenders, which should then lead on well to his own show.
The Punisher’s cameo in Marvel’s The Defenders video:
One of the big questions for the series is, who will be the bad guy for The Punisher. In the comics he’s faced every organised crime association under the sun, along with villains like The Jigsaw, Jackal, Bushwacker and Bullseye, so there’s a lot of scope for any of them to be a part of the opening series. Equally, it could well be Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk that becomes the new target in Frank Castle’s sights, with their clashes in Daredevil being left unresolved.
Jon Bernthal will be back in the lead role as the relentless vigilante with questionable methods. The military-trained munitions expert rampaged through New York City in a bid to avenge the death of his wife and young daughter in Daredevil Series 2, but went on to find a little salvation in helping Daredevil defeat The Hand. It’ll be interesting to see how his character is developed for the spin-off TV series, and you can count on there being just as much anti-hero blurred lines in his next big outing on Netflix.
In addition to the confirmation of the standalone show and Bernthal’s return to the role, Marvel has also confirmed that Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal) will be the executive producer and showrunner for the series. He’s also down to pen the first two episodes, so we should see a continuation of the grittier side of Marvel comics, which doesn’t feature quite so prominently in the Cinematic Universe.
The show will continue the impressive collaboration between Marvel Television and Netflix, with the previous success of both the first and second series of Daredevil and the introduction of Jessica Jones in 2015. The Punisher will be a big crowd pleaser, taking the intensity up a notch with such a dark character as its focal point, so if you thought DD or JJ were punchy, you should probably brace yourself for a full-on assault with the big P.