Yesterday, we received the very exciting information that Daredevil Season 2 would be featuring The Punisher, played by Jon Bernthal, known for the Walking Dead. While the Punisher’s rights returned to Marvel a couple years ago, there had been no previous hints that the character would grace the screen until yesterday (unless you count the Penske Truck theory).
Now that he has been confirmed for Daredevil, what implications does that have for the season, or even for the rest of the MCU? I have some thoughts to consider, but this is easily some of the biggest news of the year regarding Marvel.
FIrst off, just for a quick recap, who is the Punisher?
The Punisher – Backstory
Frank Castle was a cop in New York. One day, he brought his family to a picnic, where they saw crime in progress that they shouldn’t have seen. Frank’s entire family was killed and he barely survived. Following this encounter, he vowed vengeance on crime as a whole. He is highly trained and very lethal, using guns, unlike many heroes, to simply kill every criminal possible. He has no quarrel about killing the bad guys, which often puts him at odds with other heroes.
The Punisher was originally featured in Spider-Man comics, where he was a reoccurring almost villainous character. After the fans loved him, he got a couple of his own series, but nothing that lasted too long. Consequently, the character’s reading order is somewhat confusing, but in the end he is a long-running character beloved by fans.
On film, his story has been attempted twice. First, Thomas Jane played Punisher in the 2003 film, Punisher. It didn’t prove very popular, but it is one of my favorite comic book movies of all time, if for no other reason that it is incredibly fun to watch. Later, in an attempt by Sony to keep the rights, they released Punisher: War Zone. It earned its ‘R’ rating with a lot more blood, but it also earned a small, loyal fan following. Unfortunately for them, the film didn’t spark a sequel and the film rights reverted back to Marvel, right around the time their Avengers movies began making momentum.
Daredevil and Punisher History
In comics, Daredevil and the Punisher have crossed paths numerous times. They often pick the same targets, but Daredevil chooses not to kill, while the Punisher loads his assault rifle. There is a respect among the two, however, as they recognize they have the same goals, just by different means. At one point, they even broke out of prison together, during a wonderful story arc in Daredevil Vol 2.
The Punisher for the MCU
While it’s easy to say that the Punisher has been cast for Daredevil, it’s important to remember that it’s more than that. After a couple debacles regarding casting in the early MCU, Marvel has tried very hard to keep their actors in their rolls. This is the Punisher for Daredevil and the Defenders, yes, but he’s also the Punisher for the entire MCU. Considering that the character was more well-known than Thor before 2010, this is a massive casting move for both Jon Bernthal and the MCU as a whole.
Just as no other actor could realistically play Iron Man or even Daredevil, this is the Punisher for the MCU. This has massive implications, because this is basically Marvel’s one chance to get it right, so to speak.
Punisher cancels out Elektra and/or Bullseye?
If I had predicted which characters would be introduced in season 2 of Daredevil, I would have predicted first Elektra, then Bullseye. These two characters would complete the three big villainous names for Daredevil (Kingpin being the third). The casting of Punisher, however, makes the season just a bit crowded if these two were introduced. Daredevil season 1 went out of its way to not introduce too much, but focus primarily on Daredevil and Fisk.
Following this same formula, does the casting of Punisher mean that Daredevil Season 2 won’t feature Bullseye and Elektra? Or maybe introduce only one of them?
A good season could be written to focus on Kingpin’s retaliation efforts, as well as the Punisher’s hit list through Hell’s Kitchen. It would be an excellent followup to Season 1. If Elektra was introduced, however, it would likely be more focused on her and her relationship to Matt. This could crowd the season somewhat. Bullseye could still be introduced pretty smoothly, but Elektra is a stretch.
In short, the introduction of the Punisher makes us question what the plan is for Season 2. While it would have been very easy to flow straight into the Elektra Saga, this is somewhat stretched now, which is fine. It just makes our predictions a little rockier.
What do you think? Are you excited about the Punisher’s entrance to the MCU? Do you think he was cast well? Are you excited for Season 2? There’s still a lot to consider and surely we will know more as the season approaches, but for now, only time will tell.