Jon Bernthal's Punisher was a smash hit in Daredevil Season 2, so it was no surprise when Marvel announced he'd be starring in his own #MarvelNetflix series! Rumors have been building that The Punisher will air as soon as 2017, and now that's looking to be a certainty. Yesterday, we learned that the show has begun filming!
What Do We Know So Far?
Marvel and Netflix have been keeping quiet about The Punisher, which will continue Frank Castle's dark and turbulent tale. Daredevil Season 2 saw him launch a war on crime in Hell's Kitchen; one that shook the city of New York, and was still being talked about by politicians a year later in Luke Cage. Broken out of prison, he resumed his campaign of brutal vigilantism, and even played a minor but important role in the final episode of Daredevil.
Steve Lightfoot, a British writer and producer best known for NBC's Hannibal, is the showrunner. In early interviews for Daredevil Season 2, Bernthal explained that the character we've seen is yet to become the Punisher. Daredevil Season 2 was essentially an origin story, and now the Punisher will truly open the pages of his War Journal.
Casting has been pretty quiet. MCU Exchange reported that casting was underway for the Punisher's sidekick Microchip, while TVLine has reported that Ben Barnes is playing an unknown role. Finally, Just Jared released shots from the set of The Punisher showing Bernthal back in character. He's sporting a beard, likely as part of an attempt to change his appearance so he can evade the police.
When Will The Punisher Air?
We've not been given a definite release date, and we should be wary of phrases like "Coming Soon"; the Daredevil Season 3 teases announced that the series was "Coming Soon", and it's now expected to air in 2018! Back in September, Netflix loaded a synopsis for The Punisher into their app; they typically do that about a year before a show is released.
Taking all this into account, fans were already expecting filming on The Punisher to begin soon. Screen Geek reported that it would begin filming under the code-name "BULLET TIME", while New York Comic Con hinted that Bernthal's appearance later this week would be shortened due to filming.
Now that filming's officially begun, we can be confident that The Punisher will air next year. This will make it the third Marvel Netflix show to release in 2017, as both Iron Fist and The Defenders have been confirmed for next year (it's believed that Netflix's contract with Marvel requires The Defenders to air by the end of 2017).
That's a remarkable change for Netflix. In July 2015, Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Variety that Netflix planned to only release two Marvel shows a year.
“I think ideally there will be a rhythm of about every six months you’ll get a new season or a new series from the Defenders group. And then they’ll crossover into a combined [Defenders] season once we’ve launched the first season of each of the four characters.”
It's possible that Netflix has changed strategy as a result of the remarkable success of Marvel Netflix to date - Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have all been massive hits.
It's also possible, though, that The Punisher doesn't count as part of what Sarandos called the "Defenders group". After all, this series wasn't part of the original contract between Marvel and Netflix, suggesting either the contract changed, or a new one was negotiated that just covered The Punisher.
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Whatever the truth may be, the fact that The Punisher has started filming is tremendously exciting for Marvel fans. Next year already features some blockbuster hits that we've been eagerly awaiting — Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Now, it looks certain we're in for a triple dose of Marvel Netflix shows as well!
Which Marvel Netflix series are you most excited for?