Marvel fans are increasingly excited about the next Marvel Netflix series, The Punisher, which promises to see Frank Castle confront a mysterious conspiracy. Along the way, though, the show will explore themes and questions of morality — particularly regarding the Punisher's brutal vigilantism.
Speaking to the #Netflix Media Center, showrunner Steve Lightfoot pointed to one intriguing new character as a major female presence on the show. Amber Rose Revah is playing Homeland Security Agent Dinah Madani, a war vet who's just returned from serving in Afghanistan, and who finds herself drawn into Frank Castle's world.
Who Is Dinah Madani?
British actress Amber Rose Revah is thrilled to be playing what promises to be another complex, three-dimensional character in The Punisher. Madani is viewed as the biggest patriot in the show, an Iranian immigrant who's become a real American hero. She's proud to have served her country, but is struggling to acclimatize to civilian life.
#Marvel's Jeph Loeb Madani is "a different way of going from the typical cop who was chasing Frank." He pins the character's inspiration to Tommy Lee Jones's The Fugitive, aiming to tread a careful balance between social relevance while avoiding standing on a soapbox and preaching. It's clear Loeb wants The Punisher to be seen as a tremendously respectful assessment of the struggles faced by war vets:
"The Punisher... allowed us to do is comment on a lot of things that are going on, not the least of which is the plight of America’s servicemen. We have great respect for them and we see how challenging it is for some of them when they come home and what their lives are like. We show different ways that their lives are affected, but always have an eye towards being able to say, ‘thank you for your service’."
The series starts with Madani assigned to work at Homeland Security, partnering with Michael Nathanson's Sam Stein. At first she has her guard up, not least because she's a lot more intense a character than Stein, but the two bond over a shared belief in truth and justice. For his part, Nathanson sees Stein as "a kind of 'borscht belt' Obi-Wan Kenobi," who becomes something of a spiritual guide to Madani. He's a kind of throwback to the 70's antihero detectives, with Nathanson fondly referring to Elliott Gould in The Long Goodbye.
What Role Will Homeland Security Play In 'The Punisher'?
We can safely assume that Homeland Security will be hunting Castle down, and Revah excitedly refers to a lot of action scenes involving her character — including some car chases! Meanwhile, the Homeland Security set proved to be one of the most demanding in the series. The production team scouted the Homeland Security office in Lower Manhattan, and used that as inspiration for the set. As Production Designer Scott Murphy notes:
"I pulled together a lot of research and leaned into a look that was sterile and filled with artificial light. I think in that entire set, there’s only one window that has a view outside and that’s the one in Dinah’s office. It’s a very introverted, controlled and somewhat unfriendly set."
Agent Dinah Madani promises to be a fascinating addition to the Punisher's world, a well-developed character who shines a light on the US's treatment of war vets. Given Castle himself is a war vet who struggled to acclimatize to civilian life, there's a clear thematic parallel between Madani and the star of the show. That should make for a fascinating dynamic!