Okay, so full disclosure, I have never been a huge fan of human characters, in the midst of superhuman settings. In comic titles where folks have superhuman powers, my favorite character tends to be one of the supers. That being said, I have a few non-powered characters that have my total respect, for their ability to keep up with the supers, and one of them is definitely the Punisher.
To that end, it was recently speculated by outlets such as Heroic Hollywood that we would soon be getting a look at Frank Castle in action on Daredevil, and maybe even his own Netflix series down the line. Folks fancasted left and right, saying that Tom Hardy ought to take up the role, or perhaps Jon Hamm, or that even Thomas Jane should take up the mantle once again for the MCU. Of all those choices, though, none truly had me sold. Ladies and gents, I present to you the actor I had hoped for all along, the actor who was chosen: Jon Bernthal.
Not some silly rumor, some speculation, some word of hearsay from a shady, nameless source: the confirmation is right here, straight from the horse's mouth (and by the horse, I mean Marvel). For any fans and/or critics out there wondering why, take a good hard look at his role in the references that Marvel makes in terms of their actor choice (“Wolf of Wall Street,” “The Walking Dead, ” “Fury”)
And then take a look at the synopsis they provide for the character:
Bernthal will portray The Punisher, one of Marvel’s most popular characters. He is a vigilante who aims to clean up New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen by any means necessary, no matter how lethal the results.
The choice seems pretty clear cut to me.
Now, bear in mind, this is not the announcement of a solo Punisher Netflix series, nor is it the promise of yet another Punisher movie, with a Marvel Studios spin. This is simply the announcement that the Punisher will appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, via Daredevil's Season 2.
Still, this is so much more than many diehard Punisher fans out there expected. With the so-called Disney-fication of Marvel's core material, they feared that hardcore characters such as the Punisher would simply be put into a corner and written off as 'not workable'. Or worse, they worried that the Punisher would be brought in, and then watered down to a safe and comfortable PG-13, to appease parents who wanted to protect their kids from the Punisher's trademark violence.
After watching Daredevil Season 1, I think it's pretty safe to say that the Punisher is still very much in good hands. Of course, Daredevil went for, as showrunner Stephen DeKnight put it, a hard PG-13 rating, but if anything, it's shown just how lenient a PG-13 rating really can be. There is still room for the violence, profanity, sexuality and more that true Punisher diehards expect of the series.
Granted, I'm not a diehard fan, and I don't know his series like gospel, but I have a good feeling that the showrunners know just the pressure they're up against, from the company and the fans. They know his story, and they know just how far Disney and Marvel Studios are willing to let them go. And most importantly, the showrunners are most likely huge fans, who want to see Frank Castle make more appearances in the MCU (such as in Captain America: Civil War), like we do.
Overall, I'm very excited to see what they make of it. What about you? Do you agree with me, in my optimism for the Punisher's appearance in the MCU? Has he got hope for his own series and other cameos? Or, am I hoping for a bit too much? Does the Punisher's permanent presence in the MCU seem like a little bit of a stretch? Let us know in the poll and comments below!