After years of hinting, The Punisher will finally enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has officially been confirmed for Daredevil season 2, ready to team up with the blind hero against Kingpin (read more here). But is this enough? With hints in Iron Man 3 and [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973), fans felt certain that Marvel would go dark and give the Punisher his own film, which would no doubt have a similar feel to DC's Watchmen and the upcoming Suicide Squad, as the anti hero is known for his brutal tactics. Instead, the Punisher will be a guest star in another hero's show. For those who have been dissecting Easter eggs for years, this is disappointing. So in case you missed them, here's a breakdown of all the ways Marvel have teased us about the Punisher's role in the MCU...
Captain America 2
Probably the most well known hint was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Remember Fury's epic car chase, as Hydra tried to take the Shield bossman out once and for all? Yeah, it was pretty great. But while we were swept up in the action, Marvel slipped in a subtle hint that the Punisher was on the scene... and he was ready to give Fury a helping hand.
For those of you unaware, that's the Punisher's iconic yellow truck. And we know he's not afraid of making a mess when it comes to helping out an ally. In the comics, Nick Fury and Frank Castle (Punisher) have had a difficult history, as Castle originally believed Fury to be responsible for his parents' death. Eventually they become uneasy, but firm allies. Could the MCU Punisher have crossed paths with Director Fury in a similar way? What debt could the Punisher be repaying when he helped save Fury's life?
Iron Man 3
In their tradition of one-shots, Marvel created a 15 minute film for the Iron Man 3 blu ray release. In the style of a documentary, the short film caught up with the Mandarin as he spent some time in jail. And while they wandered the corridors, who popped up but the Maggia crime syndicate, the mafia mob responsible for killing the Punisher's parents and setting him on his vigilante mission.
Did you catch the name? That's Guido Carboni and Luis Allegre, nefarious members of the syndicate. Was the Punisher responsible for putting them behind bars? And was Director Fury involved in their arrest?
Yup, there's even a hint in Daredevil season 1!
The name on that truck is Atreus Plastics, a corporation that made an appearance in Marvel comics when the Punisher and Daredevil had their first showdown. The company also has ties to the Punisher, as he has used it as a cover for his vigilante antics before. Why would the creators of the show bother to make up an entire van like a fictitious company, unless they were trying to hint at something?
Punisher vs Daredevil: War Zone
John Bernthal, who will be portraying the Punisher in Daredevil season 2, has recently revealed some reading materials he is using to cram for the role. Could this be the plot for Daredevil season 2?
War Zone was a 41 issue comic series that ran from 1992-1995, and is one of Frank Castle's most popular storylines.
The comic sees the Punisher up against The Avengers, after butting heads with Spider-Man over using a web shooter to kill a criminal. Of course, it's unlikely we'll see the MCU Avengers pop up in season two of Daredevil: it would be super cool but would also interrupt the grounded nature of the show. We could well see a similar story play out, with the Punisher killing someone in Hell's Kitchen, and attracting the lawyer's attention. In fact, Rosario Dawson has already hinted that this may be a focal point for season 2, as the Punisher will act as a foil to Matt...
"Matt Murdock almost behaves like the Punisher in the first season. He crosses the line quite often, so it’s going to be really interesting to see how they differentiate them and where that goes."
Clearly the writers are already planning a complex plot that will use the Punisher for Matt's development, forcing him to confront the lines between hero and vigilante.
After a subtly build up to the Punisher's appearance, it's a shame that Frank Castle won't get his own film. But with Daredevil Netflix have created a gritty, dark show that is the perfect contrast to the spectacular Avengers movies. Without network restrictions, we get to see a lot more violence and bad language and let's face it, that's perfect for the Punisher. While Netflix are focussing on their Defenders characters, a Punisher TV show has been discussed and may well be in the pipeline. For now, we can't wait to see the Punisher and his tough brand of justice in Daredevil season 2 next year!