When Jon Bernthal took up the role of the Punisher in season 2 of the Netflix Marvel series Daredevil, it was a slight risk on the part of the showrunners considering the overwhelmingly negative reception associated with the three movie adaptations of the comic book character. Like the character of Daredevil himself, however, Bernthal’s Punisher found critical and fan success in the show, which was enough for Netflix and Marvel to launch the spinoff series starring Bernthal titled The Punisher.
While it presumably won’t release until after the upcoming team-up miniseries, The Defenders, The Punisher has been busy filling out its cast and filming for its upcoming first season. Now Bernthal has revealed what really drew him to the Punisher in the first place, while also expressing his initial hesitance at portraying a comic book character.
Per GQ, Bernthal explained that the character of the Punisher “resonated” with him personally, and that he really had no interest in playing the character at first, at least until he found out that he wouldn’t have to wear a cape. What really drew him to the role, however, was the inherent dark nature of the world that the Punisher inhabits. Bernthal said:
“I’m working on The Punisher now. You know, this whole superhero-comic-book thing is something I had zero interest in being a part of. The guys that I really, really respect as actors seem to have kind of purposely stayed away from that. I don’t mean that I’m above that or anything, just that it was not for me. But then when I got to know a little bit about this character… He ain’t got a fucking cape. He ain’t got any superpowers. He’s a fucking tortured, angry father and husband who’s living in this unbelievable world of darkness and loss and torment. Frank Castle resonates with me.”
Considering Bernthal’s past as the character Shane on the first two seasons of The Walking Dead, it’s not really surprising that the actor would be drawn to a more dark series in the Marvel world like The Punisher. And with how well received he was in the role on Daredevil, the show is more than likely to be the first standalone Punisher adaptation in cinematic history to receive positive reception.
Still, a legitimate concern is that the Netflix Marvel universe is becoming too crowded with the addition of The Punisher series (and potentially more in the future) and it won’t be able to sustain the level of quality it has been achieving of late for the long haul. With the long-form nature of television, as well, it’ll certainly be difficult to sustain stories as well as its Marvel Cinematic Universe counterpart. However, with the vast amount of comic stories at the disposal of the showrunners, it’s certainly possible for Marvel to keep its winning streak alive for the foreseeable future.
Daredevil seasons 1 & 2, Jessica Jones season 1, and Luke Cage season 1 are available now on Netflix. Iron Fist season 1 arrives on March 17, 2017. The Defenders and The Punisher debut at some point in 2017. Premiere dates for the newest seasons of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Luke Cage have not yet been announced.