The last few days have been less than brilliant for fans of live-action Marvel Comics adaptations, with word that Jason Statham was in the running to join Marvel’s Daredevil series as famous villain Bullseye – before he was rumored to drop out just as quickly. But as Marvel taketh away, it seems they’re all too happy to giveth, as well.
Today it was officially announced that Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, Fury) will be joining the Netflix series as Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher, making him the first actor to (officially) portray the classic vigilante since Tom Jane and Ray Stevenson’s performances in The Punisher (2004) and Punisher: War Zone (2008), respectively.
The word comes direct from Marvel themselves, offering a brief character description teasing Castle’s arrival in Hell’s Kitchen – and a commitment to his usual… direct methods:
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.
Marvel’s Head of Television, Jeph Loeb, also offered praise for Bernthal in the role, as well as a brief tease of the impacts it may have on the established cast, primarily Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox):
“Jon Bernthal brings an unmatched intensity to every role he takes on, with a potent blend of power, motivation and vulnerability that will connect with audiences… Castle’s appearance will bring dramatic changes to the world of Matt Murdock and nothing will be the same.”
Few would disagree that Bernthal has earned his stripes dramatically, bursting onto the scene with his portrayal of The Walking Dead‘s ‘Shane Walsh,’ before catapulting to roles in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, David Ayer’s Fury, and Mob City, to name just a few. Having proven his dramatic chops, Bernthal has been rumored for a handful of high-profile roles in the comic book sphere – with his name cropping up in a few fan discussions about a new Punisher, as well.
Thanks for the love yall. Let's get it. Honored. pic.twitter.com/ZQ4xNfocHH— Jon Bernthal (@jonnybernthal) June 9, 2015
Bernthal cast as Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher will most certainly raise fewer eyebrows than most comic book adaptations tend to, considering he’s best known for playing a violent, aggressive, and morally questionable leader. Even so, there are sure to be some who take this news as bittersweet, given Tom Jane’s original performance, and the beloved unofficial Punisher short film “Dirty Laundry.” Hopes and nostalgia aside, it’s clear that Bernthal is a strong fit for Marvel’s Netflix roster – and Daredevil in particular.
By the same token, fans may be disappointed to see The Punisher slotted into the realm of Marvel’s Television world, as opposed to the studio’s movie universe. It’s becoming clear that the plan for Netflix shows like Daredevil, AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist is a bit more ambitious than Marvel is currently letting on – but their future in the MCU (and on the big screen) remains completely unclear. Whatever the case, Bernthal will only add to the fan sentiment that the two entities should start to share resources – and fast.
We’ll bring you more details as they arrive, but for now, what do you think of Marvel’s casting decision? Is Bernthal the right kind of ‘man of action’ needed to do Frank Castle and his murderous mission justice? Or are you too excited to see that The Punisher WILL be joining Marvel” Netflix slate to care who plays him?
Daredevil is currently available on Netflix. AKA Jessica Jones premieres this fall, followed by Luke Cage and Daredevil season 2 in 2016.