The cast of Daredevil season 3 have openly discussed how the Punisher's arc has influenced their own series. The impact is particularly pronounced for Deborah Ann Woll's Karen Page, who was a major secondary character in the first season of The Punisher.
Marvel has always operated under the assumption that everything is connected to everything else. That's certainly the case for the Marvel Netflix shows; there was once a time when Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple was the only clear link between them, but now secondary characters jump from one series to another. Even franchise leads can pop up in another show for a cameo, as Finn Jones demonstrated when he effectively co-starred in one episode of Luke Cage.
Screen Rant had an opportunity to speak to the cast of Daredevil season 3 while visiting the set earlier this year, and both Charlie Cox and Deborah Ann Woll reflected on the impact of The Punisher series for their characters. Cox, for example, pointed to the thematic ties between his version of Daredevil and the Punisher.
"With this particular show it’s always been - I mean, Steven DeKnight, the showrunner of season 1 said before they had any idea that Frank Castle would come into season 2 and have his own show, Steven would talk about this is a Daredevil that’s one bad day away from being Frank Castle. And that’s something I’ve always run with, I’ve always enjoyed playing that aspect of him."
Daredevil season 3 appears to see Matt Murdock give up on playing by the rules. As the Daredevil season 3 trailer teased, he's decided it's time to "let the devil out." The last two seasons have really centered on Matt's battle with the urge to fight and even to kill; Daredevil's refusal to take a life was one of the main causes of conflict between Matt and his old mentor, Stick. But it sounds as though the death of Elektra has broken something inside Matt, and he's now willing to cross lines he'd previously considered inviolable. That leaves him in a particularly dark place, especially with both Wilson Fisk and potentially Bullseye as his enemies this season.
Meanwhile, the Punisher has had an even more pronounced impact on Woll's Karen Page. She became a close friend of Frank Castle's in Daredevil season 2, and played a major role as secondary cast in the first season of The Punisher. Woll reflected on her character's journey, and the way the Punisher has changed Karen's world.
"One of my favorite themes from that Punisher season and it’s that particularly one scene out by the water where I have to ask him like “Where does this end? At what point is your revenge over? At what point do you feel better after killing hundreds of people?” And of course the answer is never. I liked the idea that that’s a realization for me, too, an understanding that I have to find. I think in a way it made me more sensitive to the consequences of extreme action and some of that theme gets picked up between Karen and Matt once we realize he’s still around.
Karen does still have her gun. That’s an interesting thing and that’s definitely something we want to be very careful that we don’t inadvertently make some big commercial for guns and things like that, but I enjoy, especially as a female in this series, being able to have that conversation. I thought Punisher started starting to move in some of those conversations and we definitely have some ideas this year about the gun not representing safety, that Karen and anyone can be attacked whether she’s carrying or not, she can save herself whether she’s carrying or not. The gun is not the difference in that situation."
Daredevil season 3 is expected to finally shine a light upon the mysterious secrets that lie in Karen's past, mysteries that have been teased in the Marvel Netflix shows for the last three years. There's growing speculation that this will be the end of Karen's story. It's recently been confirmed that season 3 draws inspiration from the Guardian Devil plot from the comics, in which Karen was killed. That makes the fact she's not returning for The Punisher season 2 more than a little concerning for fans.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant all week for more coverage from our Daredevil season 3 set visit. Daredevil season 3 releases on Netflix on October 19.