Though he doesn't make an appearance in Netflix's The Defenders, Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher (Jon Bernthal), loomed large over the second season of Daredevil. His quest to find the people who murdered his family and get revenge on those who either had a hand in it or could've stopped it but did nothing was ultimately successful, even if it took him one trip to jail and an encounter with Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) to get all the information he needed. His relationship with Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) couldn't pull him back from the edge of revenge, and the last time we see him in the show, he's blowing up his old house and all the memories that came with it.
What's next for Castle, now that he's succeeded in getting his revenge? That's a question that will be answered by the upcoming Punisher TV series debuting on Netflix later this year. Castle will be working with old friends, including Ben Barnes's former military man and Woll's Karen Page, and against new foes. Very little is known about the plot of the series other than it will follow Castle on yet another rampage, though his targets remain unknown.
Netflix is finally gearing up to market the show, with a teaser trailer serving as the Easter Egg at the end of The Defenders's credits. The majority of the teaser is of Castle slamming a hammer into a concrete floor over and over, interspersed with small clips from the upcoming show. We don't get a glimpse at any major players outside of Castle — everything is centered around him and mystery figures. Castle also provides the voiceover for the trailer, talking about all the things he's done and how the past is the "devil you've sold your soul to."
The past certainly looks like it will come into play in the series. We get a glimpse of someone smashing a photo of a military team, a shot of Castle looking at a photo of his family, and a shot of Castle and his two kids on a ferry together. We also get a more brutal shot of Castle lunging for someone while in military gear — it's likely this is a flashback to his time serving before he came home and became the Punisher. With Barnes playing a figure from Castle's past, it's likely that this series will center on things that Castle has done coming back to haunt him and give him a new mission.
We're also promised plenty of brutality in the trailer, with multiple action shots. Things are on fire, people are getting shot (sometimes at point blank range), and the very act of smashing the concrete as Castle roars is violent. The show is not going to pull punches and make Castle out to be less than incredibly vicious and brutal. Which is good news for fans of the comics. After all, Castle is hardly a snuggly and soft character there. This will be a faithful adaptation of his character.
The final shot of the teaser is of Castle's work on the concrete floor. He's smashed his iconic skull logo into the ground. Will this mean that he'll don a more comic close costume at some point in the show? The logo did make an appearance briefly in Daredevil, but Castle has yet to don a costume in the same way other heroes have. His solo run could see him take on a more consistent uniform, which would be slightly fan-service-y but also a fun treat for diehard fans.
What does it all mean? It's hard to say at this point in time. Like most Marvel projects, it's shrouded in secrecy. We do know though that it won't be all blood and violence all the time. Barnes, in an interview, did say that the series was about men dealing with trauma. It's likely that Castle's traumatic past will continue to shape him and audiences will see him either grow or regress as he processes the multitudes of trauma he's been through throughout both Daredevil season two and beyond. The emotional aspect will help ground the show and keep it realistic.
Now that Defenders has hit wide release, it's up to Marvel and Netflix to start selling Punisher so it will be more like Daredevil and less like Iron Fist. Bernthal, ever the supporting man and never the lead, received raves for his work as Castle, and it'll be refreshing to see him leading his own show. Even though it revealed little, the teaser is enough to start generating hype for the coming series, which will be part of Netflix and Marvel's Phase Two, and could eventually lead to Castle joining the Defenders at some point for their next big adventure.
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