While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is gearing up to launch Phase 3 with the release of Captain America: Civil War, the television side of the shared superhero universe has been continually expanding both on ABC, which has a number of series in various stages of development, and on Netflix. The streaming service officially launched its New York City universe in 2015 with Daredevil, followed later in the year by Jessica Jones. Although other series like Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders team-up are set to arrive in the coming years, Netflix has also continued to develop the shows that have already premiered.
A second season of Daredevil premiered on Netflix earlier this year, expanding the Defenders universe by introducing Marvel Comics characters Elektra (Élodie Yung) and Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher (Jon Bernthal). Now, Netflix has officially ordered a spinoff from Daredevil based around fan-favorite character, The Punisher.
Marvel and Netflix officially announced the spinoff through a teaser video (above), with Bernthal set to reprise his role as Frank Castle and Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal, Casualty) joining the project as executive producer and showrunner. Lightfoot additionally spoke about exploring the character of Frank Castle:
“For me, the complexity and unpredictability of Frank Castle make him an incredibly compelling character and I couldn’t be more excited to dive into his world. After watching Jon’s performance in ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ I could not be more excited to be working with him to further develop and progress the story of this anti-hero in a show of his own.”
This announcement arrives after rumors surfaced earlier in the year that Marvel and Netflix were working on the spinoff even before Daredevil season 2 had premiered. However, many of those involved with the Defenders universe refused to confirm the spinoff either way, and Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb later downplayed the rumors.
Now, The Punisher will be the sixth Marvel series to appear on Netflix, though the streaming service has yet to set a date as to when it will premiere. However, Marvel and Netflix have Luke Cage arriving later this year, with Iron Fist and The Defenders likely arriving in 2017 and a second season of Jessica Jones also in the works, The Punisher spinoff may not debut until 2018 - though Frank Castle could pop up in The Defenders or another of the series before then.
Or, Marvel and Netflix could rearrange this tentative schedule in order to have The Punisher debut sometime before The Defenders or Jessica Jones season 2. The studio and streaming service have kept its schedule largely under wraps, simply confirming the very next series set to premiere and only revealing release dates a few months ahead of time. So, it's likely we won't know more about when The Punisher spinoff will premiere until much closer to its release date - whenever that may be.
Still, considering the positive reaction of critics and fans to the Frank Castle character, it seems The Punisher is the best fit for a spinoff. However, this spinoff may not be the last within Marvel and Netflix's Defenders universe; Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos spoke about spinoffs in the burgeoning universe at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour earlier this year, stating, "Any character that’s in there is on the table." So, while The Punisher may be the first spinoff ordered by Marvel and Netflix, it may not be the last.
Daredevil season 1 & 2 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 will arrive on September 30th, 2016. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher spinoff on Netflix have not yet been announced.