While 2016 holds many already announced wonders for lovers of geek-friendly TV, few new or returning shows carry with them higher expectations than the upcoming second season of Marvel's Daredevil. Many were skeptical as to whether or not Marvel could transition its winning cinematic formula over to the world of streaming TV, putting the pressure squarely on the shoulders of Matt Murdock to prove the doubters wrong. Thankfully, Daredevil's debut season proved to be a huge hit with both critics and audiences, further cementing Netflix as an original programming powerhouse to be reckoned with.
Going into Daredevil season 2, perhaps the most talked about new element is the addition of Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher. Played by The Walking Dead alum Jon Bernthal, Castle is bringing his own brand of justice to The Man Without Fear's beloved Hell's Kitchen, and will not hesitate to take out anyone and everyone who stands in his way. Naturally, this take-no-prisoners style of crime-fighting doesn't sit well with the more lawfully minded Matt Murdock.
While Bernthal won't be the first actor to bring Frank Castle to life on the big screen, his performance in the role has been garnering lots of positive buzz so far, and it seems that perhaps the two biggest fans of this latest rendition of The Punisher are Marvel and Netflix themselves. In fact, TVLine reports that the two companies are so happy with Bernthal's work as Castle that a Punisher-based spinoff is already in early development. This news was later confirmed by THR.
Debuting in the comic world back in 1974, Marvel mainstay Frank Castle invented his Punisher alter ego in order to first exact revenge on the mobsters who killed his family. With them out of the picture, Castle embarked on a seemingly never-ending one-man crusade against crime - a war he wages via any means necessary. The Punisher has been portrayed on-screen by three actors to date: Dolph Lundgren in 1989, Thomas Jane in 2004, and Ray Stevenson in 2008's Punisher: War Zone. Unfortunately, Punisher fans have never been universally happy with any of these takes on Castle, although the 2004 and 2008 versions do have their share of admirers.
Should The Punisher's spinoff indeed make it to Netflix queues, it will mark the sixth Marvel series greenlit by the streaming giant, joining the aforementioned Daredevil, the not officially renewed Jessica Jones, the upcoming Luke Cage, and the still in-development Iron Fist and The Defenders. With Daredevil already having successfully resurrected its titular character from the doldrums of middling movies, and The Punisher possibly about to do the same, one wonders which mistreated Marvel hero will next get the opportunity for a Netflix rebirth. Blade, anyone?
Daredevil season 1 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Daredevil season 2 will debut on Netflix on March 18th, 2016, followed by Luke Cage season 1 later in 2016. Release dates for Iron Fist and The Defenders on Netflix have not yet been announced. We'll keep you updated on the Punisher spinoff as development continues.