Marvel's The Punisher actor Jon Bernthal hopes that his first solo season on Netflix can help further the USA's gun control debate. The links between The Punisher and gun control are already sizeable, and that’s not just because Bernthal’s protagonist Frank Castle is known to be highly violent. (see also the second Punisher trailer, which is filled to the brim with brutality).
Because of Frank’s status as a symbol of gun-based violence, the relationship between The Punisher and gun control has also bled into real life. After the mass shooting in Las Vegas, The Punisher premiere date was pushed back and the show’s New York Comic-Con panel was canceled as a sign of respect for the victims.
Related: The Punisher Hallway Fight Clip
Now Bernthal himself has been moved to comment on gun control and how it relates to Netflix’s The Punisher season 1. The actor explained to USA Today that the series will explore “many different sides” of the gun control debate. He also said this, on the topic of asking questions rather than answering them, as a way of stimulating discussion:
“Art, at its absolute best, can hold a mirror to society and can make society look at and question itself. I don’t think it’s our job to answer those questions, but I do think it’s our job to make us ask the questions. If this show does that in some way, I think that’s a really positive thing.”
Bernthal is clearly hoping that the ideas and themes raised in The Punisher can stimulate discussion among viewers and progress the gun control debate at large. The actor also revealed his own reaction to the recent shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He described the shooting as “another unbelievable tragedy” committed by “this absolute disgusting coward,” before saying this:
"There’s no words for that and what I take from it is, my God, we have to start realizing there’s a serious problem here and we have to start opening dialogue on it and we have to stop being completely rigorous and steadfast in our political positions here. Start addressing the problem and start opening our hearts and minds toward each other and we’ve got to start working on this.”
It’s clear that The Punisher will remain intricately connected to the gun control debate. When the series arrives on Netflix next week, it is sure to be heavily scrutinized. However, as Bernthal says, if the show can help stimulate some intelligent discussion, that would be a “really positive thing.”
The Punisher premieres Friday, November 17 on Netflix. Premiere dates for the new seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist have not yet been announced.
Source: USA Today