There have been several screen renditions of The Punisher over the years, but arguably the best received portrayal of Frank Castle so far has been that of The Walking Dead veteran Jon Bernthal. Introduced during season 2 of Netflix's Daredevil series, Bernthal's Punisher quickly made a lasting impact on the TV side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thus, it wasn't really much of a surprise when Netflix granted a season order to a Bernthal-fronted Punisher solo series back in April.
Reports have conflicted about when exactly Netflix's Punisher series will debut, with executives for the streaming giant publicly hinting at a 2018 premiere in July, before quickly being contradicted by a seemingly credible report a few weeks later that suggested the show would instead arrive in 2017. Unfortunately, today brings with it a piece of news unlikely to clear up any of the mounting confusion surrounding when Frank Castle's solo crusade will begin.
According to a recent tweet by New York Comic -Con's official account, "Due to his Netflix production schedule" Bernthal will be unable to participate in the entire convention as previously advertised, and will only be available to meet and greet with fans on Saturday and Sunday. The original tweet is included below.
— New York Comic Con (@NY_Comic_Con) September 21, 2016
Naturally, this raises multiple questions about the near future of Bernthal's Punisher. The first is whether Frank Castle will return to Netflix's Marvel world prior to the debut of his own series. NYCC begins on October 6, just over a week from now. The streaming Marvel show known to currently be in production is Iron Fist, with The Defenders miniseries previously stated to begin filming not too long after Fist wraps. Thus, one wonders whether The Punisher will soon find himself crossing paths with Danny Rand, or making his presence felt during the first ever team-up involving Netflix's street level Marvel heroes.
Of course, another possibility - albeit a less likely one - is that Marvel and Netflix are about to secretly begin production on The Punisher solo series itself, and that the previous report of it debuting in 2017 instead of 2018 was indeed accurate. If that did end up being the case, Punisher would presumably premiere after both Iron Fist and Defenders have already been made available to stream, marking the first time Marvel has released three new Netflix seasons in the same calendar year.
Whichever of the above theories ends up being correct, one thing seems for sure: things are about to get pretty interesting for fans of Bernthal's take on The Punisher.
Daredevil season 1 & 2 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 will arrive on September 30th, 2016. The Defenders and Iron Fist arrive in 2017. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, The Punisher and Daredevil season 3 have not yet been announced.