The Punisher star Jon Bernthal says the upcoming series will have very few connections to Marvel Netflix shows that preceded it. Now that The Defenders has finally brought together the titular superheroes from Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, fans are started to get pumped up for the debut of The Punisher solo series following the character's blistering debut in Daredevil season 2.
Since Daredevil kicked the sprawling Defenders storyline in 2015, it's been fascinating for fans to see just how the creators behind each of the series have weaved characters in and out of shows – whether it be the recurring presence of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson, who has appeared in every Marvel Netflix series to date), or merely off-the-cuff references to the show's principal characters.
After each establishing their own narrative in their respective solo series (Daredevil was given the luxury of having two seasons to build the story of Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock), The Defenders finally confronted the criminal underworld of the Hand, yet Frank Castle (Bernthal), aka The Punisher, was nowhere to be found.
And while The Punisher was a key character in the second season of Daredevil, Bernthal has just dropped the surprising revelation that the show won't necessarily be part of the connective tissue that holds The Defenders together, but rather is off doing his own thing.
Answering a question from a fan on EW, Bernthal explained why The Punisher is for all intents and purposes, going solo. The actor explains the reasoning:
"We are stripping down every supernatural element. This show is different. It looks different. Frank is a character rooted in the most basic human emotions … He’s a comic-book character, but he doesn’t fly, he doesn’t have X-ray vision. He’s an unbelievably skilled soldier who’s been very, very angry and very, very hurt. In other words: The Punisher’s story will feature zero ninjas, zero members of the Hand, and definitely zero dragons."
For one, it makes sense that there's no Defenders involvement since for at least a portion of the series, The Punisher's story will go back to Castle's military days in flashbacks, long before he encountered the Devil of Hell's Kitchen.
As for stripping the supernatural elements, anyone familiar with The Punisher shouldn't be surprised with that reveal since the character doesn't have superpowers. So, if it's the show's goal to differentiate itself from those that do have superhuman abilities, it makes sense that Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand, aka The Iron Fist (Finn Jones), wouldn't be included.
That's no much the case with Daredevil though, since his "powers," so to speak, were an acquired skill. At the very least, Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) will be a recurring character, so there's at least one Daredevil connection that makes sense in the scope of The Punisher's real-world view.
As for Matt Murdock himself turning up, fans shouldn't be holding their collective breaths. Given the uncertain fate of Matt at the end of The Defenders (at least to the other team members and those close to him), it would seem odd for the character to re-emerge in a show that wouldn't involve his counterparts.
Of course, there are secrets no doubt buried in the episodes of The Punisher that fans won't find out until the show drops (it's expected sometime later this year), so it could be that Bernthal's answer could be a misdirect in some sort of way to avoid revealing any spoilers. If that's not the case, at the very least Claire could re-emerge to keep her Marvel Netflix streak alive, or best case scenario, it could introduce fans to yet another superhero from the Marvel Universe.
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