Netflix's corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe added a third series to its roster last weekend with the debut of Luke Cage season 1, which saw the return of Mike Colter's titular hero in his own adventure in Harlem. Netflix kicked off its MCU offerings early in 2015 with the debut of Daredevil, followed by Jessica Jones, then the second season of Daredevil, which additionally introduced Elektra (Élodie Yung) and Frank Castle aka The Punisher (Jon Bernthal). Shortly after Frank's debut in the MCU, Netflix and Marvel announced The Punisher spinoff series was in the works with a showrunner already in place, Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal).
After it was revealed that Bernthal would be missing part of New York Comic Con due to his Netflix filming schedule, fans began to speculate whether Frank would return before his solo series or if Marvel had begun production on The Punisher series. Now, it has been confirmed the Daredevil spinoff has begun filming in New York City, with Bernthal recently spotted sporting a beard and the all-black wardrobe of Frank Castle. Plus, the working title for the series has been revealed.
ComicBook is reporting the working title for The Punisher series is Crime - which may be too vague to offer much in the way of specific hints as to what fans can expect from Frank Castle's solo outing on Netflix. It's likely a reference to The Punisher's history; he was introduced on Daredevil as a former soldier whose family was murdered in a police sting gone wrong on three of Hell's Kitchen's local gangs. Once recovered from his own injuries, Frank went on a rampage against the gangs, earning himself the vigilante mantle of The Punisher.
However, Bernthal said shortly after Daredevil season 2 debuted on Netflix that Frank hadn't fully become the comic book hero known as The Punisher - with that presumably left as the arc for the character's solo series. Given the positive reaction to Bernthal's portrayal of Frank Castle, in addition to the popularity of The Punisher character in the comics, no matter the arc of the Netflix series, fans are sure to be excited and tune in.
That said, it remains to be seen when The Punisher series will debut on Netflix. As of now, Iron Fist is the next show set to premiere in March 2017, and The Defenders team up has also been confirmed to premiere in 2017 - presumably in the fall if it follows Netflix's Marvel release schedule of previous years. However, since The Punisher is currently filming, it may be completed in time to debut in 2017 as well - which would align with previous reports. But considering comments from Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos earlier this year, the streaming service wasn't planning to release more than two Marvel series a year, which may result in pushing The Punisher to 2018.
Still, no matter when The Punisher solo series debuts - whether in 2017 or 2018 - since the show has begun filming, we'll likely learn more in the coming weeks, including additional casting to Ben Barnes as a villain. Plus, given the working title for the show is Crime, fans can no doubt expect plenty of vigilantism in New York City - and violent action akin to that of Daredevil season 2 - during The Punisher series.
Daredevil season 1 & 2, Jessica Jones season 1, and Luke Cage season 1 are now available on Netflix. Iron Fist season 1 arrives on March 17th, 2017. The Defenders arrives in 2017. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, The Punisher and Daredevil season 3 have not yet been announced.