Marvel has made the decision to pull The Punisher panel from New York Comic Con in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting. Fans of Marvel's anti-hero have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of any information they can get for Jon Bernthal's spinoff series. Since it was announced, it has been high on many's must watch lists, yet the amount of details that have come out have remained slim. It has only been recently that a full trailer arrived just before New York Comic Con - where many expected the next Marvel/Netflix show to have a major presence.
As sometimes happens in the entertainment industry, real life events and the conversations they bring up unintentionally cross paths with a show or movie. In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas this week that killed at least 58 people and left an additional 500 injured, Marvel has pulled their gun-heavy show from NYCC.
Deadline revealed this decision on the even of the first day of New York Comic Con. Given the content of the show and ideas that Frank Castle personifies, Marvel and Netflix made the decision to keep Punisher out of the spotlight even more and pay respect to the terrible real life incident that happened in Las Vegas and affected the lives of countless individuals. Netflix and Marvel released a joint statement:
We are stunned and saddened by this week’s senseless act in Las Vegas. After careful consideration, Netflix and Marvel have decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for Marvel’s The Punisher to participate in New York Comic Con. Our thoughts continue to be with the victims and those affected by this tragedy.
While those set to attend NYCC in the coming days that were looking forward to this panel may be initially disappointed, this is undoubtedly the right move to make. Putting Punisher on such a big stage while the aftermath of this shooting is still taking place would have been a senseless move on the part of Marvel and Netflix. Since Punisher is a vigilante and supporter of the Second Amendment, touting a one man army at a time like this would have been tactless.
Even with the panel now cancelled and Punisher's biggest stage being taken away, the simple act of cancelling the panel may not be enough to escape some increased levels of scrutiny for the show. If Marvel was planning on a surprise launch for The Punisher in the coming weeks, it will not likely escape the continued conversations that a mass shooting like the one that happened in Las Vegas bring up.
Hopefully, the story that The Punisher will tell can add some levels of motivation and understanding for why Castle does what he does. Marvel's Netflix series have not veered away from hot button topics in the past (see how Luke Cage addressed police brutality), and have handled those topics with care and an approach to further the conversation. Should Punisher do the same and address the issues that Frank can personify, then it could prove to be more timely than ever.
The Punisher premieres sometime later this year. Premiere dates for the new seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist have yet to be announced.