Steve Lightfoot, showrunner on Marvel's The Punisher, has given a possible sneak peek at future seasons, mentioning characters that he would like to see appear on the show. The Punisher, which premiered on Netflix a week ago today, follows Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), a marine-turned-vigilante who has long been a staple of the Marvel Comics universe.
The show has already featured a handful of recurring characters from the comic book series, including Micro, a former NSA analyst, and Billy Russo, who will become Jigsaw, a villainous foil to Castle. And in a recent interview, Lightfoot threw a couple more names into the ring of characters who could join the Netflix series.
THR writes that, when asked about characters he would like to include in a second season of The Punisher, Lightfoot answered with two longstanding characters: Barracuda and Kathryn O'Brien. Barracuda, a former Green Beret, has tried to assassinate Castle in the past (leaving him to die as great white shark food, unsuccessfully); and O'Brien, an ex-CIA agent, has been an ally and romantic interest of Castle's. After mentioning Barracuda and O'Brien, Lightfoot said, "Certainly those two jump out at me initially, but there are so many great characters there. It's a very fun sandbox to play in."
The first piece of information in Lightfoot's answer, however, is that he hasn't even begun thinking about season 2. But The Punisher has only been out for a week — plenty of time to binge watch an entire season, but not that long. Introduced as a spinoff of Netflix's Daredevil, The Punisher has received middling reviews, for the most part; it currently sits with a 61 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes. With season 2 still unannounced by Netflix, The Punisher's future remains up in the air.
What's more, The Punisher and its gun-toting star have already been controversial, as the show's premiere was delayed in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting on October 1. It's easy enough to see similarities between the Las Vegas shooter and Frank Castle, two radically violent white men.
But, if a second season does materialize, characters like Barracuda and O'Brien can offer opportunities to challenge some mainstream narratives about the show and its protagonist. Barracuda, who appears to be Black, and O'Reilly, a woman, both have backstories that could prove compelling — stories of family, war, cynicism, and more. A thoughtful translation of their histories to the screen could lend the show a social nuance that complicates simplistic understandings of Castle and his agenda.
For now, at least, it's clear that even if Lightfoot hasn't thought much about season 2 — however unlikely that may be — he has an idea or two in mind that could enrich The Punisher.
The Punisher season 1 is currently available in its entirety on Netflix.