Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for The Punisher season 2
The Punisher season 2 brought back Ben Barnes' Billy Russo as Jigsaw and embroiled Frank Castle in a conspiracy of blackmail and murder, but what should we expect from season 3 - and will there even be a season 3? The Punisher is the only Marvel/Netflix show that wasn't planned as part of the original slate of five series: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders. Instead, Jon Bernthal's Punisher was introduced in the second season of Daredevil, and proved to be so popular that he was given his own spinoff series.
Created by Steven Lightfoot, the first season of The Punisher focused on the classic story of Frank Castle getting revenge on the people responsible for the murders of his wife and two children - including his supposed friend and fellow veteran, Billy Russo. At the start of season 2, Frank is laying low with a new identity while Billy is confined to a hospital bed with his face scarred and memories fractured.
A chance encounter with teen con artist Amy (Giorgia Whigham) sets Frank on a path of violence once again, and leads to his second clash with Billy Russo, which ends in Russo's death. By the end of the season, Frank is fully-formed as the Punisher, ruthlessly taking out gang members - so what's next? At this point, not much, as every one of Netflix's Marvel shows have been canceled, including The Punisher.
Last updated: February 21, 2019
The Punisher Season 3 Isn't Happening At Netflix
Despite The Punisher season 2 being well-reviewed by critics, fewer people watched that show compared to Daredevil season 3. And so, Netflix has canceled The Punisher along with the rest of Netflix's Marvel TV shows. A specific reason wasn't given, but it's easy to deduce why Netflix doesn't want to continue their partnership with Marvel; Netflix is a global juggernaut now when it comes to original programming, and they weren't when they first agreed to produce multiple Marvel shows. And with The Punisher being expensive to produce, it just wasn't worth it anymore. After all, Netflix's Marvel shows have been losing viewers for years. So, while The Punisher season 3 isn't happening at Netflix anymore, there's a remote chance it could be revived at Hulu (or somewhere else) in the near future, after Netflix's exclusivity agreement runs out after two years.
What Punisher Season 3's Story Could've Been
Even though The Punisher has been canceled, there's plenty of story left for season 3 - if it ever happens on another network in the future. Speaking to EW, The Punisher's executive producer (and head of Marvel Television) Jeph Loeb said, "We have a whole story in mind [for season 3] that would be awesome... the guns are locked and loaded, but Netflix has the finger on the trigger." Lightfoot expanded on that, explaining:
"I left [season 2] on that final shot that was just meant to [make people go], “Wow, I can’t wait to see season 3.” That was it. That was what I want them to take away, and it’s like any show — if you’ve been in this business long enough, we’ve all worked on shows that got canceled that you wish hadn’t. I just hope we made a great show.… My philosophy is always make every season like it could be your last. Don’t save anything for next season, even if that means you’ve painted yourself into a corner."
The final shot of season 2 that Lightfoot is referring to is Frank Castle in his full Punisher garb, roaring as he dual-wields machine guns to cut down two rival gangs. It's a stark contrast to the start of the season, when Frank was living on the road under a false identity, trying to keep a low profile. It's an obvious set-up for a full season with Frank as a bona fide vigilante, no longer just seeking to carry out personal vendettas, but instead trying to clean up the streets of New York City (by making them run red with criminal blood). Amy was put on a bus to Florida at the end of season 3, and the arc of Frank trying to protect a new daughter figure reached a satisfying conclusion, so Amy would be unlikely to return. However, Dinah Madani has a new job with the CIA she even tries to recruit Frank as an assassin), so it would be interesting to explore that new chapter of her life.