During the Thor/Captain America panel of Comic-Con 2010, Marvel Studios President of Production confirmed that they had reacquired the film rights to the Punisher franchise. It was later re-confirmed that Marvel had both Punisher and Blade back and were interested in bringing them back in the screen, but there's still been nothing on the film front from either franchise since 2008's Punisher: War Zone.
While Marvel Studios isn't officially developing any Punisher feature films, the character has returned with a new (unofficial) live-action short film starring someone who's officially played the character of Frank Castle in one of the three films.
On the evening of Saturday, July 14, 2012, actor Thomas Jane and comic book artist Tim Bradstreet hosted their own panel to talk about their comic book related projects, but the highlight of the presentation was something no one saw coming: a Punisher short film made by them, starring Thomas Jane and Ron Perlman. Below is the official panel description.
RAW Studios: Past, Present, and Future— Thomas Jane (The Punisher 2004), and Tim Bradstreet (The Punisher Max), take you through the paces on their old and new projects. Topics include the Dark Country GN and the upcoming new books The Lycan and Alien Worlds. Guest panelists James Daly (Bad Planet), and Greg Staples (Bad Planet V2) join the fray. Also video and news on RAW's upcoming feature film western, A Magnificent Death from a Shattered Hand. Plus a major video game announcement AND a very special surprise for friends of Frank! Talk with Q&A, moderated by Jane and Bradstreet.
The special surprise was the called "Dirty Laundry," a film that brings Jane back into the shoes of Frank Castle for the first time in eight years (since playing the character in 2004's Punisher), a man who lost it all and decided to use his unique skillset to punish evildoers. It's brutally violent and entirely in line with the character. The reveal of the Punisher logo (the new design by Bradstreet) on the shirt at the end was very effective.
Bradstreet's done many comic covers for the Punisher books and worked on posters for both Jane's Punisher movie and War Zone. He also served as a concept art on Blade II.
After Ray Stevenson's portrayal of the character in Lexi Alexander's Punisher: War Zone failed miserably among critics and at the box office, Lionsgate gave up on the franchise and Marvel got the property back.
The timing of Jane's fan film is interesting since Marvel Studios is proceeding with 'Phase Two' of their franchise, beginning with Iron Man 3, followed by Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. With Ant-Man coming as well, where does that leave The Punisher? And could Jane play Frank Castle again?
Keep an eye on the Screen Rant Comic-Con 2012 page for all the convention news.
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