Marvel and Netflix’s upcoming series The Punisher will be about “men suffering tragedy and trauma.” The show, following on from Jon Bernthal’s Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Daredevil season 2, is expected to delve even deeper into Frank Castle’s motivations, murky morals, and mental state.
The Punisher is unique among Netflix’s Marvel heroes, not just because he’s bloody and brutal, but also in the sense that he won’t be appearing in the streaming service’s epic crossover event Defenders. Frank is too much of a loner and a loose cannon to have a role in a bantering team-up, which in turn means that his own series has space to tackle heavy themes that others probably couldn’t. The Punisher, in turn, has been described as a Marvel/Netflix series that takes "a different approach".
Joining Bernthal in The Punisher’s solo show is Ben Barnes (Westworld), playing Billy Russo, a friend of Frank from his Special Forces years, who now runs a military offshoot named Anvil. Speaking to Da Man, Barnes has now teased that the first standalone season for Marvel’s brooding vigilante The Punisher will explore some heavy emotional issues and dramatic territory:
“I was really pleased at the grounded, tough approach to the material. Our show is about men suffering tragedy and trauma; it’s about a very real topic set in a world of superheroes—but no character in our show has superpowers and that makes it feel unique in this universe.”
This sounds like a strong approach for The Punisher. The character’s arrival in Daredevil sparked an interesting moral contrast between Charlie Cox’s man of faith Matt Murdock and Bernthal’s one-man revenge rampage Frank Castle. It makes sense that Frank’s own series will continue to tackle hefty topics and deep emotional material.
However, crafting a character to play opposite Frank’s brooding and bloodletting was no easy task for Barnes. “When a character is compelling and violent and charismatic like that,” Barnes explained, “the challenge is to find the qualities that will balance him out or complement him."
Exactly how Billy will complement Frank remains to be seen. Being a veteran, he’s surely lived through a fair few traumatic experiences of his own. Perhaps, Billy fought through those horrible memories to earn professional progression and lucrative contracts, while Frank dwelled on the past to the point that it consumed him completely.
Photos from the set of The Punisher have shown a down and out Frank, suggesting that - although he got quite a lot of revenge in Daredevil - this amoral antihero still isn’t in a good place. Other shots show Frank carrying flowers, presumably to the graves of his family.
The Defenders premieres August 18 on Netflix, followed by The Punisher season 1 sometime this fall. Premiere dates for the new seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist have yet to be announced.
Source: Da Man