The news comes just months after Thomas Jane announced he would not be returning to the franchise, having lost faith in the production despite years of personal preparation.
In a letter posted on AICN back in May, Jane stated:
"Punisher fans are already fighting an uphill battle as it is. And I’ve always felt a responsibility to fight that fight for them and with them so that Frank Castle gets the treatment he deserves.... What I won't do is spend months of my life sweating over a movie that I just don't believe in. I’ve always loved the Marvel guys, and wish them well."
So will The Punisher 2 fail once again in the eyes of fans or will it be third time the charm? Only time will tell, of course, but - as a new fan of Rome - I can definitely vouch for the fact Stevenson knows how to switch from a sympathetic and wounded man to an aggressive killer. However, therein lies the catch. Could this typecasting simply be a sign that the studio is playing it safe to avoid any further disaster?
While I quite enjoyed the previous film, it certainly lacked the edge required by its subject matter and the continued development problems do little to offer much hope for a genuine continuation of the series. Perhaps - like next year's The Incredible Hulk - the film would do better to distance itself from the 2004 film altogether and start afresh. Again.