By: John M Jerva
Once again, to know me is to know that I’m a huge Punisher fan. I have been since I was a kid and got my hands on the first limited series comic back in the day. I was sold from the get go and since then. I have only become more a larger fan into my adulthood. The story of this tragic anti-hero grabs you and doesn’t let go and there was always a sense of satisfaction in seeing this man do to criminals as they rightfully deserved.
We all know that the gun toting vigilante has been adapted for the screen a total number of four times with action icon Dolph Lundgren first portraying the character in the cult classic 1989 film when comic book movies weren’t as cool as they are now. He was then followed by one Thomas Jane and then Ray Stevenson and even though all the films had their flaws, I still love each and every one of them for my own reasons. I loved the different interpretations of the character and felt each actor brought something different to the role.
Most recently Frank Castle was seen on television when he guest starred on season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil which starred Charlie Cox. The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal would be the one to play Castle this time around and he became such a fan favorite on the show that Netflix and Marvel green lit his own series as well. Bernthal would play Castle for two seasons and then we all know what happened as Netflix unceremoniously canceled the show just like the others which also included Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones.
This hurt as the second season ended with Bernthal’s version fully embracing his vigilante alter-ego and the last shot was of Bernthal walking up to a band of thugs who were in the middle of deal. Bernthal would then utter the now classic line,”Hey! I’ll dance with ya,” before he unloaded with his dual machine pistols. It was a glorious ending to the show if it is indeed th last time we’ll see Bernthal wear the iconic skull but it left us wanting more.
If there was a third season, it must certainly would have been epic with Bernthal really being able to get into the character and even though he was awesome in the two seasons, it was more or less an origin story. Had there been a third season, fans would have been treated to a full on Punisher and Bernthal would have crushed it just like he did for two seasons. Change my mind.
Strangely, when Marvel and Netflix struck their deal for all five shows, there was a clause that stated if any show was canceled, Marvel would have to wait two years from said date of termination to acquire the rights back for all the characters. Why Marvel agreed to this is anyone’s guess. It’s strange to think that Marvel would agree to this but I guess they were thinking things would turn out differently in the long run. Well, that didn’t happen and all these characters are in a holding pattern.
Now, the two years is coming to an end and Marvel will get Iron Fist and Luke Cage back next month followed by Daredevil and Jessica Jones shortly there after.
There is much speculation as to what will happen to these characters when Marvel gets them back and theories have ranged from the shows getting new life on Hulu or elsewhere to full blown reboots. No one but Marvel knows the future in that regard.
The Punisher will revert back to Marvel next February and many are calling for Bernthal to be brought back as Castle in some way, shape or form. Even Bernthal has admitted that he loves playing Frank and would gladly do it again but he’s a realist and thinks it will never happen. He’s made peace with it but us fans aren’t ready to say goodbye so quickly. I’m on the side to bring Bernthal back as I felt he nailed it as The Punisher and wanted to see what came next.
Now, Marvel might sit on these properties for longer to figure things out but we all certainly hope that this won’t be the case especially for Bernthal’s Punisher and Cox’s Daredevil as they were the best out of the Netflix shows. In film or series, many fans would love to see them return to their perspective properties as they really embodied the comic book characters. The ultimate would be Bernthal and Cox reuniting for a movie.
This is just my opinion and feel free to agree to disagree but I feel that Marvel should definitely bring Cox and Bernthal back and I would even love to see the others return as well but the odds are stacked against that even if Marvel knows how popular the actors are. I believe that these shows would flourish just the same on Hulu which is owned by Disney and it would be the perfect fit for them as they are more adult oriented and wouldn’t fit on Disney+. If they come back, they deserve the harder edge that they got on Netflix and it wouldn’t be the same if they were neutered down to PG-13 fare like the movies. Don’t getme wrong, I love the films but these are for adults plain and simple. There are adult oriented comic books so why can’t we have our adult oriented comic book shows as well?
If they were to totally reboot them and go a different direction, I would keep an open mind but would be disappointed that the original cast members did not return. The Punisher has been played by numerous actors so what would be one more? I love the character so much that I’ll take what I can get if it means seeing the vigilante on screen one more time. The ultimate would be to have Bernthal come back and do a full length feature film or better yet series of films and stick with the R rated themes. One can dream right?
For now, we play the waiting game and in this society where politically incorrect properties like The Punisher are in danger of becoming extinct (there have been people calling for Marvel and Disney to shelve him which is absolutely ridiculous) I feel we need him more now then ever. It’s pure escapist entertainement and I do hope that Castle makes a return sooner rather than later but it’s out of my hands unfortunately. Bernthal has earned the right to continue to wear the skull on his chest and if Marvel and Disney are smart, they will see this. Enough of fixing what isn’t broken. Give the fans what they want and give it to them as soon as possible.
As I leave you with all this to think about, check out just how great Bernthal was in the role in the videos below. One of them is an example of how awesome Jonny was on the dramatic side and the other is…well…Jonny doing what he does best and that’s punish the guilty. If you’re new to the experience then enjoy and if you’ve been here since the beginning lets all celebrate one of the most famous anti-heroes in comic book history. See ya around Frank…I’ll dance with ya.