Jon Bernthal Still Open for Return as The Punisher but with One Condition

By: John M Jerva

It’s no secret that The Punisher has been and will always be one of my all time favorite comic book characters and ever since he debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man issue #129, I’ve proceeded to soak up everything that the character has had to offer over the years. There’s just something about a brutal and unforgiving anti-hero that gets my blood pumping and I’ve enjoyed all the cinema iterations of Frank Castle as well. Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson all brought something different to the role on screen and I know that some fans have issues with one or all, I’ve grown to love every single one of them for different reasons.

This leads us to Jon Bernthal who definitely had the most fun playing Frank as he got to do it longer with the two season run on Netflix. I won’t go into how the show was unceremoniously cancelled by the streaming service along with the others but I will say that Bernthal is one of two Netflix Marvel characters I hope to see return in the MCU now that Marvel again owns the rights to them.

I’m not alone as Bernthal has been very vocal in stating that he would love to return as the gun toting vigilante and has said it in many past interviews citing his tremendous love for the character. Bernthal was at it again when he was interviewed  The Hollywood Reporter he once again stated that he would be totally open to revisiting Frank Castle and that IP held a “real, real, real, deep, deep meaning” for him.

“He’s really in my heart, man. He’s really in my bones,” Bernthal said. “I’m enormously protective of that character. I’ve said before that there’s nothing in this world more important to me than my wife and my kids, and only until you understand that kind of love and what it really means to willingly die for somebody, [do you understand] what it would be like if somebody took them from you. That’s a road and a darkness and a rage that really, really scares me and brings me to places that I’ve worked the last 20 years to get away from. So I was really grateful, respectful, and weary of the places where that role took me and the world in which I had to live in.”

Bernthal also talked about how if he were to return, there would have to be one enormous condition seeing that Marvel Studios who is owned by Disney now has the rights to the character.

“It needs to be a level of darkness,” stated Bernthal. “I think if there’s any let up on that character, you do a disservice to the character, to every iteration of the character, to every comic book that’s come before, and to all of the unbelievable fans of the character. This character means so much to people in the military. So like I said before, it’s not about whether you do the character; it’s about whether you can do it right, and I’m only interested in doing it right.”

Now we all know that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has mentioned on record that they would be open to keeping some of their properties adult oriented like Deadpool so The Punisher would without a doubt have to be one of those exceptions. There is no watered down version of Frank Castle. You either go all in or you don’t do it at all. Disney+ is family friendly so Hulu, which is also owned by Disney, would be a viable option for a new series or better yet a string of new movies. The box office performance of The Punisher has always been luke warm at best so streaming is the direct way to go. To reboot the character would be a disservice as well as I feel Bernthal has an established fan base and putting someone new into the role for the fifth time would not work out for a variety of reasons.

Jon Bernthal remains my favorite on screen version of The Punisher as he brought multiple layers to the role and was solid in the action sequences so here’s hoping that Marvel keeps him around. After all, Feige has announced that if Daredevil returns in MCU form, Charlie Cox, whom I’m all for, still owns the role so why not Bernthal. We will have to wait and see if Marvel even wants to green light another round for the vigilante. Stay Tuned….

In the meantime, check out Bernthal in action as The Punisher in some of the show’s many bloody and action drenched sequences courtesy of Keep Cool Scenes on YouTube.

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