After Jon Bernthal Confirmed Punisher Return, Daredevil: Born Again's First Casting Change-Up Has Been Revealed

Frank Castle with face cut up in The Punisher
(Image credit: Disney+)

It’s almost hard to remember those days of yore when Marvel fans were still in anguish wondering if Netflix’s Daredevil and other characters would ever be utilized within the MCU proper. Not only is Charlie Cox’s Man Without Fear well on his way to returning once more for the standalone series Daredevil: Born Again, but Jon Bernthal himself confirmed his beloved take on Frank Castle will also be back in Punisher mode for Disney+. The latest behind-the-scenes update involves another familiar character’s return, but it will mark the first major recasting for any of the Defenders shows’ actors.

With production on the 18-episode season raring to go in New York City, Daredevil: Born Again is filling out its cast that will appear alongside Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk. Speaking of the latter, the new superhero series will predictably feature the behemoth villain’s most significant other, Vanessa Fisk, but it won’t be Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer reprising the role she played across all three seasons of the Marvel Television series. Instead, according to THR, fans can look forward to seeing Homeland and The Expanse vet Sandrine Holt taking over.

Cheryl Hamlin in Better Call Saul

(Image credit: AMC)

It’s unclear what the reasoning is behind the recasting, or even if there is a specific factor. Ayelet Zurer was previously tapped to reprise the role of Maite Voss for the second season of AMC+’s Moonhaven, but AMC Studios pulled the plug on the horror drama despite the Season 2 order having been made official. It’s possible that the role of Vanessa needed to be cast at a point when Moonhaven was still thought to be moving forward.

Whatever the reason for the recasting, this obviously opens up new avenues of questions for how things could be handled on Daredevil: Born Again. Perhaps the producers may have been a bit more skittish about bringing new actors into established Marvel roles, and breaking the ice with Vanessa Fisk will allow more confidence to do the same with other characters whose O.G. actors can’t return. It would suck to just not see Foggy in the new series simply because actor Elden Hensen isn’t available. That argument doesn’t track for The Punisher, because there can only be Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, but I’m not so beholden to everyone else, logistically speaking. I just want Daredevil back in his own show after his sidestep into more humorous waters for She-Hulk

And I can't wait to see what's next for Vanessa Fisk with some new energy. Sandrine Holt, who got her acting start in Friday the 13th: The Series — a fact I have to state since that show still rules — hasn’t been a part of any high-profile DC or MCU projects in recent years, but definitely has experience within the world of comic-related TV, having appeared in Witchblade, Mutant X, Fear the Walking Dead, and The Phantom. That said, she’s arguably best known for her work on shows such as House of Cards, MacGyver, Homeland and The Expanse. In 2022, she actually co-starred with Bernthal in Showtime's American Gigolo, while also appearing in episodes of Better Call Saul and Mayor of Kingstown

Bernthal isn't the only past co-star she'll potentially share the screen with for those with Disney+ subscriptions. Mayor of Kingstown's Michael Gaston is also part of the cast list for Born Again, as is Michael Gandolfini and Margarita Levieva. It's a bit strange that the news about Holt's casting wasn't a more prominent report, all things considered. 

But that report did note that Homeland and Dexter's pilot director Michael Cuesta will be handling the first episode of Daredevil: Born Again.  And Charlie Cox has talked about wanting to take the action up a notch for Daredevil: Born Again, by way of using some CGI magic to aid in the gymnastics and above-normal agility the character is known for. So it's likely up to Cuesta to set the tone for just how high-flying and foot-fisted this show will get. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.