Jon Bernthal Is Officially Bringing The Punisher Back For The MCU

In 2016, following his time as Shane Walsh on The Walking Dead, Jon Bernthal scored more major comic book media cred by playing Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher, on Netflix’s Daredevil series. Bernthal went on to lead a Punisher spinoff series, and ever since Charlie Cox was recruited by Marvel Studios to reprise Matt Murdock/Daredevil in the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper, there’s been speculation about if Bernthal would do the same. Well, now it’s official: Bernthal is indeed reprising The Punisher.

Jon Bernthal will return as the gun-toting vigilante in Daredevil: Born Again, the 18-episode series that will spotlight Charlie Cox’s title Man Without Fear to Disney+ subscribers following his appearances in Spider-Man: No Way Home, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and the upcoming Echo. While no details were revealed by THR about how The Punisher will fit into Echo, he’s the third Netflix-era Marvel actor to reprise their role for a Marvel Studios project, as Vincent D’Onofrio returned as Wilson Fish/Kingpin in Hawkeye and will also be present in both Echo and Born Again.

This big news comes a little over four years after The Punisher series ended its two-season run on Netflix, and its cancellation was announced a month later. Although there were several years where it looked like Jon Bernthal and his fellow actors from this corner of the Marvel media landscape would never play the characters again, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said certain Marvel Netflix characters could come back. By the following December, both Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio were back in play, and now we can look forward to Bernthal co-starring alongside them in Daredevil: Born Again

Now that this appearance is on the books, some questions come to mind. First, how much will we see of Jon Bernthal’s Punisher in Daredevil: Born Again? Will Frank Castle be one of the main characters like Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk, or will he only make recurring appearances or simply guest-star in a few episodes? Also (and this still needs to be clarified with Daredevil and Kingpin as well), is this the exact same Punisher from the Netflix era, or it just a similar version who’s operating in the main MCU continuity? 

Perhaps most importantly of all, does Punisher’s inclusion in Born Again mean the upcoming Marvel TV show mean that it will lean more into R-rated territory than Disney+’s other Marvel series. So far, Deadpool 3 is the only Marvel Studios project confirmed to be rated R, but Punisher is a difficult character to use within PG-13 parameters. Hopefully there’ll be freedom for him to unleash bloodshed on criminals along the lines of what we saw in the original Daredevil series and the Punisher spinoff.

Daredevil: Born Again’s cast also includes Michael Gandolfini, Margarita Levieva, Sandrine Holt and Nikki L. James, though none of their characters have been identified yet. Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson reportedly aren’t expected to respectively reprise Karen Page and Foggy Nelson, but it hasn’t been clarified if those characters will be recast or if they simply won’t be win the series. Behind the scenes, Matt Corman and Chris Ord are writing and executive producing Born Again, which begins shooting in New York later this month and will drop on Disney+ in spring 2024.

Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more news about how Daredevil: Born Again is coming along, and head over to Disney+ to see Jon Bernthal’s original outings as The Punisher. You can also check out Bernthal’s recent TV appearances in We Own This City, American Gigolo (which was canceled after one season) and The Bear, the latter of which can be streamed with a Hulu subscription.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.