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Rosario Dawson Walks Back Marvel Rumor She Leaked, But Is It Misdirection?

Jon Bernthal as Punisher
(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Netflix)

Marvel actors need to be cautious every single time they speak. Especially when it’s on stage at a geek event, where the wildfire triggered by a fresh Marvel rumor is ready to rage unchecked, in hopes that facts can be confirmed later. That’s what happened over the weekend when Rosario Dawson, speaking at C2E2 in Chicago, told an audience that she’d heard Jon Bernthal was confirmed to return to his menacing Marvel role as The Punisher (instead of having the character retire)… only to now take to social media and explain that she got fed bad intel, and this announcement may not actually be true.

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This is what Rosario Dawson tweeted after her “confirmation” regarding the return of Jon Bernthal to the Punisher role spread around the pop-culture corner of the Internet with gusto. Granted, Dawson seemed confident when she said that “The Punisher is happening again.” And she was couching it as part of a discussion of wanting to be part of the potential project, because The Punisher was the lone Marvel-Netflix series that Dawson’s character, Claire Temple, didn’t show up in. The Ashoka actress was sending out positive vibes, hoping to get Temple a part in the show.

Only, the show might not be happening, according to Dawson’s latest Tweet. Or, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige got to Dawson, and encouraged her to walk back her comments so that news about the future of Frank Castle (possibly played again by Jon Bernthal) could be announced at D23 in September, as part of the confirmation of Marvel’s Phase 6.

Fans were willing to believe the potential news that Jon Bernthal’s Punisher could resurface, this time as part of the MCU, because his colleagues in the Daredevil universe are finding their way into ongoing Marvel Studios series… seemingly supporting their casting decisions. Charlie Cox played attorney Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and is about to bring back Daredevil for the She-Hulk series. Meanwhile, Vincent D’Onofrio has played Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin, in the Disney+ series Hawkeye, and is expected to join Cox in Echo. Finally, Kevin Feige confirmed that an 18-episode Daredevil series focused on the Born Again storyline was coming to Disney+ as part of Phase 5. Bringing Bernthal’s Punisher back for that makes all the sense in the world.

So, we linger in a zone of uncertainty. It’s very possible that Marvel might be ready to bring Jon Bernthal back as Frank Castle, there are countless other characters ready for the spotlight. We are about to meet RiRi Williams (Dominique Thorne), aka Ironheart, in November’s release Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She will go on to have her own Disney+ show. Mahershala Ali finally will begin filming on Blade for a 2023 release. And Phase 6 will include the Fantastic Four, a Secret Wars battle, and the evolution of Kang the Conqueror. So there’s PLENTY happening in the Marvel universe, and Castle might have to wait. Unless Dawson’s onto something, and is holding secrets for just a little while longer. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.