The Punisher May Have Cast Its First Villain

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Update: it looks as if Ben Barnes is playing Billy Russo, Frank Castle's pal from his days in the special forces. We'll keep you up-to-date when we get more information on the character.

Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle was one of the best parts about Daredevil Season 2, and the character's popularity both on the screen and in the comics was enough to convince Netflix to order up a full season of The Punisher. And while the details have been pretty skimpy on what fans can expect - the show may not be going into production for a while, after all - it looks like we know who will be playing the series' big bad: British actor Ben Barnes, perhaps best known for playing Prince Caspian in the Chronicles of Narnia films.

Though we know that Ben Barnes has signed on for The Punisher in a regular starring role, it's not quite as clear who he will be portraying in the anti-hero's first major TV series. According to TVLine, there are rumors going around that the actor will take on the villainous role of the immoral criminal Bobby Saint, which opens up a few interesting possibilities and connections to Punisher's on-screen past. This rumors don't seem to be holding up, as Marvel's official announcement says he will play a friend.

Bobby Saint isn't exactly a major comic book or film character, but he's intrinsically tied to Frank Castle, as the Saint family is responsible for the deaths of Castle's wife and child. Howard Saint, a corrupt businessman, was father to identical twins Bobby and John Saint. In the 2004 film The Punisher, Bobby is in the middle of a drug deal when he's killed by Castle, which in turn starts the revenge taken against Castle' family, and so on. It's assumed that Barnes would also be playing John here, given the whole twin thing. But is this just a temporary part or something that will be expanded for Netflix's Marvel Universe?

sons of liberty sam adams

Ben Barnes, seen above in the non-villainous role of Sam Adams in last year's miniseries Sons of Liberty, doesn't have many previous TV credits to his name beyond an early appearance in Doctors. But he's been more prevalent on the big screen in films such as Seventh Son, the Narnia films, and By the Gun. He'll also be a big part of HBO's upcoming Westworld adaptation, so he's definitely getting his genre chops down.

This is the first major casting we've heard coming to The Punisher. Last week it was revealed that auditions were reportedly going on for other characters in the show, specifically that of Microchip, the tech-savvy buddy of Castle's that helps him with his weaponry and armor. Microchip was teased in the final moments of Daredevil Season 2, so it makes sense that he'll show up. But we're still pretty clueless as to who else may show up.

The Punisher has yet to lock down a premiere date, and it isn't even clear when it'll begin filming. But there have been clues that we might get to see it in 2017, after The Defenders and possibly follow-up seasons for Daredevil and Jessica Jones. We're certainly hoping so, but in the meantime, check out our Netflix premiere schedule and our fall TV schedule to see when all your favorite shows are debuting and returning.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.