Netflix is the home of a whole bunch of Marvel superheroes these days thanks to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and soon, The Defenders. There's no shortage of superheroes to kick ass and take names in New York City. The Punisher will bring even more Marvel action to Netflix, but star Jon Bernthal has revealed that Frank Castle won't be too much of a hero as the Punisher, saying this:
I always want to preserve the essence of Frank, and have the right and be bold enough to really turn my back on the audience, and not do things to win the audience's favor, but rather stay true to the character and the essence of who he is. I think Frank is brutal. Frank is damaged. Frank is tortured. I think Frank, when he engages in violence, there's something utterly satisfying and addictive for him to be doing that, and that may not be something that the audience can agree with or get behind. But I've always fought to preserve that, and I think that that's a part of him. I think the pain and what's behind the violence and the reason why he's committing the violence, that's a different story. I want to explore that, too. So I think that's the real challenge: being bold enough to not make him too heroic, at least 'heroic,' is important to me. That being said, I think there's Frank Castle inside of everybody. I think being a father and being a husband, he's a character that I deeply empathize with.
When Frank Castle made his debut in Daredevil Season 2, he was very much an antihero. While he was hunting members of the mob and other very bad guys, he was murdering en masse out of a need for vengeance. He was clearly not a villain in a universe populated with the likes of Wilson Fisk with his immense reach and Kilgrave with his terrifying powers, but he also wasn't a Matt Murdock or Jessica Jones. Jon Bernthal's comments to Moviefone indicate that Frank will remain an antihero once he truly becomes the Punisher in his solo series.
Of course, Frank Castle was one of the most popular elements to come out of Daredevil Season 2, so fans are likely to go along with his brutal acts to a certain extent. While his rampage through the prison was as epic as it was bloody, it wasn't exactly heroic. If The Punisher features Frank toeing the line of morality with his violent tendencies as he did in Daredevil, he should be a compelling lead without losing the edge that made him such an effective foil to Matt Murdock. All the Marvel characters with Netflix solo series have to get quite violent from time to time, but the heroes aren't supposed to glory in the violence, and Frank does.
It should be interesting to see if viewers are able to empathize with Frank in the Punisher the way that Jon Bernthal evidently was. Everybody can undoubtedly relate to the idea of being so attached to some people or things that they would do anything to keep them, but most of us probably don't see ourselves going the route of the Punisher. Fortunately, Jon Bernthal proved in Daredevil that he can turn Frank into a sympathetic character without diluting what makes him so dangerous. We'll have to wait and see how Frank works as the lead of a solo series.
Netflix hasn't yet announced an official premiere date for The Punisher, although we have reason to believe that it could debut as soon as this November. The next entry in the Marvel universe on Netflix will be The Defenders, which will hit the web on Friday, August 18 at 12:01 a.m. PT. For your other upcoming TV options, take a gander at our fall premiere guide. For a breakdown of why we're such big fans of Frank Castle, check out our picks for the best Punisher moments from Daredevil Season 2.