Frank Castle is taking on a government conspiracy in Netflix's upcoming Marvel series The Punisher, and he's doing it without the help of super friends. As far as why Frank isn't getting any help from the superhero stars of The Defenders on his mission, showrunner Steve Lightfoot says that's a question that is perhaps better answered by Marvel:
I think it's something that you need to talk to someone in Marvel about that because when I came in to take the show on, it was always very clear to me that they wanted it to sort of tell its own story and run on its own track and not really intersect with what was happening in The Defenders. That was part of the brief. I guess I could speculate on the reasons for that, but I think from what I understand the original concept for the four characters that became The Defenders was always the plan and the Punisher spun out of that. But very much certainly when I came in the brief was always that it was to be its own show and its own thing separate from that.
Steve Lightfoot makes it clear to Syfy that it was not his decision to exclude any of the cast of The Defenders from The Punisher, and passes the buck to someone at Marvel to answer. He also mentions the fact that when Marvel originally came up with the idea of this Netflix Marvel universe, The Punisher was not intended to have his own series. Lightfoot says that from the beginning this series was meant to be something separate from what the other heroes were doing, so it appears the possibility wasn't even discussed when he came on board.
Which is very interesting considering characters from the other Marvel Netflix shows make their way into The Punisher. Deborah Ann Woll appears as Karen from Daredevil and although the comics featuring a handful of team-ups between Frank Castle and the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, it doesn't seem like having the hero appear if only for a moment in an episode wouldn't have been that hard to write in. Then again, Daredevil isn't fond of killing, and as our review of The Punisher states pretty clearly, Frank does a lot of that in this series.
Which is likely the reason The Defenders weren't lumped in with Frank Castle's adventure in The Punisher. Killing isn't an issue the other Netflix heroes take lightly, so placing them in a situation where the hero of the story is constantly killing is problematic at best. Hopefully, it's a problem Marvel can eventually find a way to write around, as the thought of Jon Bernthal's Punisher never being able to be a part of a superhero ensemble with the rest of the Netflix heroes is a bit saddening.
All episodes of The Punisher will go live this Friday, November 17th on Netflix. CinemaBlend isn't the only outlet to have reviewed the show, and those that are curious as to what other critics thought before they binge it this Friday should head here. For more fall shows to watch as the days wind down to the latest Marvel series, be sure to visit our fall premiere guide. For a look at some of the shows who were unable to survive the year, visit our cancellation guide.