Warning: spoilers for The Punisher ahead! Read on at your own risk!
While Jon Bernthal's take on Frank Castle in The Punisher feels like the familiar, vulnerable hero that fans know and love, other characters have been changed in their transitions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One such personality is Ebon Moss-Bachrach's David "Micro" Lieberman, whose origin story was altered substantially for television. CinemaBlend's Nick Venable recently asked the actor if it was easier to portray a character who wasn't a 1:1 translation of the comic book persona, and it turned out that the answer was more complicated than a simple "yes" or "no." In response to the question, Bachrach said:
Yes and no, because I really want to play 'the guy.' I don't want to reinvent Microchip. I wasn't interested in doing that, or kinda like turning it on its head, or doing some kind of crazy version of it. I wanted to play him as something that is recognizable as Microchip to Punisher fans, but also experiment and develop and flesh him out maybe a little bit more. Sometimes, if you have the benefit of actors and acting and scripts, and see them in a way, you can sometimes convey more nuance versus a comic book. And so that's what I was hoping to achieve.
By the loosest definition of the character, Ebon Moss-Bachrach's Micro is a fundamental adaptation of what fans could expect. He's an expert hacker who forms a tenuous partnership with Frank Castle to take down criminals. However, the more delicate details of Micro's life -- such as his backstory as an NSA tech expert, and his origin being tied to Frank Castle's -- were left turns for the character that afforded Bachrach the chance to make Micro his own while still actually playing Micro. It's not a reinvention, just a slight alteration with a bit more "nuance."
That said, despite any inherent difficulties in adapting Micro while also making him his own, Ebon Moss-Bachrach noted that he went into the role knowing that changes would be made. Marvel made sure to hammer home the importance of blending fidelity and creative liberties, so he had a certain degree of assurance going into the role.
Ebon Moss-Bachrach's remarks to CinemaBlend only further reinforce the idea that the folks behind The Punisher didn't use the films as the guide for this adaptation. After all, we have seen a live-action version of Micro before (Wayne Knight's take in Punisher: War Zone), but that take on the character was far more comic book-accurate in its creation of the character.
One of the most substantial changes made to Micro was the inclusion of a family that he couldn't go home to due to his status as a fugitive. Ebon Moss-Bachrach addressed the unexpected challenges of shooting the scenes of him sitting in front of the monitors to watch his family and said:
It was a really weird headspace to get into, and really, really lonely. Really, really sad, I thought. I was unexpectedly emotional. I thought I was going to go into this superhero show playing it really cool, close to the vest. I kept kind of catching feelings, as they say. So those were kind of the hardest scenes for me to shoot, these scenes where he's just kind of alone at the monitor watching this life of his family in absentia. I thought it was pretty sad.
Now that The Punisher is currently streaming on Netflix, you can read our in-depth review and check out the unflinchingly brutal series to see the changes made to Micro for yourself. Elsewhere in the world of Netflix, make sure to glance at our premiere schedule to see what else is debuting on the streaming giant this year, and listen to our very own Punisher episode of The Cord Cutter Podcast to hear what we have to say about Frank Castle's revenge series.