The Blunt Reason Why The Punisher’s Jon Bernthal Didn’t Originally Want The Role

The Punisher using a sniper rifle

If you've been paying even the slightest bit of attention to the world of TV and film, you'll know that superhero properties are everywhere. Between the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC Extended Universe, and X-Men franchise, there's no shortage of comic book projects being produced, with just about everyone trying to get in on the trend. Walking Dead alum Jon Bernthal has taken up the helm of Frank Castle/The Punisher, debuting in the second season of Daredevil. But it appears that he had some trepidation about taking it, mostly because he doesn't actually have much of an interest in the superhero genre in general.

Fully candid, being part of a superhero franchise was not something that I really had an ambition towards; it wasn't really on my radar. A lot of the people that I really admire, actors that I really look up to have avoided that whole thing.

It looks like Jon Bernthal isn't one to just follow the crowd or popular trends. He's one of the few actors working in Hollywood who didn't want to become a superhero. And maybe that's for the best, as The Punisher is a bit of an antihero, and far more murderous than any other vigilantes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Jon Bernthal's comments to Variety are sure to surprise MCU fans, considering how absolutely fantastic his performance as Frank Castle has been. Starting off as a villain figure in Daredevil Season 2, the season slowly pulled back the layers of The Punisher, revealing the tragic backstory that led to his life of vigilante justice. Bernthal delivered a nuanced and heartbreaking performance, instantly becoming one of the fan favorite characters of the series. And his popularity was so palpable that the character was given his own spinoff, which is currently streaming in its entirety on Netflix.

Despite being a Marvel anti-hero, Jon Bernthal seems to be cognizant of "superhero fatigue". This concept relates to just how massively popular the genre is; with so many superhero properties currently being produced, it's possible the genre will become saturated and predictable. As such, there's plenty of actors out there who are attempting to avoid comic book properties, despite their popularity and profitability. But both Marvel and DC has been able to recruit top tier actors like Tilda Swinton, Laurence Fishburne, and Peter Dinklage.

The Punisher has further cemented Jon Bernthal's place in the Marvel Hall of Fame. The new series is being considered one of the Netflix's strongest entries into the genre, alongside Daredevil and Luke Cage. It should be interesting to see if Bernthal continues playing the character, considering his lack of enthusiasm for the genre. Does this mean he'll never cross back over to work alongside The Defenders? We'll just have to wait and see.

The Punisher is currently streaming in its entirety on Netflix. And be sure to check out our cancellation list, and plan your next binge watch with our midseason premiere schedule.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.