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The premiere date for The Punisher Season 2 has come and gone, and now the waiting begins to see whether or not Netflix renews the Marvel series for Season 3. While its odds aren't looking good considering what happened to Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Daredevil, fans should hope the Jon Bernthal-led series is the exception. Basically, Season 3 definitely should happen on Netflix, or it may not happen at all.
Let's face facts: Frank Castle is about as far from the Disney brand as a franchise can get. The constant swearing, the brutal displays of violence, and the sex scenes mean The Punisher isn't the type of series I could see running alongside The Lion King. To be "frank," most of the current and former Netflix Marvel shows have these things, which may make their inclusion on Disney+ iffy, if not entirely unlikely.
This is why some believe Marvel may scrap the Netflix Universe shows entirely, and possibly re-introduce the heroes into the MCU in toned down interpretations of the characters. It's far from the ideal scenario of incorporating the original cast into the MCU, but it's not as though superhero reboots are a new thing. The shows would die but there's a chance that, whether it was through a new show or MCU feature, the characters could continue on.
Reboots seem viable and possible for heroes like Daredevil and Iron Fist, but Frank Castle has a snowball's chance in hell of getting an MCU revival. He's too intense, and as noble as his intentions may be, I can't see Disney wanting to associate itself with a hero whose superpower is conducting mass shootings with little emotion. Put simply, if The Punisher is done at Netflix, The Punisher character might be done on the small screen period.
Which would probably be for the best, as bringing a version of The Punisher that's less than what Marvel has established in the show's two seasons would be catastrophic. Jon Bernthal has encapsulated what it means to be Frank Castle and has embodied the character in a way others who portrayed the character have not. It's a performance I believe won't be easily replicated, and I can't see another working actor becoming Frank Castle the way he has.
Which is all the more reason why The Punisher needs to stay on Netflix for Season 3, and it's feasible that the show could continue in spite of all the cancellations. Karen Page aside, The Punisher was already about as disconnected as it could be from the rest of the universe at its start of Season 1, so Netflix could keep it going without the other heroes no problem.
What's better is that Season 2 of The Punisher effectively tied up many loose ends from Season 1, and seemingly prepared the show to move as far away from New York as possible. Agent Madani is working for the CIA, and while Frank didn't seem up for doing her bidding with a government license to kill, it's possible he could be swayed. All it would take was a talented screenwriter to give him a reason!
Spoiler Warning, Madani joining the CIA is an interesting thread for a potential Season 3, as it could put Frank on foreign soil and get him back to the basics of his military days. Being overseas removes the possibility he'd run into another hero, or that someone like Karen would appear out of the ether to give him a pep talk. Then again, Karen is capable of some pretty impressive things, so one can never truly count her out.
If The Punisher is cancelled at Netflix, of course, the chances of Frank Castle going on an overseas adventure feel incredibly slim. If the character were to continue on again, chances are it would be via a reboot, and in a story that may inevitably tell the story of his family's execution and his quest for vengeance. It's a story I'm as tired of seeing as I am Bruce Wayne's parents getting shot, so I'd rather not see it again.
That said, it's not crazy to believe The Punisher survives Netflix's Marvel purge while the others fall, as it wasn't a part of the early four-show deal. Sure, it's possible that Punisher would need to be retired from the small screen for a while, but it's also possible Marvel made arrangements that allow Punisher to be free sooner. That's not a lot of good if Disney won't do anything with the character, but I can't pretend to know what the plan may be.
Now, there is a possible reality where Disney gets the rights back to The Punisher and decides to put it on a platform that isn't Netflix or Disney+. For example, Hulu is home to Runaways, so Disney could potentially keep it off Netflix while still keeping it unassociated with Disney+. It sounds like the perfect solution, and may even be what the company ends up doing in order to appease Marvel fans and protect its more innocent Disney+ audience.
It's not a bad solution, albeit one that twists the arms of consumers to subscribe to another streaming service. Granted, Hulu is a popular option, but as Disney+ makes its debut while CBS All Access and DC Universe are proving to be attractive options, it's fair to say some households will be making hard choices on what to keep. For families that have cable, Hulu is an easy one to drop, so Disney aligning with it would not be ideal.
So really, it's best that The Punisher stays on Netflix for Season 3 across the board. Its cancellation may mean it could be some time before we see the hero again, or may possibly mean we don't see him again period. Or audiences could follow the show to another platform and shell out money they could spend elsewhere. None of this is ideal, so let's hope Netflix and Marvel's beef is squashed and Frank can stay on the streaming service.
As it stands, Netflix still has yet to make a decision on The Punisher Season 3, but Season 1 and 2 are both available to stream on Netflix. 2019 is already making a splash with a huge list of great shows popping up in the early half of the year. Keep track of all things coming in the near future with our midseason premiere guide.