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He is a barely a household name, but Jon Bernthal has a fanbase that most actors who cannot seem to make it past two seasons as a series regular (i.e. The Punisher) would only dream of. Those who admire him the most are always rooting for Hollywood to keep giving him more chances at superstardom, and it seems like DC movies are next natural step.
It is a shame, however, that The Punisher was cancelled so soon, as it is hard to imagine Jon Bernthal embodying another comic book hero better than he did as Frank Castle after debuting on the Netflix series Daredevil in Season 2. You could also argue that the unforgiving Marvel vigilante draws comparisons to the actor’s role as Shane Walsh in The Walking Dead, even if there may be another cast member whom some fans might plug as an even better choice.
Well, unless Frank Castle were to be resurrected in the MCU with a Punisher movie, there may be room for Jon Bernthal in the DCEU. The following are six characters from the pages of DC comics whom the actor has already proven himself worthy to play as far as I am concerned, starting with one he is already familiar with.
The Justice League (and, especially, the Justice League Dark), have faced off against their fair share of demonic entities, from Etrigan to Beelzebub himself, but there is one Hellspawn whom the Teen Titans can call an arch enemy, and his name is Trigon, who is actually the father one of its members, Raven. The powerful being (who is not a pure Hellion, despite his demon physiology) is the literal embodiment of evil absorbed from 100 different galaxies with an unfair amount of abilities (including flight, invulnerability and mental manipulation) for someone so sinister. Oh, and the reason why Jon Bernthal is perfect to play him in a movie is because he has already provided the voice of the villain for two animated DC movies, specifically Justice League vs. Teen Titans and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.
Outside of his various comic book roles, an archetype that Jon Bernthal has embodied very well is detective noir, having played both sides of the law as cop Joe Teague in Frank Darabont's Mob City and Al Capone in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. One heroic DC character who bears a similarly old school look is The Phantom Stranger, whose magical powers allow him to do pretty much anything for the sake of the greater good at the cost of being a nothing more than a strange face to everyone, but that is not even the coolest part. Originally conceived in 1952 with no clear origin, the character was reimagined in 2012 as a resurrected Judas Iscariot seeking redemption for his betrayal of Jesus Christ. So yeah... that'd be some interesting material to tackle.
To piggy back off of that that last note, Jon Bernthal knows a thing or two about betrayal, having played Rick Grimes' backstabbing best friend and partner ,Office Shane Walsh, on The Walking Dead. Thus, the actor would be an ideal choice to play yet another mysterious being of supernatural ability and vintage fashion sense, Jonah Hex: a horribly disfigured Confederate Civil War veteran-turned-bounty hunter with the ability to talk to the dead. The western-inspired DC anti-hero who has been adapted for live action cinema and television (one more successful than the other), and if there was ever a reason to bring him into the DCEU, other than the chance to redeem Josh Brolin, it is to see what Bernthal could bring to the role.
One of Jon Bernthal's most memorable moments as The Punisher was in Season 2 of Daredevil when Frank Castle has a rooftop debate with "Red" over justification for taking the lives of the guilty, each one providing reasons that are hard to argue against. Imagine getting to see Bruce Wayne have a similar conversation with Jean-Paul Valley, portrayed by Bernthal in a Batman movie. As Azrael, Valley took over for Wayne and chose to ignore his "no killing" rule after Bane put Batman out of commission during the "Knightfall" story arc, which would be something very cool touch on again, and more accurately, for a future film.
However, if you are going to consider Jon Bernthal for a part in the "Knightfall," you might as well give him the role of the guy who broke Batman's back. While I and just about anyone more than six years old considers Tom Hardy's reinterpretation of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises is a superior, and much-needed, change from the brain dead behemoth he was in Batman & Robin, even that portrayal left some room for improvement, if you ask me. Furthermore, while Bernthal has mastered the angry tough guy role time and time again, rarely does he get to play a genius, and Bane is a villain with brains and brawn.
As cool as it might be to see the return of Bane, if you really want to make an impression on Batman, give this fan favorite member of his rogues gallery a live action cinematic debut for once. Without giving too much away as to why, putting Hush, a masked foe of the Dark Knight with his own self-titled comic book story arc and a recent animated film adaptation, against Robert Pattinson's Batman would be make for an explosive follow-up to Matt Reeves' upcoming reboot. We already saw him rub elbows with Batwoman on her CW series, but casting Jon Bernthal in a big screen depiction would be the chance to really give the character justice.
What do you think? Is Jon Bernthal ready to enter his third comic book universe with any of these characters, or should I be punished for making any of the above suggestions? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the Punisher actor, as well as even more hypothetical comic book movie casting calls, here on CinemaBlend.