Marvel is known for making great casting decisions on the big and small screens, and Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle is the biggest and bloodiest chef's kiss of the bunch. While one's mileage may vary on Netflix's The Punisher as a whole – I happened to love it through rose-tinted glasses – Bernthal's excellence in the titular role is pretty undeniable. The biggest blow of that cancellation was the idea that the Walking Dead vet might never play Frank again, but it sounds like the ever-optimistic Bernthal is giving fans hope that his Punisher could indeed return somewhere for Season 3, or potentially in an MCU film of some kind.
Even if the world weren't still being wrecked by COVID-19, it's not likely a Punisher project would come into existence in the nearest future, all things considered. (More on that below.) But because the Marvel fandom is one that never stops hoping for more from their favorite actors and characters, Jon Bernthal was asked about his possible future with Frank Castle while appearing for a video interview on Geek House Show. To hear him talk about it, it's not a matter of IF The Punisher is coming back in some form, but a matter of WHEN.
Look, man, I think with that, there’s always hope. It's unbelievably humbling how much people sort of responded to this version of Frank, and I can't tell you how much it means to me, because he means so much to me. He's in my blood, he's in my bones. For me, it’s really not a question ever with this kind of stuff about whether you get the opportunity to do it or not. I think too many people are focused on trying to get opportunities in this business, and for me, it’s more about what you do with the opportunity you have. So it’s not about whether we do it, it's about getting it right, and doing the version that the fans really deserve. We'll see.
Both The Punisher and Jessica Jones were formally cancelled by Netflix back in February 2019, so we're still 3-4 months away from the end of the reported two-year window that has contractually kept Marvel from using Frank Castle, Daredevil, and the other Defenders heroes in any projects. At that point, the studio is allegedly able to bring Frank Castle back to live-action projects, but it's obviously not clear if Kevin Feige has any plans for that. Not only is Marvel's theatrical future completely up in the air along with everything else, but the company still has yet to prove it can pull off episodic television with the upcoming WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, to name the first couple of MCU releases.
Coming out of The Punisher Season 2, both Jon Bernthal and showrunner Steve Lightfoot were absolutely game to continue the story for at least another season. (That bonkers final scene in Season 2 would have been pretty pointless otherwise.) It's just too bad neither one of them were in charge of Marvel TV or Netflix at the time. Bernthal continued in that vein, saying:
I mean, all of those decisions are made in rooms that I am not invited into. And that’s okay with me. I’ve got great stuff going on and am enormously blessed to have enough work that’s exciting to me and fulfilling to me. But Frank's always there, he's always a part of me, and when we get the call to go, I'll be ready. And I'll make sure that I do everything I can to make sure that we do it right, or we won't do it at all.
While Jon Bernthal isn't in charge of the character and doesn't have final say over where things could go, it sounds like he would very quickly turn a Punisher project down if it didn't mesh well with his ideals for what Frank Castle would be doing. Turning down a bad Punisher series is obviously not the same thing as bringing a good Punisher series to life, but any port in a storm, I guess. Let us know in the poll below if you'd like to see Bernthal return to the gun-blasting and kneecap-shattering vigilante.
While keeping your fingers crossed for potential third seasons or film appearances for Jon Bernthal's Punisher, don't forget you can watch the first two seasons on Netflix, from now until likely the end of time. Check out everything else coming to the small screen later this year with our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule, and look into television and streaming's future with our Winter and Spring 2021 premiere guide.