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Spoilers for Daredevil Season 2 are to come.
Earlier today, Netflix once again managed to inspire a whole bunch of comic book fans to start cheering in unison when the company finally delivered on past rumors and ordered up The Punisher for an initial spinoff season, with Jon Bernthal reprising the role he conquered in Daredevil Season 2. And now that the fist-pumping and the shotgun-waving have stopped, it’s time to start thinking about what we could end up getting from Frank Castle’s first solo TV outing.
However it ends up coming out, here are six things that The Punisher definitely needs to give viewers, from character-based angles to comic book details. We of course want to see way more than just six things, but this is a primer guide for the creative team to look over before seriously considering each option and putting them all to good use. (That happens, right?)
The Most Brutal Action TV Can OfferWhile the single-shot hallway sequence from Season 1 and the similar stairwell-included fight in Season 2 are the most well-executed action beats of Daredevil, the third spot has to go to Frank Castle’s masterful and surprisingly hardcore prison fight, where he punched and shanked his way to victory through beautifully choreographed brawling. I want a scene like that to happen in every single episode of The Punisher. Obviously the show will balance its action with the personal drama and character development, but the character’s name does not imply he handles situations with agreements and peace treaties. He uses fists and guns, and I fully expect and hope Netflix and Marvel will allow this show to go beyond everything we’ve seen so far from the companies’ previous collaborations.
Frank’s FamilyAs we got to know Frank Castle on his ascent to becoming the skull-emblazoned Punisher, we learned that he originally kicked off this one-man mission of vengeance after his family was murdered by Frank’s former commanding officer Ray “Blacksmith” Shoonover. But we never got to really dip back into that part of his life, and the showrunners only allowed us to live through his fury-laden Punisher persona, although Bernthal did bring the emotions for his big expository monologue. With Frank now being given a show devoted entirely to his life, it’s the perfect opportunity to show us a presumably happier and less intense period in this character’s past, while also possibly introducing other narrative elements that will pay off later.
More Background Into His Military HistoryWhile we got to learn that Frank’s family was killed by the Blacksmith, along with a couple of other details about his Marine Corps past, Daredevil wasn’t able to open up that tumultuous chapter in his life. But now we will almost definitely get to pull the curtains back further to uncover just how messed up and violent Frank’s military career really was. As far as inspiration goes, the creative team doesn’t need to look any farther than the damn near perfect 2003 miniseries Born, which gave a horrific and unsettling look at the multiple events that fractured Frank’s mind and birthed the personality that would become the Punisher in the future. Plus, who doesn’t want to see more Clancy Brown as Shoonover? That guy is gold.
The Villain JigsawWhile The Punisher definitely had his share of villains in the comics, a lot of them were also paired with other heroes in the Marvel Universe. So who better to devote an entire season to than the scarred-up Jigsaw? After all, there’s nothing about Jigsaw (real name: Billy Russo) that is superpowered or enhanced. He’s just a big badass who is similar to Frank Castle in fighting skills and weapons knowledge. They come from different backgrounds, to be sure, but Jigsaw is still a master strategist even without Frank’s military history. Since Frank already butted heads with other members of the New York City underworld in prison, his name is probably out there now for Billy Russo to pick up on. (Sidenote: We pretty much know that Microchip is coming, given that scene in the Daredevil finale, but he might not become a villain just yet, so Jigsaw is my choice.)
Scripts Written by Garth EnnisAlong with the Punisher series order came the news that showrunner duties would be filled by former Hannibal writer and executive producer Steve Lightfoot. He’ll definitely know how to bring out the darkness of the character without leaning too heavily on bloodshed, but Lightfoot & Co. would be extremely wise to try and talk comic icon Garth Ennis into joining the writing team, since he’s the guy that wrote almost all of the truly great Punisher stories, from The Slavers to Welcome Back, Frank to the aforementioned Born. If the best version of Frank Castle imaginable is what’s being sought out here for Punisher, then this show absolutely needs input from Ennis, and the more the merrier. And scarier.
Defenders CameosPart of the fun of Netflix’s Marvel Universe is that there are enough characters involved to warrant crossovers between series, and a show about the Punisher is going to need as much fun moments as possible to counter the savage aggression. So we definitely hope to see characters from the other action dramas showing up on Punisher to offer either assistance in battle or comic relief, especially since its first season will presumably come after both Luke Cage and Iron Fist have premiered, but possibly still before The Defenders.So let’s get Daredevil involved on some criminal takedown, or let’s see the most awkward love triangle ever happen between Frank, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Or maybe just have Rosario Dawson’s nurse again. I’ll take any and all of it.
Until we do see that glorious “play” option on The Punisher’s standalone series, the only way you’ll be able to find him currently streaming on Netflix is by heading to Daredevil Season 2 and vegging out for the rest of the day. Are you guys excited to see all of these things happen in a Punisher series?