When Daredevil kicks off Season 2 next month, the titular hero won’t have any time for rest and relaxation, as he’ll be dealing with another Hell’s Kitchen vigilante in The Punisher. But unlike Matt Murdock, Frank Castle isn’t walking down an enlightened path to righteousness, and he intends to succeed by any means necessary, even if it means destroying everything. And according to star Jon Bernthal, the Punisher will stand out for being an immovable and nearly unlikeable force in his mission.
I think this guy lives in a world of darkness that no other person in this universe can compare with. My goal here was to put myself in that darkness and bring that up and to never pull punches, to never do half measures, to never be apologetic, to never pursue likability at all, to be completely unapologetic at all times.
That’s what I’m talking about. This is an obvious comparison to make, but it sounds like certain parts of the Punisher’s personality would be how Bernthal’s Walking Dead character Shane turned out had he lived on, using darkness as a fuel and seeking out answers through painful retribution. It’s the kind of process that sounds far more antagonistic than protagonistic, and viewers can indeed expect Frank Castle to initially come across as, if not a villain, someone who doesn’t use virtue as inspiration.
Rather than present Punisher in any sort of a morally acceptable light, the creative team is utilizing the character’s inherent ugliness and unlikeability early on and avoiding explanations for his heinous actions. Bernthal explained to IGN that this will certainly turn some viewers against him, but that the goal for him and the writers was then to figure out a way to win everyone back through revealing the character’s motivations and inspirations as the season goes on. And in the end, even if not everyone is standing with him on his mission, at least Frank Castle’s mission can be discussed and understood.
Problems would occur if The Punisher somehow didn’t become someone to champion by the time the season is over, as it would be hard to watch him front his own show if there wasn’t anything to enjoy or root for. Even though the movie versions of the comic favorite weren’t exactly cheery and fancy-free all the time, they lived in action films where the ultra-violent mayhem worked as a personality trait. Netflix’s version of Daredevil is certainly dark, but probably not in a way where The Punisher’s blood-soaked reign of vengeance will be glorified for viewers. Maybe he’ll have a side arc as a fledgling stand-up comedian.
Daredevil Season 2, which will also introduce Elodie Yung’s classy ass-whipping Elektra to audiences, will premiere on Netflix on Friday, March 18. To see when everything else is premiering in future months, check out our midseason TV schedule.