As audiences eagerly await his return in the new show, Jon Bernthal teases The Punisher’s arrival in Daredevil: Born Again. After debuting the iconic character in season 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Netflix show, Bernthal’s vigilante would get his own spinoff that ran for two seasons before being cancelled as the streamer’s contract with the studio ended. As Marvel began incorporating Charlie Cox’s Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin into the ongoing MCU, it was confirmed in early 2023 that Bernthal’s Punisher would appear in Daredevil: Born Again.
During an interview with Screen Rant for Ava DuVernay’s biographical drama Origin, Bernthal was asked about how much Punisher has changed since the end of his spinoff show and Daredevil: Born Again. Though acknowledging that Marvel’s strict secrecy prevents him from sharing too many details, he assured that his care for the character helps him ensure that Frank Castle will remain the same, even with any changes. Check out what Bernthal shared below:
“I don’t know yet; I don’t know. It’s too early to tell. And you know how Marvel is, I really can’t say anything anyway. But I care about Frank deeply, and no matter how much Frank grows, he’s always going to be the same.”
Though Netflix’s Daredevil established a dark and gritty tone for the streamer’s Marvel properties, it was Bernthal’s run as The Punisher that saw the shows push their ratings to the ultimate limits. Between his now-iconic prison hallway fight in season 2 of the Charlie Cox-led title to the brutality of his action and torture sequences in his spinoff, Castle’s actions left critics polarized on the depiction of violence within the titles. Now, with his impending return in the mainline MCU, Bernthal’s character will be the ultimate test of the transition of the Netflix shows to Disney+.
D’Onofrio and Cox have frequently teased that Daredevil: Born Again will retain the same R-rated feel of the original show, with the latter indicating that it would be released under the newly established Marvel Spotlight banner, created for more character-driven storytelling. The only other title released under this banner thus far was the recently premiered Echo, which itself was largely promoted on the fact it would be the most brutal MCU property yet. Though some of its violence failed to match that of the original Daredevil or Punisher shows, it did prove a promising step in a more mature direction for the franchise overall.
It’s currently unclear just how Bernthal’s Punisher will fit into the story of Daredevil: Born Again, which will seemingly find Kingpin vying for New York City Mayor, but if the show explores the vigilante in action, it will have to again push the boundaries of the TV-MA rating in order to authentically depict the character. Marvel’s willingness to go for the R-rating with the upcoming releases of Deadpool 3 and Blade reboot does show some promise that they’ll stay true to what audiences expect from said characters, though it will be interesting to see if Punisher is ultimately toned down in order to avoid alienating its younger demographic.