Daredevil Set Photos Tease a Dark Storyline for the Punisher

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Fans of Netflix’s Marvel universe had cause to celebrate when Jon Bernthal joined the cast of Daredevil: Born Again. As Frank Castle (aka the Punisher), the actor stole the show in the second season of the original Daredevil series. His own solo adventures in The Punisher were similarly engrossing, so it only made sense that the actor would make the jump from Netflix to Disney+.

There still aren’t a lot of details about the Daredevil revival, though eagle-eyed fans have been closely following production via set images and videos. Thanks to the events set up in Echo, we know that Born Again will adapt the Mayor Fisk storyline from the comics. In that arc, Wilson Fisk gives up his shady enterprises and wins the mayoral race in New York. His administration takes a harsh stance against vigilantes and street-level criminals, which obviously doesn’t bode well for Daredevil, Punisher, or any of the costumed characters rumored to appear in Born Again.

Depending on how faithful the series wants to be to the comics, Born Again could see Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) torn between his duties as a public servant and a masked crimefighter. But what about Frank Castle, his on-and-off adversary and occasional ally? Based on newly-released set photos, The Punisher could be taking a dark turn in the new series.

Unofficial footage from the set of Born Again might have just given us our first glimpse at The Punisher. In a behind-the-scenes video, a hooded man sporting the vigilante’s iconic skull logo emerges from the shadows. He seems to be tracking another street-level hero, White Tiger. The latter has been rumored to appear in Born Again, with older set photos featuring a glimpse of the hero in a DIY white suit. Paired with the new footage, it seems like he’s set for a big confrontation with Punisher.

In the comics, Matt Murdock meets Hector Ayala (the first of many to take the White Tiger mantle) when he’s wrongly accused for murder. Just as he becomes Frank Castle’s lawyer in Daredevil Season 2, Matt ends up defending Hector in court. We could see the same thing happening in Born Again, while the Punisher could return as an antagonistic force.

That said, is the hooded man in these images actually the Punisher? Theories suggest that this isn’t Frank Castle at all, but a corrupt copycat using his likeness. This wouldn’t be the first time a member of the Defenders-verse has been impersonated: Daredevil Season 3 saw Benjamin Poindexter, aka Bullseye, impersonate the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.

Why anyone would impersonate the Punisher in the same manner remains a mystery, as the whole point of Bullseye was to destroy Daredevil’s reputation, and the Punisher isn’t exactly a beacon of morality. Either way, someone seems to be hunting vigilantes. Maybe Fisk hires the Punisher to “clean up” the streets; maybe he commissions a group of corrupt cops to take out the street-level heroes, as he once did with Bullseye. Whatever the truth, Daredevil will have to deal with a lot more than the corruption of Wilson Fisk in his latest adventure.

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