‘Marvel’s The Punisher’ is an American action web series that airs on Netflix. It first premiered on November 17, 2017, and was part of Netflix’s Marvel content, which had made a name for itself for putting a dark, gritty, and humane twist to the superhero genre, although some of the shows came under severe criticism. ‘The Punisher’ was not one of them, and the show expertly went beyond just the superhero cliches to become a crime drama and conspiracy thriller. Steve Lightfoot is the showrunner and creator of the series. Marvel Television, ABC Studios, and Bohemian Risk Productions are the companies behind the project, while Gail Barringer is the producer. Tom Shankland was the executive producer for the first episode of the show only, but Cindy Holland, Allie Goss, Laura Delahaye, Kris Henigman, Alan Fine, Joe Quesada, Karim Zreik, Jim Chory, Jeph Loeb, and Steve Lightfoot are on board as the executive producers of the show. Stan Lee, the legend of Marvel, was on the board as well, until his tragic demise last year.
The character of the Punisher first appeared in the second season of ‘Daredevil‘ and was so much liked by the audience that it got its own series. The character acted as the perfect foil for Matt Murdock’s Daredevil, with the former dishing out his own brand of vigilante justice, and Matt struggling to stay within the limits of the law and fighting criminals in the best way he knows how. Their dynamic was so invigorating, that Frank Castle aka the Punisher got his own series. Once this was coming, the show makers did not pass up on the opportunity and showed some extreme violence, befitting of the vigilante who lets bullets do the talking for him. Needless to say, fans flocked to support the new show, and the critics have lauded it as well for the humanizing portrayal of Frank Castle, a man who should be pretty difficult to like.
Marvel’s The Punisher Cast: Who is in it?
Over the seasons of ‘The Punisher’, the show has centered around the adventures of Frank Castle and his quest for justice and vengeance, and how they often overlap in his case. He has come across several characters, who make up the cast of the show. While some characters have been confined to a particular season, others have been constants in Frank’s life as we have seen it.
Firstly, Jon Bernthal plays the role of Frank Castle, a US special forces man who loses his entire family, before spiraling down a path of vigilantism. He is aided by David Leiberman or Micro, played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach. Micro is a former NSA analyst who fakes Frank’s death and helps him in the vigilante lifestyle. If Frank is the brawn, Micro is mostly the brain. Ben Barnes plays Billy Russo, who starts off as Frank’s best friend from the military days before we see him for the evil that he truly is.
Comic fans knew from the offset that Billy Russo would become the Punisher’s arch-nemesis, Jigsaw, but the show gave the character a different origin story, linking the Punisher to his nemesis even closer than ever. Amber Rose Revah plays the role of Special Agent Dinah Madani, who is initially on Frank’s tail, but later supports him in her own capacity. Jason R. Moore plays the role of Curtis Hoyle, another of Frank’s military buddies, and someone who acts as the voice of reason for the vigilante. Paul Schulze plays the role of Agent Orange, and although he just appears in the initial season, he comes across as a formidable obstacle in Frank’s path.
Deborah Ann Woll who plays the role of Karen Page appears in this show as well. She is the connection between Frank’s appearance in the ‘Daredevil’ series, and his own show because he met her there for the first time. She grows close to Frank, bonding over the loss of family, though it is more metaphorical for Karen than Frank. We also get to see Josh Stewart in the role of John Pilgrim, a man as determined as Castle. He appears in the sophomore season, and although he is a constant threat to Castle, much like the protagonist, we begin to begrudgingly respect Pilgrim and the true motivations behind his actions. Giorgia Whigham also appears Amy Bendix in this season, and she is a grifter who has a mysterious past. However, Frank’s myth formation makes her appear as the daughter he lost, to him, and he tries his best to protect her from Pilgrim. It is this rescue that completes the character arc for Frank, giving him a degree of redemption.
There is not going to be an upcoming season for now, and these characters all helped Frank reach a semblance of happiness in his life. Of course, there have been several side characters in the show, who have all played their part and enriched the experience presented to the viewers over the seasons.
Marvel’s The Punisher Plot: What is it about?
The main plot of ‘The Punisher’ starts off with Frank trying to cope with the loss of his family, while also brandishing his own version of justice, which usually involves a lot of guns, violence, and a trail of dead bodies in his wake. He soon attracts the attention of law enforcement but manages to stay ahead of them. However, when other major players get involved, including Billy Russo and Agent Orange, Frank gradually begins to uncover the truth about his family’s murder. When justice and revenge overlap, the Punisher does not hold back, and everyone is made to face their sins. Billy gets the worst deal, with Frank massacring his face, since Billy was a narcissist, but leaving him alive, to be in perpetual fear of the Punisher and the punishment meted out to him. By the end of all this, the military scandals of the US government involving Frank and his team also come to light and the government allows Frank to disappear to keep the whole thing quiet.
Frank minds his own business and even tries to get back on his feet, but an attack on a girl who he identifies with his dead daughter means that the man is back in action. He fights a war on two fronts this time, one against Billy, who is finally back to get his revenge for Frank’s punishment, and one against a single-minded killer John Pilgrim. Frank can take a lot of pain dished out to him, and he does just that.
Over the two seasons, we see a person who starts off as an unlikeable vigilante but becomes almost a hero in front of our eyes. With excellently executed action sequences, the show keeps the intensity pumping all throughout. There are ethical dilemmas and excellent character arcs, especially Madani’s. The show manages to humanize a killer, and Bernthal’s acting is beyond reproach as he makes every second of pain, every moment of loss reverberate through his performance. It also takes up important themes like gun violence, religious fundamentalism, and does not shy away from packaging the tougher topics of American society in an entertaining manner.
We are aware that there might not be a future for the show, at least on Netflix, but since Disney is bringing all the Marvel content under their umbrella, one can only hope that they allow the series to continue in a similar manner, and with the same cast. However, it might be some time before we see Frank going in guns ablaze.
Marvel’s The Punisher Season 3 Release Date: When will it premiere?
‘The Punisher’ season 2 released on Jan 18, 2019 to middling reviews. Unfortunately for the fans, the show will not be returning for a Season 3. In a statement to Deadline, Netflix confirmed “Marvel’s The Punisher will not return for a third season on Netflix. Showrunner Steve Lightfoot, the terrific crew, and an exceptional cast including star Jon Bernthal delivered an acclaimed and compelling series for fans, and we are proud to showcase their work on Netflix for years to come.”
While the show will not return to Netflix for Season 3, Disney is launching its own streaming service, Disney+ on November 12, 2019. Since Marvel Studios is under Disney, it has been part of their longterm plans to bring all Marvel content under one umbrella. Thus ‘The Punisher’ is most likely headed there, and we might see Frank appear in a show that will be streamed on Disney+. We will update this section as soon as we know The Punisher season 3 release date.
Marvel’s The Punisher Trailer:
While we wait for any positive news on season 3, check out the season 2 trailer to refresh your memories.
Read More: Best Marvel Shows on Netflix