Exclusive: Ben Barnes Returning As Jigsaw In Marvel Cinematic Universe

Ben Barnes is returning to Marvel as the Punisher's nemesis Jigsaw.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

English actor Ben Barnes will be reprising the role of Punisher villain Billy Russo, aka Jigsaw, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to our trusted and proven sources, Ben Barnes is one of many actors who will reappear in a Marvel project, though we currently do not know exactly when or where he might appear. Marvel Studios seems to be looking into bringing back every character that has appeared in any Marvel-branded movie or show, so it makes sense that it would start to pull more actors from Netflix shows. 

Ben Barnes first appeared in the Marvel Netflix show The Punisher, which itself was a spin-off of the original Marvel Netflix show, Daredevil. He played Billy Russo, the former best friend of Frank Castle (played in that incarnation by Jon Bernthal); both had served in the Marines together, but where Frank Castle started a family after leaving the military, Billy Russo had started a private military contracting firm. Eventually, their paths crossed again, this time as violent adversaries. 

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The first season of The Punisher ended with Jon Bernthal violently mangling Billy Russo’s face by smashing it into a mirror in a scene notably gruesome by Marvel standards. Similarly to Doctor Doom, Billy Russo’s character is known in Marvel Comics for having been particularly handsome, only to find himself psychologically scarred by his scarred and damaged face. The second season of The Punisher involved Ben Barnes having memory loss and attempting frame his former friend for murder, only to be eventually executed by Castle in one of the Marvel Netflix universe’s darker scenes. 

We have previously reported that Disney is looking to revive the Punisher brand as a Disney+ series, bringing Jon Bernthal as the violent, revenge-obsessed vigilante into the wider, canonical Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the Punisher has long been associated with more famous characters like the Kingpin (currently played by Vincent D’Onofrio), Daredevil (Charlie Cox), and Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Ben Barnes’ Jigsaw has been one of the few villains specific to him in Marvel Comics. It makes a lot of sense that if you bring back the former, you need to bring back the latter.

This does raise the question of how exactly Ben Barnes’s Jigsaw will be revived for a new Marvel project. Charlie Cox’s Daredevil (or more precisely, his civilian Matt Murdock identity) has already appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Vincent D’Onofrio returned as Wilson Fisk in the streaming Hawkeye series. However, it is still somewhat unclear whether these are exactly the same characters we saw in the Netflix series, and what that could mean for characters who have died. 

Of course, this is the world of comic books, where death has no dominion and the Multiverse allows pretty much anyone to appear anywhere. It would not be surprising for Marvel to bring back Ben Barnes without comment as to his death in The Punisher season two, and also not surprising if he pops up in an appearance in Secret Wars as a version of himself plucked from another reality.