Exclusive: Jon Bernthal Back As Punisher, Appearing In Daredevil Reboot

Jon Bernthal is officially on board to return as the Punisher in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His first appearance will be in the upcoming Daredevil: Born Again.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

Frank Castle is on his way back. That’s right. Between the Dolph Lundgren lead The Punisher of 1989 and Jon Bernthal’s debut as the vigilante in season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil, 27 years passed. That’s how long it took for someone to get a live-action adaptation of the character right, and now that version is returning. Our trusted and proven source has informed us that Jon Bernthal is officially on board to return as the Punisher in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While he’ll almost certainly have his own projects in store, we know that Bernthal will be appearing in the upcoming Daredevil: Born Again.

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Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle

The fact that this news is coming to light now could be indicative of things going on behind the curtain at Disney. Back in November came the rumblings that any chance of Jon Bernthal returning as Punisher was being held up by a high level internal struggle at Disney. One side of that conflict was headed by CEO Bob Chapek who, among other things, wanted to expand the kinds of content available on Disney+ to go beyond what is traditionally considered “family friendly.” On the other side were those who saw such a change as a mistake, as well as those who agreed with Chapek on offering more mature content on the streamer, but felt Chapek was the wrong choice as the leadership for such changes. With, as THR reports, Disney renewing Chapek’s contract and Small Screen claiming the CEO has spent the last few months eliminating all of his competition at Disney, it would seem as if the struggle’s victor has been chosen.

Of course, we’ve already seen some of the changes due to that victory. Coming in time for both the premiere of Moon Knight and the arrival of all of Marvel’s live-action Netflix series on Disney+ — including Jon Bernthal’s The Punisher — came the streamer’s new functions to help parents keep their kids away from more mature content. Since then we’ve seen three of the only commercially successful R-rated superhero movies — Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and Logan — begin streaming on Disney+. Not to mention that one of Marvel’s most recent films, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, proved a breed apart from its predecessors. The sequel is essentially a horror film, with its hero fighting the film’s climactic battle while possessing a desiccated corpse and flying on a cape made from dominated demons. The MCU of today is not the MCU of 2008, and the ways in which it’s changed makes a Punisher return inevitable.

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Jon Bernthal in full Punisher mode

One big question that may be on many fans’ minds is in regards to one of the most visually iconic pieces of the Punisher — his skull logo. At least in part because of ultra-right-wing groups who have adopted the skull logo as their own, Marvel redesigned the image to make it look different from the more recognizable skull. The good news here is that Jon Bernthal hardly ever wore the Punisher logo either on his own series or in his initial appearances in Daredevil, making its absence less of a problem than it could’ve been.