Fans of Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of Frank Castle, better known as The Punisher, may not get the Marvel Cinematic Universe revival they’ve been hoping for after all. Marvel and Netflix ended their partnership in 2018, which seemingly put a nail in the coffins of the extended universe of shows that made up The Defenders, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher. Ever since then, fans have been clamoring to see each and every one of those heroes revived by way of either a Disney+ series or cameo on a future Marvel project. Perhaps none have been more vocal than fans of Jon Bernthal’s adaptation of the notoriously complex and ruthless anti-hero.
Unfortunately, sources tell WeGotThisCovered that real-world events may be giving Marvel Cinematic Universe boss Kevin Feige cold feet about trying to make the very R-rated character fit in his otherwise optimistic PG-13 world. Over the years, The Punisher has become a symbol for less than desirable real-world figures. Most recently, one of the rioters at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6th was spotted wearing the symbol while wielding zip ties and trespassing on the Senate floor. Viral photos of the individual even prompted a fiery response from Jon Bernthal himself.
Regardless of whether or not the people who are adopting the character’s logo have even the foggiest idea about him, the fact of the matter is that Feige and Disney may not want to bother walking a controversial line by reviving Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle when there’s already so much else on their plate. Already on the docket is an animated What If…? series as well as a standalone Hawkeye show, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, Armor Wars, She Hulk, and a second season for Loki — just to name a few. In short, it’s likely Marvel feels it’s offering more than enough to appease comic book fans without needing the potential backlash a Punisher revival would bring.
As for R-rated fare, thanks to the Disney and Fox merger, Feige previously revealed that Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool will make his way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will maintain his foul-mouthed nature as the one and only R-rated hero in the universe. Admittedly this does leave a bit of wiggle room for Jon Bernthal to join Reynolds in his next outing as the Merc with a Mouth and maintain his violent streak, but there are other characters in Deadpool’s comic lore to pull from that have fewer real-world connotations, thus making it unlikely.
However, fans of Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of the character shouldn’t give up hope just yet. While there are no known immediate plans to bring The Punisher back, his biggest piece of connective tissue to the Marvel Cinematic Universe might show up sooner rather than later. WeGotThisCovered previously reported that Charlie Cox (who helped introduce The Punisher by way of the Netflix show Daredevil during its second season) is rumored to show up as Matt Murdock in the upcoming Spider-Man film as well as the She-Hulk TV show. If that happens, it would be just a hop, skip, and a jump for the rest of the Defenders team, including Bernthal, to make their way into the fold in a future project, of which Marvel has many.