With the group of Netflix Marvel characters officially coming over to Disney, some have wondered how the Mouse House would deal with these folks, specifically around some of the more violent aspects of each series. Netflix had decidedly different marching orders than Disney and the shows trended more toward rated-R than anything we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of those characters was Jon Bernthal and his adaptation of The Punisher on the small screen. That show is now on Disney+, but the latter has decided to remove at least one somewhat controversial moment from the series.
According to ScreenRant, the moment in question comes from The Punisher’s Season 2 finale “The Whirlwind”. At the end of the episode, a tribute to the late Stan Lee went up on the screen following Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle laying waste to a warehouse of criminals. Some thought it to be in poor taste to honor the Marvel icon after such a violent display on the screen. This tribute was removed from the Disney+ episodes and won’t be seen anymore within the series. Apparently, the rest of the show remains unchanged from the original.
This move for Jon Bernthal as The Punisher, along with the other Netflix Marvel characters has necessitated a moderate shift in how Disney+ presents some of its programming. There are new parental controls on the streamer which will now allow for more mature content. This was done around the time series like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Punisher, and Luke Cage made their way over. That’s because these shows have a decidedly different approach than what’s been around in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, trending much (much) more violent. Bernthal’s Punisher was just one example with the platform taking a very comic book accurate approach to the character. He’s a violent vigilante through and through.
While this Stan Lee tribute was removed from the new Disney+ version of The Punisher series, it appears that the rest was left relatively unchanged. And now that Jon Bernthal and company have come over to this next studio, it does beg the question of what happens with his character. There’s strong speculation that he will enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some way, and there’s already precedent along those lines. Charlie Cox has already appeared on screen as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home and he’s set to reprise his Daredevil character sooner than later in the MCU. Plus Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk/ Kingpin appeared in Hawkeye as well. Bernthal is expected to do the same with the idea that the Netflix shows were part of the MCU canon.
It would appear that we will eventually see Jon Bernthal take back up the Punisher mantle at some point. And it would be a fantastic return. He was excellent in the role of Frank Castle, the best portrayal we’ve seen of the character yet. The Marvel Cinematic Universe would be better off keeping up with this casting if possible. But on that front, we will have to wait for more official word even if The Punisher is now streaming on Disney+.