Jon Bernthal has made an indelible impression on the character of Frank Castle a.k.a. the Punisher thanks to his well-received portrayal of the vigilante in the Netflix series Daredevil and his own solo show, The Punisher. When Netflix ended its relationship with Marvel Studios, many fans were hoping that Bernthal would be making the jump to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a future project. There have been lots of rumors and speculation, but one big issue has been where an unavoidably violent character like the Punisher could end up since Disney+ does not seem like the right fit. Well, it looks like Frank Castle might have found a new home.
Mikey Sutton of Geekosity is reporting that Jon Bernthal will be returning as the Punisher in a series called Punisher: War Journal – named after the comic book runs from 1988 to 1995 and 2007 to 2009 – and that this new series would be slated to air on streaming service Hulu. It sounds like Marvel Studios will start to view Hulu as an outlet for any material they want to make that could transgress into the realm of TV-MA. Disney itself clearly feels this way as they will be premiering a brand new Alien series on Hulu that will almost certainly be in line with the R-rated material from that franchise.
If nothing else, this should help add fuel to the fire that Jon Bernthal is returning as the Punisher. Marvel is keenly aware of how popular this iteration of the character has been with fans. The studio has never been one to throw away a surefire success, so it sounds like they are definitely figuring out the best way to reintroduce the character and how he will fit in with their larger plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hopefully, they won’t sit on the property for too long since it could start to leave the pop culture consciousness if it stays on the shelf.
What will be interesting with Jon Bernthal as the Punisher on Hulu is seeing just how separate Marvel Studios will want to keep the character from their other superheroes. Part of the issue with the Netflix/Marvel shows was that they felt so distant from the characters and events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Part of the excitement surrounding Marvel regaining the rights to these characters is the hope that we will see them cross paths with other heroes and villains. With the Punisher being a New York vigilante, it is a foregone conclusion that fans will want to see him possibly come face-to-face with characters like Spider-Man or Doctor Strange. If he doesn’t, there might be a significant amount of backlash from fans.
Regardless, Jon Bernthal fans should rejoice that things seem to be moving along with bringing Frank Castle back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And the fact that he will be on Hulu should give the eventual filmmakers free rein when it comes to the violence and mature subject matter. We look forward to hearing some official news from Marvel about all of this.