Exclusive: Jon Bernthal Appearing As Punisher In Spider-Man 4

We've learned that, along with reprising the role of the Punisher in Daredevil: Born Again, Jon Bernthal will also play the vigilante in Spider-Man 4.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

jon bernthal spider-man 4

We were the ones to scoop back in July that The Punisher would be making his MCU return in Daredevil: Born Again, and now we have more news. Our trusted and proven sources have informed us that Jon Bernthal will also play Frank Castle in Spider-Man 4 which will once more be led by Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. We don’t know exactly how Punisher will fit into the sequel’s story, but we have some ideas.

There are a lot of comic book stories that Marvel could mine to make for either a team-up and/or a clash between Spidey and Jon Bernthal’s Punisher in Spider-Man 4, but we would be surprised if it isn’t at least partly inspired by the 1986-87 Marvel Comics storyline “Gang War.” Running from Amazing Spider-Man #284 to #288, “Gang War” had a long list of Marvel’s NYC-based mobster-themed villains — e.g. Kingpin, Silvermane, Hammerhead, The Rose — clashing for dominance with little care for who got caught in the crossfire. All sides of the conflict enlisted super-crooks like Jack O’ Lantern and Hobgoblin in the fight, and the war proved big enough to drag in other heroes and vigilantes like Daredevil, Punisher, Black Cat, and even Sam Wilson/The Falcon.

jon bernthal spider-man 4
The cover of Amazing Spider-Man #285 (Marvel Comics, 1987)

It’s not difficult to imagine Jon Bernthal‘s Punisher serving as the same kind of problem for Spidey in Spider-Man 4 that his counterpart does in “Gang War.” As opposed to Spidey, who is doing everything he can to stop the war in order to minimize innocents being hurt or worse, in “Gang War” Punisher sees the conflict as an opportunity to kill more crooks than ever. Bernthal’s version of Frank Castle would no doubt recognize the same kind of “opportunity” when the gangs start fighting in the MCU.

This would also go along with what Marvel big cheese Kevin Feige recently said about the sequel. When he confirmed Tom Holland was returning for the movie, Feige said Marvel had “big plans” for Spider-Man 4. If we’re right about why Jon Bernthal has been tapped for Spider-Man 4, then it wouldn’t be surprising to also see guest stars like Anthony Mackie, Charlie Cox, and Vincent D’Onofrio in the flick.

In fact, D’Onofrio has already expressed on multiple occasions — including in an interview last year on the Sarah O’Connell Show — his desire to be in Spider-Man 4.

jon bernthal spider-man 4
Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/The Punisher in Daredevil

If your main and/or sole exposure to the Marvel Universe comes from screen media, then it’s understandable why it might seem strange to have Jon Bernthal show up in Spider-Man 4. After all, Frank Castle is a dark, brutal character while the Spider-Man franchise — in spite of some fairly dark moments, sure — is mostly upbeat. However, it wasn’t in a Daredevil or a Punisher comic book in which Castle made his first appearance, but in 1974’s Amazing Spider-Man #129.

Even though he — like Punisher — has since become much better known as Daredevil’s chief antagonist, Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin likewise started off as a Spidey villain in 1967’s Amazing Spider-Man #50.