The Punisher and Jessica Jones, as characters were two, somewhat unlikely hits for Netflix over a multi-year period. But it’s been some time since we’ve seen either of them on the small screen. That’s set to come to an end now with their rights finally coming over fully into the Marvel fold. They were the last two holdouts from the Netflix group and now they are officially coming into the Marvel Universe.
The move that brings The Punisher and Jessica Jones into Marvel Studio’s stable was the final piece of a deal between the streaming platform and the comic book giant. Originally, Netflix had purchased the rights to a number of different characters that they then developed, but there was a sunset on that deal that happened when the platform stopped producing programs. The timing was different for each character, but essentially the clock started ticking whenever someone last appeared on the screen. From there it was a two-year holding pattern until Marvel Studios could officially begin developing or shooting anything involving the character. For these two, the countdown finally reached zero and they are now part of Marvel.
Both Jessica Jones and The Punisher were part of Netflix’s Defenders group which existed, from a timing perspective, in the same timeline as the events of The Avengers. But that group never truly overlapped with characters or stories in the bigger movie arc. That’s because while both Marvel Comics’ entities, the contract they fell under for Netflix was outside that of Marvel Studios. It left the stories in a somewhat tricky spot. The writers could reference the events and characters in The Avengers without ever actually showing them or saying their names. They made it work for Netflix, but it always felt a little clunky.
But in spite of some of those hurdles, both The Punisher and Jessica Jones ended up being pretty popular on the streaming platform. That came through the help of excellent casting with Jon Bernthal as the titular vigilante with the skull on his chest. He was first introduced in Daredevil as something of an anti-hero with the original origin story as he looked to avenge the death of his family. Bernthal was excellent in the role, eventually earning a two-season solo run on Netflix. Krysten
Ritter had a similar effect for Jessica Jones, bringing a devil-may-care brooding to the character who was largely unknown in comic book circles prior to the show. Both she and the Punisher would offer a totally new look for what Marvel Studios has developed over the years.
There’s great hope that Marvel will maintain continuity with their casting with the entirety of the Defenders group. Along with The Punisher and Jessica Jones we also have Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Charlie Cox appears set to reprise his role as Matt Murdock and there are rumors Mike Colter is wanted back as Cage.
What happens with The Punisher now is merely a rumor, but Bernthal returning as the character does seem like it’s in the cards. Rumors have the actor taking part in negotiations for the last couple of months. The Netflix deal included production and filming, but Marvel was free to begin laying the groundwork of deals. It appears they are set to bring back Bernthal and things could become official soon. In all, it’s great to have all of Marvel back under one roof now and the Netflix shows laid a great groundwork for the characters.