Thomas Jane Rebooting The Punisher For Marvel?

Thomas Jane, the once and future Punisher, has some ideas for a Marvel Cinematic Universe reboot of its bloodiest character.

By Mark McKee | Published

Thomas Jane punisher

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most successful franchises of all time. With two dozen movies and television series, tons of great characters weave in and out of the timeline. Characters like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) got to see their first live-action during the run. Others were seen long before Iron Man got the whole thing started. Spider-Man and Hulk were notable Avengers who got solo films before the MCU. But one of the more beloved characters is The Punisher. Before Jon Bernthal took over the role in a Netflix series, Thomas Jane brought The Punisher to life in 2004. Now the original actor is talking about coming back. 

In an interview with Edward Lauder of Small Screen, Thomas Jane answered whether he would ever come back to The Punisher. “I would do it as a director,” he said. The actor explained that he would love to direct a film based on the graphic novel Circle of Blood. The comic follows Frank Castle as he goes to prison. Forced to face off against the very criminals he put behind bars in the first place. A film centered around that storyline would have a similar feel to Assault on Precinct 13 or The Raid. An action-packed survival thriller would be a welcome change in the formula of the MCU.  

Thomas Jane’s The Punisher saw Frank Castle end an undercover operation by arresting his targets. One of them loses his life in the sting, drawing the rage of Howard Saint (John Travolta). After Saint kills Castle’s entire family in a brutal act of retribution, he embarks on a quest to destroy Saint, eventually taking on the identity of The Punisher. 

Jon Bernthal followed Thomas Jane’s version of The Punisher with his own darker, grittier incarnation. He first appeared in the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil. His character arc was similar to his comic origin (first a villain going head-to-head with a hero before becoming an anti-hero). In the Netflix series, Daredevil (Charlie Cox) is substituted for the comic version’s Spider-Man. One of the most memorable scenes starring Jon Bernthal sees the character fight his way out of a cell block, brutally dispatching inmates. A two-hour version of that scene like Jane proposes sounds incredible. 

Thomas Jane returned to The Punisher once already in a fan film that went viral on YouTube. In 2012, Jane’s unofficial pitch to return the character for a big-budget sequel, Dirty Laundry, saw the character step in to rough up some street thugs. Eagle-eyed viewers even got a chance to glimpse Ron Pearlman in a cameo. In 2021, Bernthal also expressed his thoughts on returning to the character as he explained to The Hollywood Reporter that Frank Castle holds a very special place in his heart and is very protective. He said The Punisher is very dark, and if Marvel decided to let up on the darkness, it would be a disservice to the character. Both actors seem to grasp Frank Castle’s essence, and a team-up of the two seems like the perfect fit.