As many fans in the past rejoiced to see Frank Castle, or the Punisher, appear in Marvel and Netflix’s DAREDEVIL last year, they realized he stole each scene for a reason; the man is a superb character. In fact, superb enough to have his own show. Frank Castle came to life in DAREDEVIL, with an electrifying portrayal by actor Jon Bernthal who used raw emotion when needed, and calm, yet brutal force which have become traits of the latest PUNISHER iteration for the better.

Marvel Television executives and fans happened to be in agreement, which seemingly helped the new PUNISHER series come to life, which is aiming for a 2017 release date.  This means Marvel and Netflix are releasing two series within the same year for the first time. With news of such an early release, paired along with a short blurb about the show from the Netflix app that said he’ll become known as The Punisher, and whispers of a working title, “crime”, fans are already speculating on what the series might focus on.

For starters, it seems as though the PUNISHER Netflix series will heavily focus on his past due to the information above. Although some leanings of his backstory were mentioned in DAREDEVIL season two, many aspects were barely touched upon such as his military service and how he got started cleaning up the streets.

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Additionally, more casting choices have been announced, along with character descriptions which glean more hints of what the show may focus on in terms of story. With that in mind, here are the newest casting announcements with character information.

To begin, Ben Barnes (CHRONICLES OF NARNIA) will play Billy Russo, Frank’s best friend from his army days. He has a successful private military company named Anvil. Ebon Moss-Bachrach (GIRLS) will star as Micro, who was an NSA analyst with secrets that can be of value to Castle. Deborah Ann Woll, who plays Karen Page in DAREDEVIL, is also set to reprise her role. The talented cast is joined by Steve Lightfoot (HANNIBAL), who will be executive producer and showrunner and will write the first two episodes. Joining him is as an executive producer is Jim Chory, who has worked on all previous Marvel Netflix shows. Lastly Marvel’s head of Television, Jeph Loeb, will also join as an executive producer. (Please note that some actors confirmed for roles do not appear in this article because they have seemingly more minor roles within the show).

With the details mentioned above about the show, as well as casting choices with some accompanied character information, we can speculate on possible storylines or inspiration from storylines from PUNISHER comics.

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Using confirmed characters from the show, we can look into their possible implications using what we know about them from appearances in PUNISHER comics. Billy Russo is a name PUNISHER fans should be familiar with, since he is the Punisher’s archenemy named Jigsaw. If the Netflix show has Russo as Punisher’s former best friend turned enemy, it could make for interesting and compelling television if their army relationship is explored and then crumbles over time. A storyline involving the military background of both characters could focus on using inspiration from Garth Ennis’ VALLEY FORGE, VALLEY FORGE (2008). The comic looks into Castle’s relationship with the U.S. Military and his begrudging respect for it. The show may end up using it to set up Castle’s relationship with Russo and how they feel about the military, although it seems like the military aspect will be more of a backdrop than a full blown story arc.

Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s Micro is also a familiar sight to see from the comics. Presumably based on the Marvel Comics character, David Linus Lieberman, better known as Microchip or Micro in the Netflix show’s iteration, is a former NSA worker with helpful secrets for Castle. This seems like a spin on Microchip as he supplied the Punisher with help for hacking things as well as building new homemade weapons for the Punisher to unleash on evil forces. Microchip in the comics also tried to help Castle remain calm and tried to reform him of his ways of violent retribution.

Cover for Valley Forge, Valley Forge (2008).
Cover for Valley Forge, Valley Forge (2008).

Other possible inspirations from PUNISHER comics that are not as pertinent to the known characters from the comics can come from the following, as these deal with the Punisher’s past as well as general ideas that may serve to further connect the new show and the rest of the Marvel Netflix shows. That said, Garth Ennis’ THE SLAVERS (2005-2006) can be suitable material for the show to use. The comic’s story is about sex slavery and the criminal underworld that the Punisher loves to hate. This comic can be used to weave a storyline into Castle’s backstory of how he got started hunting crime in New York City. The Punisher can even come into play fighting the same characters Daredevil fought, such as the Ranskahov brothers who ran a Russian crime organization and even kidnapped young girls.

The Slavers cover, (2005).
The Slavers cover, (2005).

Another possible comic for the show could be Dan Abnett’s PUNISHER: YEAR ONE (1994). This comic is about what Frank Castle was like following the immediate days after his family was killed. Castle is a suicidal ex-Marine who wants justice brought upon criminals by the legal system for his family. Instead, Castle sees a mass amount of corruption that makes justice impossible, therefore leading him to take matters of justice into his own hands. This comic shows the development of how militant the Punisher becomes, which is now a part of the character’s personality. This comic also details the early relationship with his archenemy, Jigsaw, who they may use as a future villain in the show if and only if Billy Russo remains his friend. To me, this run seems the most likely choice to be used for the show. It sets a perfect light on how the Punisher came to be who he is after enduring such tragedy.

Cover for Punisher: Year One (1994).
Cover for Punisher: Year One (1994).

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Lastly, it would make sense to use Jason Aaron’s KINGPIN (2008) for a potential second season. As you may know from DAREDEVIL season two, Kingpin and the Punisher met face to face in a dramatic standoff. The Kingpin ended up letting Castle go, but the two promised each other that the next time they meet will spell the death for one of them. The entirety of the book would most likely not be used, since the book focuses a lot of time on the Punisher tracking down the Kingpin because he doesn’t even know what he looks like. That would need to be adjusted since the two had already met in the second season of DAREDEVIL.

The cover for Kingpin (2008).
The cover for Kingpin (2008).

With all that in mind, the confirmation of Woll portraying Karen Paige again, leads us to expect the two characters on screen together once more. In DAREDEVIL season two, the two characters were friendly with one another, but it makes you think of how and where the show will take these dark characters too. Ben Barnes playing Billy Russo will also make an exciting story for the show as Frank’s best friend from his army days. It will be interesting to see the direction they take his character since he becomes the Punisher’s biggest enemy in the comics. In the show it’s confirmed that he has an established private military company and it’s interesting to see where they twist that idea. Maybe they use the character’s company as a future evil ops to carry out Jigsaw’s bidding, similar to the hand in DAREDEVIL, or perhaps a mercenary corps, similar to Russo’s gangster character from the comics. It will also be of interest to see where Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s Micro will deviate from the comics version. It’s already confirmed that he’s a former NSA agent that may help Castle with his secrets, which seems to already be a twist from the original character’s hacker/gun tinkerer days. The truth is, with a talented cast and crew such as those on board, the show promises to be a hit, no matter what storyline they have lined up in their sights, or more appropriately, in the lethal sights of Frank Castle.

One Comment

  1. Kate

    November 7, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    You do understand that Frank Castle was never in the army, was never a soldier, right? Yet, several times throughout this article, you mentioned Frank’s “army days”? Frank Castle was no soldier (which is army), he was a Marine through and through. “Semper Fidelis” is even a title on one of the episodes in Daredevil Season 2. It’s also said numerous times in the comics. There IS a difference between the army and the Marines, and Frank Castle was certainly a Marine. I don’t mean to be rude, it’s just a detail that I see so many sites get wrong, and I think that needs to be corrected.

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