Punisher Star Jon Bernthal Admits He Needs Marvel Return to Be Dark Enough

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Jon Bernthal, Punisher, Marvel Studios logo

Marvel Studios is introducing dozens of new characters during their latest phase. Next month's Eternals will bring an ensemble of rookies and projects in line for the X-Men and Fantastic Four promise even more additions. 

While many are anticipating new faces, some fans are hoping to see familiar ones. Marvel Television productions like DaredevilAgents of SHIELD, Luke Cage and more have aired to completion, but have yet to see their characters leap into the Marvel Cinematic Universe properly.

Most of these entries had a home on Netflix, which served as the streaming home for five Marvel shows before the heroes teamed up for The Defenders in 2017. Although these series reference events that happened in the greater MCU on occasion, it's become largely accepted that they took place in a separate universe from the canonical storyline.

In mid-2021, the distribution rights for these heroes made their way back to Marvel Studios, giving these characters free reign to pop up in future MCU projects. While it's largely unclear how Marvel is planning to do this, one star from the Netflix shows has high hopes for a potential return.

Jon Bernthal Talks Potential Punisher Revival

Jon Bernthal Marvel Studios

In an interview with Forbes' Scott King, The Punisher star Jon Bernthal explained how he would like to return to the character on the main MCU timeline.

On a base level, Bernthal shows a level of profound gratitude that he "had the opportunity" to bring Frank Castle to life for the show's two seasons on Netflix. As for bringing it into the canonical MCU, he wants to make sure that the team would be able "to do it right" and make it "gritty enough."

"As far as going on in the future, it’s a character that I really feel like I have sort of in my bones and in my heart. I’m really grateful that I had the opportunity, and what sort of happens in the future isn’t about whether they want to do it or not again. I don’t really prescribe anything to those kinds of decisions. It’s just about, if they do do it, are we gonna be able to do it right? Is it gonna be dark enough? Is it gonna be gritty enough? Are we gonna give the fans, and the folks that this character means so much to, are we gonna give them what they deserve? And if the answer is yes, man oh man, I would love that."

Bernthal Wants To Do Punisher Right

After first introducing the Netflix version of Punisher in Season 2 of Daredevil alongside Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock, Jon Bernthal found himself as the headliner for 26 episodes Frank Castle's spin-off series. Doing anything in his power to avenge the deaths of his wife and children, Bernthal brought a sense of desperation and relentlessness to the role.

As was the case with the other five Netflix shows, The Punisher went in-depth with its depiction of violence and brutality. Frank went to battle with bad guys like Billy Russo, John Pilgrim, and numerous other foes. It's clear that if Bernthal was to come back to this role, that same level of grit would have to be a core part of the story to continue Frank Castle's journey the right way.

Although the Punisher's distribution rights have returned Marvel Studios alongside his Netflix counterparts, it will likely be some time until the MCU reboots these heroes and fits them into everything being established post-Infinity Saga. Even so, Bernthal seems to be open to the idea of a comeback as long as the Punisher gets a chance to truly be the Punisher again.

All 26 episodes of The Punisher are available to stream on Netflix.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.