Hundreds of new characters are being introduced by Marvel Studios in this new phase. The Eternals, which debuts next month, will include a cast of newcomers. Meanwhile, upcoming projects for the X-Men and Fantastic Four promise even more cast members. While many fans are looking forward to meeting fresh faces, others are eager to reconnect with old ones. Marvel TV shows like Daredevil, Agents of SHIELD, Luke Cage, and many more have aired all the way through. However, their characters have not yet made it into the MCU.
Prior to the 2017 release of Marvel’s The Defenders, five separate shows from the MCU have found homes on Netflix. Shows like these sometimes make references to events from the larger MCU. However, it’s now widely recognized that they took place in a parallel universe to the canonical narrative. As of mid-2021, Marvel Studios regained control of the distribution rights to these heroes, allowing them to appear in future MCU productions at their discretion. Marvel’s strategy for doing this is still mostly a mystery, but one Netflix actor has high expectations for a comeback.
The Punisher actor Jon Bernthal expressed his desire to return to the role in the main MCU chronology in an interview with Forbes’ Scott King. Fundamentally, Bernthal expresses appreciation for the chance to portray Frank Castle on Netflix for two seasons. The director is concerned about whether or not Marvel’s creative team can get it properly and make it grim enough before putting it into the official MCU. Here’s what he said;
“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.”
In Daredevil season 2, Jon Bernthal initially appeared as Netflix’s Punisher opposite Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock. From there he went on to star in 26 episodes of Frank Castle’s spin-off series. Bernthal’s desperation and tenacity came through in the character of a man out to get revenge on those responsible for the murders of his wife and children.
The Punisher, like the other five Netflix series, went to great lengths to portray violence and cruelty in all its forms. There were several villains Frank had to face, including Billy Russo, John Pilgrim, and many more. It’s obvious that if Bernthal were to return to this role, the narrative would have to have the same degree of grit to properly complete Frank Castle’s journey.
The distribution rights to The Punisher have reverted to Marvel Studios, but it will take some time before the MCU resurrects these characters and integrates them into the new canon created after the events of Infinity Saga. In spite of this, Jon Bernthal seems receptive to the notion of returning to the Punisher’s role. If he does, Bernthal will as long as he is given another opportunity to be the character himself.