Come-On Marvel Studios, Move Forward With A ‘Punisher’ Series!

Apr 10, 2015

On the heels of today’s official release of Marvel’s new Daredevil series on Netflix, gathering a rather large positive buzz from early binges. We’re shocked that since Marvel is still sitting on their hands when it comes to The Punisher, it’s been years since Lionsgate gave-up the rights with Marvel not really giving hints to what fans can expect from future endeavours for Frank Castle. A ground-swell from fandom has been vocal that they want either a cost-effective R-rated series or throwing him back onto the big screen. The former seems to be getting the overwhelming support from the fanbase and Marvel needs to understand now is the right time to move forward.

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It’s hard to ignore that the character is now relevant more than ever thanks to being heavily referenced in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, just happened to be the highest grossing domestic film of 2014. The character is back on the radar of audiences thanks to the film and Marvel shouldn’t let this go to waste. I’d also like to mention Sniper was an R-rated film, and we’ve seen a huge resurgence on the cinematic front of audiences supporting these types of films that are geared towards adults. Wake up Marvel! The the highest grossing domestic film of 2014 was an R-rated flick.

If they ever went the film route which seems unlikely due to their apprehension to develop R-rated material, if they developed a Marvel Knights off-shoot studio I think this could fix a lot of issues with Kevin Feige having to shelve some of their more mature characters. Fans and audiences are hungry for more mature material some of the most popular shows on television being The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, series that aren’t exactly family-friendly.

Marvel isn’t completely oblivious to the character as they made an animated feature Avengers Confidential, teaming Castle up with Black Widow, this remains to be the only feature related material Marvel has released since getting the rights.

 

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Story-wise there could be plenty of angles to explore perhaps spending a couple of episodes or flashbacks to his time in the military maybe in Afghanistan/Iraq similar to Lone Survivor or Generation Kill, possible links to the old S.H.I.E.L.D. and being former friends with Nick Fury. In more recent comics Frank goes on trial and there is even a bunch of comics where he’s thrown in prison, that could be an interesting angle depending on how much time is spent in prison during the Luke Cage series on Netflix. Another story has him training a protege named Rachel Alves. Even the location isn’t set in stone as just New York City, there is a current run of the comics where Frank is in Los Angeles and that could be a nice change of setting for a couple of episodes.

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Yann Demange

One director I think could make a totally badass Punisher movie or episode run would be French director Yann Demange, who recently gave us the thriller ’71 starring Jack O’Connell. A film that focuses on a young British soldier who get’s separated from his unit in a very hostile Belfast, Northern Ireland and is hunted down by the IRA. sort of lands that sort of grit and realism towards violence and that I think has never really been apart of the Punisher franchise. While I’ll sing the praises of Lexi Alexander‘s wild and intentionally goofy Punisher: War Zone until I’m blue in the face, I think a more grounded approach might be needed here even more trying to connect Castle to the MCU.

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If they wanted to go a little more tongue-and-cheek but without going overboard seeking-out directors like John Wick‘s Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. We know that Kevin Feige had attended a screening of the film very publicly, at the time Keanu Reeves had been in the mix for the Doctor Strange lead. The pair are currently attached to director Chris “Star-Lord” Pratt in Cowboy Ninja Viking, and are rumored to be in-talks with Warner Bros. about a DC Comics film. This is the kind of Marvel project they would be tailor-made for along with a Blade reboot. It’s hard to imagine a non-Batman DC film that could be as attractive to the directors as The Punisher or Blade. It couldn’t hurt to have them involved directing a couple episodes or at the very least having their stunt company 87Eleven Action Design work on the series or film.

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On the television side of things we’ve heard some interest from Daredevil showrunner Steven DeKnight about a desire to see Frank get his own series. I think that’s sort of an easy sell to Netflix but I’m uncertain if Marvel sees the character going that route. Let’s be honest here, I know a lot of people want a series and I’m in the same boat, but in the current climate of films like John Wick and The Raid there is obviously a market/demand for these more gritty action films as well. The grant advantage of getting a series going on a platform like Netflix it could gather even more steam for future films. We’ve already heard hints to film crossovers with The Defenders.

“I’ve been a huge fan of the Punisher comics for years. I’d love to see him get his due on a platform like this. Nothing would delight me more than to see the Punisher get his own show and maybe we could convince Marvel to go Hard-R rating. If any character deserves an R rating, it’s the Punisher.”

 

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Runaways and Iron Man 3 writer Drew Pearce gave us some actual Punisher Easter Eggs in his short All Hail The King setting-up the crime families and gangsters that Castle faces in the comics, as prisoners at Seagate Prison. Pearce is another person already at Marvel that I think could really breath new life into a reboot and give this character the proper adaption/introduction for the MCU.

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Director Joe Lynch (Everly, Knights of Badassdom) has revealed an interest when I mentioned him a while back as a perfect candidate to make a Punisher series. It wouldn’t hurt to have people like Lynch jumping-in and directing some of the more action focused episodes. Not unlike how film director Neil Marshall directs the more epic battle episodes of Game of Thrones. It doesn’t hurt he’s already dabbled with Marvel characters with his Venom short Truth In Journalism.

There are bunch of actors I’d like to see in the role and I know our very own Caleb would love to see Thomas Jane reprise Castle. I’m not in that mindset and want someone new that could really allow this to become a fully realized reboot.

Yann Demange

My number one choice would be to see Jon Hamm take the role, he’s wrapping-up Mad Men and hasn’t really found his footing with leading film roles. He’s got that ruthless edge to him that was shown-off in Ben Affleck’s The Town which Hamm really doesn’t get enough praise for. Don Drapper has his own dark-sides and I think this could relate in a different way with a character like Frank. Other actors that could make equally awesome Frank Castles include Joe Manganiello and the fan-favorite Keanu Reeves.

Now that I’ve gotten this off my chest I’m going to go and binge on Daredevil, your move Marvel make this happen dammit!

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