Up until Jon Bernthal arrived on the scene, fans were doubting if the Punisher would ever be done justice in live-action. Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson had each headlined a feature film focusing on the comic book vigilante, but none of them proved critically or commercially successful enough to get a sequel.
As it turned out, television was the ideal method for bringing Frank Castle into the mix for a fourth time, with the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil debuting Bernthal as the character, where he instantly gained a reputation as the best version of the haunted ex-solider we’d ever seen.
The actor ended up getting his own solo series that ran for two seasons, and the speculation that he could be in line for a Marvel Cinematic Universe return has never gone away since the show was canceled. In a new interview with Forbes, Bernthal revealed what drew him to the role in the first place.
“Number one, the first reason why I really wanted to be on that show, on Daredevil, is because I saw Charlie Cox’s monologue in the first episode of the show and I saw the way in which they were approaching the work and I said, ‘This is a world I really wanna play in’. And then I saw Vincent D’Onofrio and I was like, holy crap, I gotta be a part of this. And then I dove into who Frank Castle was in The Punisher.
It’s a character that’s had a deep, deep resonance with the comic book community, with the law enforcement community, with the military community; these are communities I care a deep, deep, deep amount about. I looked at playing Frank as, you know, a real responsibility to those communities. And if they are behind it and think that I got it right, it’s humbling and I’m full of gratitude for it.”
Daredevil‘s opening run of episodes set the template the rest of the streaming lineup would follow, and Bernthal is right to laud the performances of Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio for drawing him into the world, with the duo’s arch-nemeses Matt Murdock and Wilson Fix one of the small screen Marvel universe’s most popular aspects and major selling points.
All three have been heavily linked with joining the MCU, but we’ll just have to wait and see if Bernthal gets his wish to strap on the Punisher‘s bulletproof vest again.