Although 2008's Punisher: War Zone was a box-office flop, becoming one of the lowest-grossing movies based on a Marvel property, the studio has made it clear that it thinks there's still life left in Frank Castle.
At Comic-Con International, studio President Kevin Fiege confirmed the Punisher film rights are firmly back in Marvel's control, and that he hopes to “bring him into the fray soon.” But how soon and where? And who might play the no-nonsense vigilante?
The answers to the first to questions might be a long while coming. Marvel may be considering a fourth run at the big screen, or it may be envisioning The Punisher as part of its ever-so-slowly developing television slate that already includes The Incredible Hulk, Cloak & Dagger and AKA Jessica Jones.
However, we just may have a clue as to who they're considering for the role -- and it's a very familiar name: Ray Stevenson.
The star of Punisher: War Zone, who plays Volstagg in Marvel's upcoming Thor, reveals he's had discussions with studio executives about the future of Frank Castle. “We have talked a bit," Stevenson tells The Playlist. "We have met about it. I would love to do it. We can definitely bring back Frank to the screen.”
“It’s way out of my hands,” the actor, who also provided the voice of The Punisher in an episode of The Super Hero Squad Show, concedes to Cinema Blend. “If it’s on my path to do him again, I’ll definitely do my best.”
Stevenson, who's best known for his portrayal of Titus Pullo -- essentially a sandal-wearing Frank Castle -- in HBO's Rome, was among the few highlights of Punisher: War Zone. So it's perhaps little surprise that Marvel is open to the actor reprising his role as Frank Castle. Whether that would be on film or on television remains to be seen.