The Punisher is finally coming to Netflix, and fans are chomping at the bit to get any teaser, clip or piece of information that they can get their hands on about the series. Jon Bernthal immediately won over audiences with his complex, emotional portrayal when he premiered as the traumatized war veteran, Frank Castle in the second season of Daredevil, so it was only a matter of time before The Punisher got his own series, and now that moment is almost here. With The Defenders out of the way, The Punisher will show us what we can expect from Marvel Netflix from here on.
As you would expect with any popular character like this getting his own tv series, every trailer, clip, image or piece of news that has been released has added fuel to the fire of fan theories. Netflix has kept even more secrecy around The Punisher than usual, which of course has only driven fans more crazy with anticipation. We all want to know what kind of Punisher story we're going to see, what heroes and villains will show up from the past, and what will be teased for the future. Here are 15 insane Punisher fan theories (that just might come true!)
15 THE HALLWAY SCENE
Each season of Netflix's Marvel shows so far have had an iconic "hallway scene" from Daredevil to Iron Fist and The Defenders, in which the main character fights his or her way through an army of assailants. Season two of Daredevil even got to squeeze in two hallway fights, one with Matt Murdock going up against the Dogs of Hell, and one with Frank Castle going up against an entire cell block of armed prisoners.
Ever since one of the first teasers for The Punisher dropped showing Frank killing off an elite military unit one by one, fans have been speculating that The Punisher's "hallway scene" will be the covert forest killing scene from the teaser trailer. It makes sense that they would shake up the formula considering we've already gotten a total of seven hallway fights across five shows.
14 WELCOME BACK, FRANK
As soon as it was announced that Frank Castle would be getting his own series, fans have been speculating as to what Punisher storyline or storylines will be adapted for season one. Each Marvel Netflix season so far has been a mix of different stories as well as original ideas and The Punisher will probably be no different.
The biggest contender according to most fans is writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon's popular "Welcome Back, Frank" storyline first published in 2000. "Welcome Back, Frank" is one of the most popular Punisher stories of all time and heavily inspired 2004's The Punisher, starring Thomas Jane. Netflix would be able to better showcase more of the brutality of the comic that didn't make it to the movie for fear of alienating general audiences.
13 FRANK'S MILITARY PAST
It was never in question that we would get to learn a little more about Frank Castle's time in the military during the course of season one of The Punisher. It was a central part of his character and development in season two of Daredevil, so we were bound to learn more about that period in his life in Frank's solo series.
Based on what we've seen in the trailers so far, a lot of fans have been speculating that flashbacks to Frank's time in Afghanistan will be a large part of the story, similar to how Arrow spends a good portion of its runtime flashing back to Oliver Queen's time on the island. Since it appears that Frank's former teammates and superiors will play a big part in the present day story, this would be a great way to provide background for their characters.
12 MARVEL NETFLIX PHASE 2
The Punisher is an extremely significant step in the Marvel Netflix world because the original deal was only for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders. The Punisher only happened because of Jon Bernthal's wildly popular portrayal in season two of Daredevil.
Many fans are betting that The Punisher will be the first in a "Phase 2" of Marvel Netflix, similar to how the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the big screen developed between multiple phases. This would suggest that we might be getting a few new street-level heroes on Netflix that would have a hard time translating to a PG-13 environment. Of course, this could all end up depending on Disney's decisions regarding their streaming service and pulling the Marvel Netflix shows to their own service.
11 BATTLE VAN
In The Punisher comics, Frank Castle is well known for his "Battle Van," a heavily fortified black van fitted with bulletproof doors and windows, dozens of guns and weapons, and hundreds of thousands of bullets. Some of the trailers we've already gotten for The Punisher have featured Frank with a black van leading fans to believe that Frank will build his "Battle Van" in season one.
It probably won't be as outrageous and over-the-top as the one from the comics in Marvel Netflix's more grounded universe, but that doesn't mean it won't be awesome. Netflix has also shown that they don’t shy away from the violence and brutality of the source material, so you can still safely set your expectations pretty high and not be disappointed.
10 MOON KNIGHT
Ever since season one of Daredevil hit Netflix, Marvel fans have been relentlessly clamoring for one character to get the same treatment. Now that more characters than the original four are starting to get their own shows, the clock has been ticking toward Netflix introducing Moon Knight, and some fans are speculating that we'll get our first glimpse on November 17th when The Punisher drops.
He's one of the few Marvel characters just too brutal and too insane to work in the PG-13 MCU. Aside from having at least three distinct split personalities, he's also been known to brutally murder petty criminals and cut the faces off his enemies with moon-shaped blades. Moon Knight would be great starting off as a villain before Frank realizes they're kind of in the same boat.
We already saw the beginning of Frank Castle's former military unit starting to turn on him, but it seems that this may have been a long time coming. Short clips from teasers and trailers have shown Frank facing off against men dressed in military uniforms with automatic weapons. We've also seen numerous clips of Frank still in his marine uniform during these confrontations, suggesting that the betrayal by his brothers in arms began during the war.
A lot of fans have come to the conclusion that this storyline will continue from where it started in season two of Daredevil, and Frank will be hunted down by his former military unit while he searches for the truth about why his family was killed. His ex-comrades might just be the key.
8 THE DEATH OF FRANK CASTLE
At the end of season two of Daredevil, we saw Frank Castle walk out of the house he lived in with his wife and daughter before they were murdered. As he carries his giant gatling gun away, the house explodes behind him presumably to burn down and leave no trace of him behind. Many fans have taken this detail to suggest that most of the world believes Frank Castle died in that fire.
There's certainly some weight to the argument considering that one of the detectives in a trailer for The Punisher, says, "The Punisher? He's dead." Also, the episode doesn't give any explanation as to why he blew up his house anyway, and one of the few plausible reasons would be to fake his own death so the people hunting for him are temporarily thrown off his trail.
7 GHOST RIDER
Another immensely popular character from a previous show that fans have been hounding Netflix about picking up for a solo series is Robbie Reyes: Ghost Rider from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The character, played by Diego Luna, originally appeared in season four of the ABC show, and while fans immediately loved the character and Luna's portrayal, it was pretty obvious that he could never get very far on a family network like ABC.
Not only would the budget be out of control, but Ghost Rider is also known for being a bit on the brutal side, both issues that Netflix could easily remedy. Diego Luna has expressed an interest in returning to the role, as well as hinting that Marvel isn't done with the character yet. It's just a matter of when and how. The Punisher would be the perfect place to reintroduce him.
With the promise of new characters, you might expect that old faces wouldn't show up, but Netflix seems ready to really embrace the connected universe model with Karen Page joining Frank and Danny Rand joining Luke Cage. It won't just be new characters we get to see in season one of The Punisher. We might just be getting to revisit some of the old favorites as well.
Of the heroes we've met so far, most fans are in agreement that Daredevil is most likely to show up. While it's true that The Defenders left Matt Murdock injured and presumed dead to his friends and the world, the theory suggests that he will still be keeping watch over his city and he'll have an eleventh hour meeting with Frank Castle to give him some key piece of information.
5 THE KINGPIN
The first major villain we got to meet on the Netflix side of the MCU was Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin of Crime. Although he went to prison at the end of the first season of Daredevil, it became clear in the second season that he was still working behind the scenes to manipulate the crime world from within.
He also made an enemy of Frank Castle after manipulating him and attempting to have him killed, so it's highly likely that The Kingpin will be a big part of Frank Castle's story this season and beyond. The biggest theory regarding the character among fans is that Wilson Fisk will get out of jail during season 1 of The Punisher, leaving him open as a major threat in the third season of Daredevil.
4 BIG PHARMA
Some fans have been speculating that now that The Hand is pretty much out of the way for the moment, thanks to The Defenders, we are going to start getting our first hints at a new overarching big bad for the Netflix side of the MCU. However, it's possible that we may have already gotten our first hints of the next Marvel Netflix big bad villain.
Many fans are suggesting that the larger villainous entity will be IGH, the same company that gave Jessica Jones her powers, and developed the drug that caused Officer Simpson and Patsy Walker to gain superhuman strength and serious rage issues. It would definitely be interesting to see Frank Castle go up against villains with superhuman abilities rather than just normal mobsters and thugs.
3 HEARTS OF DARKNESS
You may have noticed that Frank Castle never showed up in The Defenders. This is because The Punisher doesn't really fit with the "no killing" philosophy of the team. He probably would have just killed Danny Rand the moment he learned Iron Fist was the key. This probably means that he won't be around for the next season of The Defenders either.
Fear not, though, Netflix won't leave Punisher on his own. Along with the prospect of introducing more heroes comes the prospect of a new, darker team. In the comics, this team is known as "Hearts of Darkness," which included Punisher and Ghost Rider, as well as Wolverine, who could easily be replaced with Moon Knight if Fox decides not to hand over the rights.
2 THE JACKAL
This is one of the more "out there" fan theories making its way around the internet right now, but could also potentially be one of the most exciting. The Jackal and The Punisher both made their first appearances in 1974 with The Amazing Spider-Man #129 written by Gerry Conway and penciled by Ross Andru. In that first appearance, The Jackal manipulated Frank into attempting to kill Spider-Man by convincing him that Spidey was a dangerous criminal.
While Spider-Man definitely won't be involved, The Jackal could still show up as a potential villain or to manipulate Frank into attempting to kill someone else, like Luke Cage, Iron Fist, or even better, a new hero that has yet to be introduced like Moon Knight or Ghost Rider.
1 MICROCHIP... VILLAIN?!
We've already gotten our first glimpses of Microchip from clips and trailers for season one of The Punisher, but his character is still heavily under wraps before the show premieres. In the comics, Microchip is a longtime ally of The Punisher as his "man in the chair" pointing Frank toward criminals and speaking to him through an earpiece. Then eventually, Microchip turned on Frank and became a powerful enemy.
Fans are theorizing that we'll begin to see this transition take place as early as season one and Microchip will begin his journey toward becoming a villain. We've already seen a clip from one of the trailers where Micro throws a punch at Frank, who dodges it. This might just be a misdirect as Micro is no match for Frank physically, but it could be hinting at a bigger divide between the two characters.
What do you think (or hope) will happen in Netflix's Punisher? Let us know in the comments!