In case you missed it, the first official full length trailer for the Netflix series The Punisher was released earlier today. The explosive, blood-filled 2-minute look at the series was exhilarating and exciting, and it left us all eagerly anticipating the soon-to-be-released first season's arrival. However, it seems like both Marvel and Netflix are playing with us because, in true military fashion, the release date of The Punisher was blacked out from the trailer, just like it was redacted from all preceding posts and marketing for the series as a whole. For some reason, both Marvel and Netflix remain tight-lipped about the exact launch date, purposefully obfuscating something that is usually announced many months in advance.
It has already been a month since The Defenders hit our screens, a release that came five months after Iron Fist made his television debut. Now, Frank Castle is set to follow suit, albeit in a different manner -- because we don't know when!
With a marketing campaign that heavily focuses on surveillance and secrecy, it would seem that there is definitely a prevalent theme of conspiracies to the series, one that will surely be explored once Frank Castle fights the mysterious forces that would hunt him down and put him six feet under. This idea of the classified and confidential has been featured in most of the promotional material tied to the series, and it has created a certain amount of buzz around it as every Marvel fan keeps wondering why the release date of the series is kept a secret. Many are anticipating an official announcement any day now, but it just might happen that we won't know until it's already dropped.
Answer At NYCC?
Many believe that answers may come at the start of October, with the arrival of the New York Comic Con. The television side of Marvel always has a strong presence during NYCC, and this year is no different, with panels for both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Punisher scheduled on Saturday, October 7th. With executive producer Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory, showrunner Steve Lightfoot and star Jon Bernthal in attendance for the series' very own panel, it's likely that an official release date could be announced at that time.
Then again, it's just as likely that the panelists will remain true to the series' marketing and choose to remain silent on the subject. The idea of secrecy and conspiracies is really at the heart of the series and in keeping with that, it's entirely possible that Netflix will try something completely different with The Punisher. While all of their previous Marvel series (as well as other original series) were announced ahead of time, could Netflix simply drop the entire season of The Punisher unannounced, on any given day? With so many mentions of seeking out the truth and viral videos made to look like leaked security footage, Netflix and Marvel could decide to play the “leak” card and release the season on a random date, without any foresight on the public's part. Imagine the pandemonium that would ensue when fans would find out, throughout the day, that a full season of their favorite Marvel character has already been out for 12 hours, and they had no idea. Suddenly, everywhere around the world, to the suspicion of every boss, workers would be struck with an unforeseen illness, conspicuously forced to run home.
When could such a release happen? It's hard to say. Some believe that, in a one-two punch of excitement, the season could be released immediately after The Punisher panel in NYCC. But there is actually only one thing that we do know for certain, one bit of information that wasn't hidden along with the release date in the trailer -- the year of the release: 2017. Therefore, we know for a fact that the series will see the light of day in the next three months. Seeing as how the highly anticipated release of the second season of Netflix's own Stranger Things is coming at the end of October to tie into the oncoming Halloween season, we can rule out that particular part of the year.
Later Rather Than Sooner
With the end of October out of the Netflix question, the start of November also seems unavailable, since that will see the official release of another highly anticipated Marvel project, Thor: Ragnarok. Marvel wouldn't plan two massive releases such as these at the same time, without having one take away the spotlight from the other. Then, mid-December would also be an unlikely candidate, with the arrival of the hype-filled next installment in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi. With Marvel falling under the Disney umbrella, this also seems like a case of separating big event releases.
This would then leave us with a mid-to late November release as the most probable. Surprisingly enough -- or not at all -- November will also see the release of a new direction for The Punisher in the comic book world, starting with The Punisher #218 by Matthew Rosenberg and Guiu Vilanova. This issue will see the return to the old numbering system, and the first issue of The Punisher as part of the Marvel Legacy relaunch as Frank Castle becomes a veritable weapon himself by donning the War Machine armor. This timing could prove to not be for naught, seeing as how Marvel previously released new comic book series to tie into the arrival of their new television series, like new volumes of Iron Fist and The Defenders to coincide with their respective shows earlier in the year.
Then again, Netflix really could just decide to have to series become available at a completely random time. For all we know, it could even be released tonight. As unlikely as that might seem, there's just no telling when The Punisher series will be released. It could be on October 7th, or it could be at the end of November - or, if it's sticking close to established release schedule, mid-December.
Seeing as how both Marvel and Netflix seem to be toying with us, and seeing as how they don't plan on slowing down their marketing any time soon, we'd advise on checking your Netflix account every Friday morning, just in case. You never know. There's only 16 Fridays left before the year is out. 16 candidates. But only one will be right. Until then, keep an eye out. You might find that The Punisher series has already been released.