Marvel's The Punisher was never meant to be a show that crosses over heavily with the studios' other series, despite it being set in Netflix's corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Speaking to SyFyWire, The Punisher showrunner Steve Lightfoot discussed the upcoming series -- which sees Jon Bernthal reprise his role from Daredevil Season 2 -- and how it was always destined to be a standalone project.
Asked why no other Defenders appear in the series, he said, "I think it's something that you need to talk to someone in Marvel about that because when I came in to take the show on, it was always very clear to me that they wanted it to sort of tell its own story and run on its own track and not really intersect with what was happening in The Defenders. That was part of the brief."
"I guess I could speculate on the reasons for that, but I think from what I understand the original concept for the four characters that became the Defenders was always the plan and the Punisher spun out of that," he continued. "But very much certainly when I came in the brief was always that it was to be its own show and its own thing separate from that."
Even though The Punisher does not continue the Hand storyline that culminated in The Defenders, there is still some connective tissue. Deborah Ann Woll, who played Karen Page in Daredevil and The Defenders, is part of the main cast. A new clip released yesterday showed her character pleading with Frank Castle to reconsider his violent nature.
The first batch of reviews for The Punisher were released yesterday, and it’s safe to say that critics have mixed views on the 13-episode series. CBR’s own review of the first six episodes found The Punisher to be a surprisingly thoughtful story about loss and grief, with Bernthal delivering one of the strongest performances of his career, and possibly of Marvel’s Netflix series.
Arriving Friday, Nov. 17 on Netflix, The Punisher stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Micro, Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Daniel Webber as Lewis Walcott, Shohreh Aghdashloo as Farah Madani and Paul Schulze as Rawlins, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in an undisclosed role.