When the curtains fell on Season 1 of Marvel’s The Punisher, it was tough to tell where the show could take Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) thereafter. He had avenged his family and killed the people responsible — well, except for Ben Barnes’ Billy Russo, whom he left scarred and suffering to become Jigsaw. A lot of this stemmed from Castle’s traumatic journey, introduced in the second season of Daredevil, now feeling complete. In fact, this sense of closure ran so deep that some even felt Castle should have been killed off.
Well, fast-forward to his eventual survival and a clean slate thanks to the FBI, and we get the swirling speculation of where Season 2 could go. Hint: it still involves Castle’s purpose as a man destined to protect innocents by any means necessary. With this in mind, a new casting has surfaced that may well back up theories that showrunner Steve Lightfoot is poised to explore Garth Ennis’ 2005-06 Marvel Comics arc “The Slavers.”
The casting under scrutiny is that of 20 year-old Giorgia Whigham (13 Reasons Why, Scream) as Amy Bendix. The character first appeared in 1994’s Punisher: War Zone #24 and helped hide the vigilante, nursing him back to health as part of the “Suicide Run” arc. However, her father, Harry, a county sheriff, found out about Castle and imprisoned him, only for assassins to then take Amy hostage in order to get to the Punisher. A regretful Harry had no choice but to release Castle to save the girl and, as expected, he inflicted extreme punishment, rescuing Amy before going on his way.
What’s interesting about Whigham’s casting is that her character’s been changed into “a street-smart grifter” — a far cry from the comics where she’s depicted as a naive girl with a mental disorder. Tweaking Whigham’s character makes sense though, because we’ve already got people patching Castle up in Marvel’s Netflix-verse. That’s not to say Amy can’t end up taking care of the wounded anti-hero, but we have to remember that we had FBI agent Dinah Madani’s (Amber Rose Revah) taking care of his wounds before he went off to apprehend Russo in Season 1. As for when Castle hallucinated Amy as his daughter in the comics, well, for most of last season he hallucinated his entire deceased family in the show, so there’s no need to really repeat that aspect of his mental trauma through him seeing Amy as his dead daughter.
This is where the other part of Amy’s character description — one which states she has “a mysterious past” — comes in. It actually matches someone who’d fit into an adaptation of “The Slavers.” This arc focused on Punisher cracking down on a sex slave ring, so repurposing Amy as one of these young, drugged-up runaways who ends up crossing paths with Castle would work. Upon encountering a hunted Amy, Castle could end up saving her only to endure injuries in the process, which she can then tend to as per the “Suicide Run” arc. In other words, Amy could now be more than just the Punisher’s version of Claire Temple, she could instead be the catalyst that trains his gaze onto the sex ring and its despicable customers.
While “The Slavers” seems the best bet in terms of narrative, there’s also the possibility Amy’s murky past could be linked to a feud with the Gnucci family, which Punisher started last season when he went on a rampage to save a co-worker. Either way, for Season 2 it does seem we’ll be getting an amalgamation of comic storylines. One thing’s for certain: whatever transpires, the Punisher will still be doling out justice in a very bloody fashion.
Available now on Netflix, The Punisher Season 1 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 Wilson, Shohreh Aghdashloo as Farah Madani and Paul Schulze as Rawlins, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Marion James.
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