In The Punisher Season 2, Frank Castle is fighting a war on two fronts. He won't just be battling Billy Russo and the mysterious John Pilgrim; he'll also struggle to come to terms with his own identity as the Punisher. During a set visit, Frank Castle himself Jon Bernthal discussed whether or not his character could ever truly find peace.
Asked what Frank is working towards in Season 2, Bernthal said, "Well, I think that's just it, man. I think it's discovering, 'Okay, so what's next? What's next?' I think Frank's a guy, like a lot of these folks that you speak with -- I know one of the big sort of influencers for Steve Lightfoot is Sebastian Junger and the book Tribe. To me, it's a really special book, a really interesting book, and -- for a lot of folks -- I think, when you suffer trauma, to be on mission, to have a direction, to sort of have an enemy that you know of and to be in it with like-minded people provides some sort of quiet from the storm."
"The monsters start to come in the quiet and when you have nothing to fight for and no direction," he continued. "I think peace, peace sometimes can be the most scary place for a lot of folks and, when you change people's circumstances, there's nothing now to take the place of this world that you've come to know. So I think that's a lot about what this season is about for Frank, is he sort of keeps getting drawn into this fight and he's still grappling with the idea of, 'Who is the real Frank Castle? Is there any peace?'"
"There's a military slang term called a 'shit magnet,' and I think Frank sort of finds himself as being that, that everybody he comes close to starts to get hurt and he has to deal with the fact that it's when he's not on mission, when he's not literally going after the worst of the worst, that's when innocent people start to die," he explained. "He's got to sort of grapple with that and I think that this season he is very much trying to figure out exactly who he is. I don't think he's ever been a guy who's been too concerned with finding peace of mind or finding harmony or finding love. I think he's, sadly, kind of at home in the blackness and in the darkness."
Showrunner Steve Lightfoot elaborated on how Frank's struggle with identity will impact Season 2. "For me, Season 1 was about Frank both coming to terms with the death of his family as much as one ever can and also his own part in that," he said. "I think, you know, a lot of Season 1 for me was about him admitting his own guilt. The acts he'd been party to were one of the reasons they had died, and so accepting his own part in that."
"I think Season 2, for me, is then about him realizing that -- in the end -- there's a part of him that is always going to be the guy who decides to fix things in a way that is beyond the law, and if I have to say what is the theme of Season 2, I think it's about him adopting the mantle of the Punisher," he revealed. "So, to that end, I think the threats he faces -- I'm not giving anything away when I say Billy Russo is back... in the show, and that always leaves a very, very emotional antagonist. They're brothers who are now enemies."
"Then, against that, we also have a new storyline and so a new antagonist that he hates that is much more of a -- it isn't personal when it begins, you know? And it becomes personal as we go. So I think the fun of this season for me, as much as anything, is sort of making it bigger and, this season, he's fighting a war on two fronts," he teased.
Arriving on Netflix in January, The Punisher Season 2 stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Jason R. Moore as Curtis Hoyle, Josh Stewart as John Pilgrim, Floriana Lima as Krista Dumont and Giorgia Whigham as Amy Bendix.