Season 2 of Marvel's The Punisher hits Netflix later this month, and Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) will be back with friends and allies old and new. He'll also need some new antagonists since he's already killed -- or at least hospitalized -- all of the old ones.
Filling the slot of the primary villain this season will be John Pilgrim, a devout extremist played by Josh Stewart. In an interview with Collider, Stewart talked about his own understanding of his character and what audiences can expect from him.
"John Pilgrim is a fairly quiet, still person," he explained. "On the exterior a man who is a Christian fundamentalist who had sort of a rage, a violent side of him. It’s buried deep. I think where this is all headed, that sort of side of him is going to resurface a bit."
Pilgrim's religious beliefs seem to be an important part of what drives him, although Stewart made it clear that they don't manifest as cultist behavior: "It’s nothing cult about it. It’s nothing like that. He’s just a guy who believes the word. He knows that he’s got to follow the word by the word or it would be too easy for him to go back to his old ways. If you’re gonna change you got to change."
What brings Pilgrim into conflict with Castle isn't yet known, but like any good villain/hero dynamic, they may have more in common than either will admit, even beyond their respective violent pasts. Stewart's take on both characters is "The greatest war is the war of the mind. It’s a constant fight. You can take that with so many characters in this world. What they’re doing today and the reasons they’re doing it completely contradict what they’re doing tomorrow. But it doesn’t mean there’s a wrong thing. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad or it’s good. It’s just what needs to be done in their mind, in their beliefs, in their way."
Asked about how the viewer can sympathize with Pilgrim, Stewart said, "I’ve played a lot of dudes that maybe aren’t the most wholesome. But before someone is whatever they are, they are a person. That comes from somewhere."
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.