When it comes to creating seriously binge-able TV shows Netflix seems to have cornered the market. Hell, it seems like their entire business strategy for creating original content revolves around making their shows such must-see TV that if you haven't watched an entire season in one weekend then you're already behind the curve. And when it comes to Netflix's Marvel TV shows, things are no different. Netflix seems to be trying to build a huge slice of its original TV shows within the Marvel universe, and The Punisher is just the latest instalment in a rapid-fire cycle of comic-based TV shows that the streaming service has been putting out.
But there are a whole lot of reasons to be excited about The Punisher, because it looks like Netflix is taking one of Marvel's coolest, most interesting characters and magnifying his most extreme character traits for his own show. They clearly don't have any interest in softening any of Frank Castle's rough edges. If anything they want to make them even sharper and make them cut deeper. And considering the vast amount of source material from the comic books that the show has to work with plus the overall scope of Netflix's Marvel universe, it seems like the sky is really the limit when it comes to what they can do with The Punisher, but there are certain things that I think we might see in The Punisher's first season.
15 This Will Easily Be Marvel's Most Violent Show
I mean come on, it's The Punisher. The whole point of Frank Castle as a character is that he doesn't stop until everything he thinks needs to be destroyed is destroyed. And while his other Marvel Netflix superhero counterparts all have at least one legitimate superpower to their names, Frank's only extraordinary ability is his ability to kill, wound, or maim people. And while the cast and crew of The Punisher have said that their show is going to shy away from the more supernatural elements of the Marvel cinematic universe, they're certainly not shying away from the more gruesome aspects of Frank Castle's character that viewers are expecting to see. The early reviews for the show are in, and reviewers are saying that it's the most violent Marvel TV show by a long shot. Although, honestly, I don't think that was much of a bar for a character on Frank's level of violence to clear.
14 It Might Have So Much Carnage That The Release Date Was Pushed Back Because Of Recent Mass Shootings
If The Punisher comic books didn't give you the expectation that The Punisher TV show would be full of guns and guts then Frank Castle's introduction on season 2 of Daredevil certainly should have. But the lead up to the release of The Punisher has left some lingering questions as to how much over-the-top violence the audience should be expecting. Netflix has been extremely secretive about the release of The Punisher up until a few weeks ago, and many people were speculating that the company may have been planning on dropping the series without warning (early October seemed to be the most popular date to guess). But things took a turn after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. The Punisher had a few comic convention promotional appearances planned in the days following the shooting, but they pulled out as a sign of respect for the tragedy, and some thought that the show's premiere date itself was pushed back because of it too. I'd give Netflix the benefit of the doubt and assume they were just trying to be respectful. However, it could mean that the violence level on the show is really through the roof.
13 We Might Get Frank Castle's Backstory Before He Was Shot
The death of Frank's family along with a bullet to the head for himself is really what turned Frank Castle into the Punisher. And I think it'd be absurd to expect that this particular trauma wouldn't be explored now that Frank has got his own show. But this aspect of his characterization is also something that has already been covered pretty heavily on Daredevil, so if the writers don't want to beat a dead horse too much then they're going to have to delve into the parts of this incident that viewers haven't already seen on Daredevil, and since Frank is now the lead character, it only makes sense that The Punisher might show us who Frank Castle was before he decided to kill every criminal in New York City. And all of the other Marvel shows have done similar character development for all of the lead heroes in their shows, so it would be pretty unexpected if they didn't do that with Frank even though his introduction has already been covered really heavily on another Marvel series.
12 We Might See Daredevil And The Punisher Cross Paths Again
Before Frank Castle had his own series he was a character on Daredevil, so it would only make sense to see Matt Murdock show up on The Punisher once or twice as well. Plus, while I don't think you could exactly call Frank and Matt friends, Frank is really not much of a people person, and his relationship with Matt is one of the only relationships we've seen him have in the Marvel Netflix universe. Also, isn't the point of creating a whole Marvel Netflix universe to have overlap between the shows and have different characters show up at different places organically? Plus, Matt seems a little obsessed with Frank. It would be pretty unlikely if two vigilantes in the same city didn't cross paths once or twice, and as we saw in season 2 of Daredevil Frank and Matt are interesting characters to play off of one another.
11 We Will Most Likely Be Seeing A Lot Of Karen Page
It certainly won't be surprising if we see some characters from the larger Marvel universe show up in the first season of The Punisher, but one character we know is showing up for sure is Karen Page. She is featured pretty heavily in the promotional material for the show, and honestly, it makes sense for her to be a main character since she seems to be the only living person that Frank actually likes. And while she is one of the leads on Daredevil and is going through a lot of relationship drama with Matt, the chemistry between Frank and Karen could set a house on fire, and most of the audience for Daredevil season 2 took notice of that. And the Marvel Netflix universe is already pretty vast, but good female characters are kind of a weak spot for them, so including the female character who has probably had the best development in the universe so far is a pretty smart move.
10 We Will Get A New Villain And An Old One
Actor Ben Barnes has already been announced for the role of Billy Russo in The Punisher, and those who are familiar with the comics will also be familiar with the fact that Billy Russo ultimately becomes Frank Castle's biggest rival, Jigsaw. That certainly seems to be a good way to kick off the series, especially since Billy Russo shares a massive amount of history with Frank. It'll be interesting to see how the writers navigate his character's development since Ben Barnes isn't particularly intimidating (although he did kick some a*s as a villain on Westworld) and it's hard to imagine him rivalling someone like Frank. But he's not the only villain The Punisher is going to be tackling in season 1. Micro is another hardcore rival for Frank (even though their relationship starts as allies) and he's already been announced as one of the season 1 characters. While his character was offed at the end of Daredevil's season 2, we wouldn't be surprised if Ray Schoonover, a.k.a the Blacksmith, makes an appearance in flashbacks.
9 We Will Focus Largely On Frank's BFF (And Soon-To-Be Enemy) Jigsaw
But for a surprising twist on a Marvel super-villain, The Punisher is starting things off with Frank Castle and Billy Russo being friends who served in the military together. And, since the stills that have been released of Ben Barnes so far show him with a nice non-shredded face, it's safe to assume that Billy might not become Jigsaw until late season 1 or even season 2. And it would appear that The Punisher's writers are a fan of the whole friend-turned-enemy dynamic, because one of the show's other main characters is none other than Microchip, a longtime ally of Frank Castle who ultimately becomes one of Frank's biggest enemies. It'll be interesting to see which one of these relationships takes a turn for the worse first, and it'll also be interesting to see who the primary antagonist of season 1 will be. But either way, Frank's friendship radar doesn't seem to work very well.
8 We Will See The MCU's Fictionalized Take On The War In Afghanistan
When it comes to epic battles, the Marvel cinematic universe has primarily stuck to imaginary locations like Sokovia and fights with imaginary non-human invaders. But The Punisher wants to tap into the more realistic side of the superhero world, and when it comes to portrayals of war, it's no different. The Punisher's history as a war vet has tended to evolve in the comics to match what's going on in current events, so it's no surprise that this iteration of Frank Castle is a veteran of America's most recent war. And it'll be interesting to see how the show incorporates that element of Frank's character into the story at large, but it will also presumably be a part of the larger story and incorporate some of the other characters since a lot of The Punisher's characters are military or ex-military. It'll also be intriguing simply because there haven't been very many TV shows that have included the war in Afghanistan in their stories.
7 We Will Most Likely See Other Marvel Heroes
When it comes to crossovers, Matt Murdock seems like the most obvious pick for a surprise appearance on The Punisher, but let's not forget that there are now six Marvel shows on Netflix and every one of them takes place in New York City. With The Defenders Netflix really tied all of their main Marvel characters and shows together, with the exception of Frank Castle and The Punisher. Maybe it's because The Defenders preceded The Punisher, or maybe just because Frank doesn't play well with others, but it was a bit of a surprise that he didn't even make an appearance on the Netflix superhero bonanza. But even if Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or Danny Rand don't show up on The Punisher, it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see some of the other show's supporting characters appear in The Punisher as well. Netflix clearly loves pulling all of these characters and stories into the same world, and it would be weird if none of these people ever crossed paths, even though they're occupying the same ten square miles.
6 We Will See A Lot Of Good And Evil Military Men
If the death of Frank's family is the single most influential thing to his characterization, then his experience in the military is probably the second most influential. And let's be real. Without Frank's military training, the Punisher wouldn't even exist. According to The Punisher's writers, they really wanted to work with their overall themes of violence and what good and evil actually means within the show itself. It might seem like an obvious choice seeing as the themes of violence and right vs. wrong are really what define Frank Castle as a character, but it's clear that the writers are planning to expand on those themes to include a lot of different characters and storylines. It can be a really fascinating story to explore if they do it right. The rest of Netflix's Marvel universe has focused on the criminal underground of New York City, so tackling a superhero crime drama whose criminals are some of the most powerful and respected in society makes for an interesting change-up.
5 We Might Learn About Frank Castle's Deceased Family
When it comes to predicting what we may or may not see on the first season of The Punisher, actually seeing Frank's deceased family is a bit of a toss-up. On one hand, it would be a bad move to not see Frank's family when they are his primary motivation for becoming the Punisher, and this is a show about the Punisher. Plus it's fairly standard to see flashbacks for the main characters in Netflix's Marvel series, and aside from Frank's history in the military, his family is really all the audience knows about his past. But on the other hand, the storyline with Frank's family was basically Frank's entire storyline on season 2 of Daredevil, and Frank's literal destruction of his family home at the end of the season seemed like a pretty clear indication that he was leaving that aspect of himself behind and that no part of him was Frank Castle anymore; he was just the Punisher.
4 We Will Get A Bigger Storyline Than Frank Has Ever Had Before
This might seem like the most obvious point that anyone could make, but it's worth saying simply because it's so freaking awesome. Daredevil is a widely-loved show, but in season 1, many fans wanted more action, even though Vincent D'Onofrio is one of the best actors out there and Wilson Fisk was a more than formidable villain. For many Daredevil fans, the entire vibe of the show changed when Frank showed up. Daredevil viewers were often waiting for Frank to show up and kick some a*s again, and even as a side character, many thought he eclipsed Matt Murdock. That is huge, considering it is Matt Murdock's show. So now that Frank has his own show, it is incredibly exciting, and everyone is eager to see what The Punisher's writers and Jon Bernthal do with the character now that he's a lead on his own show.
3 We Will Definitely Get A Grittier Marvel TV Show
While The Punisher is going to dial back on the supernatural elements of the Marvel universe, it's safe to assume they're going to seriously amplify the darker, more violent aspects of the universe as well. Obviously if your show is about assault rifles and mass murder, it's pretty much impossible to avoid the grittier aspects of your fictional world. But something else that is worth noting about The Punisher is that all of Netflix's other superhero shows are at their core about actual superheroes, but Frank Castle really isn't a hero, and he's not trying to be. And starting with a baseline that is so ambiguous gives the show a level of flexibility that none of the other Marvel TV shows have, and it looks like The Punisher's writers are planning on putting that flexibility to some pretty good use. If Netflix was aiming for more grit, then they certainly picked the right character to take aim with.
2 We Might Explore How Frank Became The Punisher
This is another aspect of Frank Castle's character that seems to have been covered pretty heavily in Daredevil's second season. However, when the audience first meets Frank, he has really already become the Punisher, and we only hear about how he became that person secondhand. And obviously the main catalyst for his transformation into the Punisher was the murder of his family, but even with his military background, it's a bit of a stretch to imagine that he could go from a normal guy to a rampaging killer literally overnight. And Daredevil covered a lot of Frank's own twisted moral code, but they never explained what exactly made Frank start to think that way. Obviously Frank will already be the Punisher when the show begins, but it would be interesting if they retroactively explored how Frank got to where he is beyond just the death of his family.
1 We Will Most Likely See A Whole Lot Of Stuff We Won't Be Expecting
Seeing as the TV show has over forty years worth of comic book material to work off of it's safe to assume that we might wind up seeing quite a few characters and story lines that Marvel fans will already be familiar with, but I also think the audience should really be expecting the unexpected. I mean when it comes to it's Marvel TV shows Netflix has generally been really heavy on promotion and hype, but with The Punisher they've been super secretive and seem to have put off releasing any information about the show for as long as they possibly could. Even now when the premiere is almost here there seems to be hardly any info as to what exactly the show is going to be doing. I can't imagine that they've done that for no reason. But luckily for us the veil of secrecy around The Punisher is nearly over, and it'll be interesting if all of the cloak and dagger stuff was worth the effort.