In just over two months, we will be introduced to Punisher in season 2 of Daredevil. Once Jon Bernthal makes his debut as the anti-hero, fans will have to decide whether we root for him or for Daredevil. Based on how everyone reacted to the casting of Bernthal as Punisher, it seems like he will have plenty of supporters no matter what decisions he makes.
This could be a reason why Netflix is reportedly looking to give him a spinoff series, but we will probably have to wait until he makes his debut to really learn if it is happening. While we wait for his debut, Bernthal talked to EW at length about the character and season 2 of Daredevil.
It was recently revealed that we almost met the Punisher at the end of season 1, which would have only made most of us love the show even more. For Bernthal, the first season is what made him interested in taking the part.
I was a big fan of the first season. I love the way the first season attacks the comic world and it did it with authenticity. And obviously this is a character that’s resonated for a long time. It’s an important character, it’s one I’m honored to play. This is a guy who means a lot to a lot of people and his character has resonate with law enforcement and military. People have been coming up to me on the streets of New York saying, “Do not mess this up.”
The Punisher is one of the most complex characters we will ever have in the MCU. As for how Bernthal sees the character he played, there are plenty of elements that make him who he is.
As a man who put his on the line and really went through the ultimate sacrifice for this country in his involvement in the military. He’s a guy who brought the war home with him [in] the worst possible way. There are a lot of iterations of this character and in all of them it’s a man who’s gone through this unbelievable trauma and what’s interesting about our take on him is how this trauma reshapes his own philosophy. I can’t give too much away, but what’s interesting is the way [showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez] have made his story a slow burn. It’s interesting to find this guy at the point we find him. You want an evolution and a process. He starts in one place and will end up in another.
Bernthal also went to extreme lengths to not only look the part but also have the right mentality.
The training and physicality is extremely important in whatever I do. Luckily I know guys in the military branch he was in. I trained with them and trained a lot with weapons. But with Frank, what was important was the emptiness inside him. He’s dealing with this unbelievable loss. There’s unbelievable anger and hatred and shame. There’s a sense of responsibility and as a father and husband, if I were to lose my family on my watch … I had to put myself in as dark of place as possible the last six months.
Especially at the beginning, what was powerful was a lot of isolation. The first few months I was taking long walks across the Brooklyn Bridge to the set, trying to shed any outside influence of joy. Whether it’s successful or not remains to be seen.
The first season of Daredevil showcased plenty of amazing fight sequences, even some of the best of 2015. With Punisher joining the fight this upcoming season, Bernthal was ready to get involved.
This stunt team, what they’re accomplishing puts them on a level nobody can compare to, in movies or television. They’re putting movie-quality fights — not just the intricacies and physicality, but there’s an emotional story behind every fight. What they’re doing in an eight-day schedule and we do in one episode, in a film you’d be rehearsing that for months. What they accomplish is staggering. I love physicality, I love fighting, I think the way a character fights and deals with adversity and danger tells huge amounts about the character. As this character develops into what he becomes, he becomes more violent and more raw.
Due to the morals, or lack there of, of Punisher, viewers will have a difficult time figuring out who to side with. This dilemma is something that Bernthal is excited to see play out.
One of the things I’m most excited for is I’m hoping the audience will go back and forth. There are things you can identify with and get behind,and there are things when the character pushes it and you can’t get behind him anymore. And that’s what I want. I think that’s the nature of the character. This is a guy who pushes the envelope. He’s brutal, but he’s coming from a place of unbelievable hurt. And the best thing about the character is he just doesn’t care. It’s a highly personal mission he’s on and if he offends you, it’s completely unimportant to him.
As is the case with all Marvel projects, everything is considered a secret from set locations to character names to what people had for lunch. He could not say much but he did give this tease about the overall scope of season 2.
Obviously secrecy is key to Marvel. I can tell you that this guy, horrible tragic things happen, and we will see how he goes through that. The effect the other characters have on him will push him certain directions. I think once you see these characters collide, it’s tremendously interesting and emotionally gripping as well. It’s going to be a special season. If you thought last season of Daredevil was dark, we’re going to a whole new place.
Did these comments make you more excited for season 2? Share your thoughts below!
Season 2 of Daredevil will debut exclusively on Netflix on March 18th at 12:01 PST.