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The Only Way Jon Bernthal Would Return To The Punisher

When streaming giant Netflix started cutting its exclusive Marvel shows loose in 2018, viewers everywhere made sure to voice their displeasure with their decision in any way they could. The premature loss of programs like Daredevil, Luke Cage, and the rather disappointing Defenders led to serious social media outcry, including the persistent #SaveDaredevil campaign that took over Twitter and the desire for the actors to make the leap to the big screen.

To many, these particular renditions of some of the comic book's greatest characters are their defining live-action portrayals, and are more than worthy of joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, losing their shows and their canon status means there's potential for widespread recasting down the line that might not live up to the previous incarnations. Fans remain especially vocal in their desire to see Jon Bernthal retain his job as Frank Castle, better known as The Punisher.

Arriving into the Marvel Netflix universe during Daredevil's second season, and later receiving a show of his own, Bernthal's take on Frank Castle immediately won fans' support, and for good reason. His ability to sell the Punisher's cold, unfeeling outlook on life while still maintaining his vulnerability as a mentally damaged war veteran was incredible and went a long way in driving fan outrage over his solo series' cancellation.

As of this writing, the character has yet to appear in any other Marvel media, but fans are hopeful he'll return to wreak more havoc soon, and that he'll once again be left in the capable hands of Jon Bernthal. Although, the Walking Dead alum recently stated that those in charge have to meet one requirement if he's to even consider bringing Frank Castle to life again.

Bernthal was very dedicated to bringing a compelling Punisher to life onscreen

The Geek House Show YouTube channel got the chance to sit down with Jon Bernthal, and first discussed his time as Frank Castle a bit, diving into his preparation to become the morally questionable Punisher. "A character like Frank Castle, he belongs to the hearts and minds of the comic book fans, he belongs to them first. For me, I have to go as deep into it and dig into the wound of it as deeply as I can," he said, commenting that while he doesn't consider himself a "method" actor, he does put a lot of dedication into his roles to create the best product possible.

Bernthal continued and shed some light on the key factor of Castle's backstory that made his version of the character so harrowing. "There's no way I could play Frank Castle if I wasn't a father and a husband myself," he admitted, mentioning that, "I think that until you really understand and know what it feels like to love somebody more than you love yourself, and be willing to give your life for them can you begin to sort of imagine what it would be like if they were taken from you." The loss of his wife and daughter is what pushes the Punisher over the edge, and these strong emotions make the character so resonant with viewers according to Bernthal. "I dig into that as much as I can." The Punisher's canonical origin story is a bit like a classical Greek tragedy that bleeds into an extended revenge story — so there's certainly plenty to mine.

Bernthal wants to give the fans the Punisher they deserve

Despite his short run (by Marvel Cinematic Universe standards), Bernthal's Punisher retains a pretty devoted following — so devoted in fact, that calls for him to return to the role have never really abated since the series' cancelation. 

When asked if there was any news he could give on a potential comeback as the gun-toting vigilante in the future, Bernthal teased that "there's always hope," and recalled the fan reaction as "unbelievably humbling." He goes on to explain that, should another run as the Punisher arise, "it's not about whether we do it, it's about getting it right, and doing the version that the fans really deserve, and we'll see," adding that "Frank's always there, he's always a part of me, and when we get the call to go, I'll be ready, and I'll make sure that I do everything I can to make sure that we do it right, or we won't do it at all."

As of this writing, the Punisher's MCU introduction still feels far off, though it's not out of the realm of possibility that Jon Bernthal could don the iconic black, skull logo-adorned shirt somewhere down the line — especially if fan enthusiasm stays high. Better yet, if he does, it's virtually a guarantee that it'll be the version that made waves with Marvel fans from the start.