Jon Bernthal cast as The Punisher for “Daredevil” season 2
Sometimes casting decisions are incredibly surprising. Who knew Robert Downey Jr. would be perfect to play Tony Stark? Then, there are other decisions that are initially good, but the end result is less than satisfactory. For example, when George Clooney played the role of Bruce Wayne, he had no idea he basically scuttled the entire “Batman” franchise in 1997.
Then every so often, casting directions are absolutely perfect; Marvel seems to have found that happy medium. It was recently announced that Jon Bernthal (“The Walking Dead”) will don the white skull of Frank Castle — aka The Punisher — in the second season of “Daredevil.”
Introducing the character as a foil to the titular hero of “Daredevil” represents a smart move by Marvel. For one thing, it means future solo Punisher outings will not require an extensive backstory; obviously we will learn about Castle’s past, but smart money is on Daredevil encountering a seasoned Punisher at their first meeting. If audiences receive The Punisher well, “Daredevil” could provide a backdoor pilot for the character in a similar fashion to what “Arrow” did for Barry Allen and “The Flash.”
Also, pairing Matt Murdock against a vigilante willing to kill in order to achieve his ends, highlights the ethical, moral dilemmas that the show already portrays. The showrunners have more room to play with Castle by keeping him out of the spotlight, possibly showing him as a gun-toting urban terrorist, rather than a hero of New York.
That’s what makes the casting of Bernthal so perfect: violence and volatility are the man’s bread and butter. His stint on “The Walking Dead” showcased his ability to portray a villain with understandable motives, and his turn in David Ayer’s recent film, “Fury,” showed his ability to play a damaged, imperfect soldier with whom audiences can empathize.
Perhaps, most importantly: while Bernthal’s star has continued to rise over the years, he has not gotten too big for “Daredevil.” To many, he is still a character actor more than a household name. The Punisher could come to define his career the way Iron Man defines Robert Downey Jr. or Wolverine defines Hugh Jackman.
What do you think of Bernthal’s casting? Will he make a good Punisher? What other characters do you want to see introduced to “Daredevil” next season? Comment below or tweet @connerws to give us your input!