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A Preemptive Farewell to Netflix’s ‘The Punisher’

Season 2 of ‘The Punisher’ is coming in January, and it’s probably going to be the last we see of the Marvel antihero for a while.
The Punisher
By  · Published on December 18th, 2018

Netflix has revealed the first footage of The Punisher Season 2 in a compilation of teasers for their upcoming shows. While no specific date was given as to when viewers can expect Frank Castle’s (Jon Bernthal) next slaughter rampage, the streaming service did state that the new series is “coming soon.” Usually, that’d be exciting news — and it is, sure — but knowing that it’s probably going to be Castle’s swansong, the latest announcement arrived with an air of melancholy.

It was only a year ago that I was over the moon about The Punisher series. In my ranking list of the previous flicks and the show, I wrote that the future of the character as a screen presence was “looking groovy.” I was wrong. There I was living under the foolish assumption that Marvel’s ruthless antihero had finally found a long-term home following three botched attempts at movie franchises prior to the series. All I ever wanted was for Frank to enjoy some longevity in cinema and television. I thought Netflix was going to answer my prayers. But then the chain of events which saw the other Marvel shows fall like dominoes happened, and the writing was on the wall.

While The Punisher’s cancellation hasn’t been confirmed yet, it’s obviously coming. The only remaining survivors of the Marvel pack at the moment are The Punisher and Jessica Jones, both of which had new seasons confirmed before recent events transpired. After these new seasons have aired, the Marvel-Netflix agreement will come to an end so that Disney+ can hit the market with their Marvel IPs safely removed from the clutches of the competition. Let’s face it: Disney doesn’t want Netflix stealing potential subscribers. Especially now that every player in town has a slice of the streaming pie.

But that’s a shame for those of us who’ll likely support both services because want the best of both worlds. The Netflix Marvel Universe hasn’t always been perfect, but overall, the good has outweighed the bad. Along with Daredevil, The Punisher has been a foremost highlight, and I wish both shows had more time to shine. Bernthal brings a depth to Castle that no other screen incarnation has captured with such convincing madness and pain. Plus, he’s a convincing harbinger of destruction, and the show is gloriously savage at times. Unfortunately, there’s no way that Daredevil and The Punisher will be appearing on Disney+ — at least not in their R-rated incarnations anyway.

As Deadline reported, Disney’s upcoming streaming service will not include R-rated content. The programming will be consistent with the family-friendly nature of the brand, which leaves little room for The Punisher to bring the motherf’n ruckus to every no-good sucker that incurs his vengeful wrath. Appreciate every bullet storm and cracked skull that Season 2 provides, folks. If Disney ever allows Castle to return, he’ll be a neutered shadow of his former self.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that the new season of The Punisher will be subpar and the show will be better off canceled as a result. Based on the strength of the previous series, there’s no reason to believe that this one won’t give our ruthless avenger the emotionally charged, violent send-off he deserves. And with his arch-nemesis Jigsaw set to bring the antagonism, we can expect a final and very fitting showdown for the ages. What other treats are in store remains to be seen.

More Punisher would make the television landscape a better place, but one more season is better than none, right?

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.