Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’ star Jon Bernthal explains ‘deep dive’ into Frank Castle

Marvel and Netflix have built out their own serialized world of superheroes over the past few years, introducing characters like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage to millions of subscribers. The second season of Daredevil introduced Frank Castle, better known to comic book fans as The Punisher. And now Netflix is giving that iconic character (played by The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal) his own series. At at San Diego Comic-Con, The Punisher was introduced alongside the much-anticipated new series, The Defenders, which features all four of the Netflix series superheroes together for the first time.

“The Frank Castle that was in Daredevil is not in Punisher.”

Bernthal was on hand to talk about his stand-alone series. He’s the latest in a long line of actors to play The Punisher, including film adaptations starring Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane, and Ray Stevenson. Bernthal talks about stepping into this iconic role in this exclusive video interview from Comic-Con.

Bernthal was front and center as Marvel debuted the first look at the antihero’s standalone series to a packed crowd at the convention center. The clip features more of Bernthal’s tortured portrayal of the antihero that was an instant fan favorite on the Daredevil series. The devastation that drives Castle is shown through flashbacks of quiet time, with Frank playing the guitar with his daughter. She’s one of the ghosts that drives him on his revenge story.

The preview also reveals The Punisher in full violent glory as he tracks down and eliminates drug-dealing bad guys in Alabama (running a biker over with his van after shooting several others), San Juarez, Mexico (taking out a guy with a perfectly executed sniper-rifle shot) and JFK Airport (choking a sharp-dressed thug with his own tie in the bathroom).

Punisher

Bernthal is keeping mum when it comes to the actual plotline the new series will delve into, but at SDCC he told Entertainment Weekly, “With Frank and with the world that he’s very much involved in, he’s a soldier, so I think there will be very much a military component of the show. It will be somewhat centered on that … I think that [the] Frank Castle that was in Daredevil is not in Punisher.”

Co-star Deborah Ann Woll, who was introduced as Karen in Daredevil and has appeared across multiple Marvel/Netflix series, was also on hand to talk about The Punisher. She said the new Frank Castle series is more grounded than the other Netflix shows and offers a grittier story for Karen. Woll told Entertainment Weekly, “Frank has a soft spot in Karen’s heart, and certainly with the dark history that Karen has, there are very few people she can share her authentic self with. Frank is someone who she could potentially fully open up to.”