The Punisher is a fictional antihero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Gerry Conway and artist John Romita, Sr., with publisher Stan Lee green-lighting the name. The Punisher made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (cover-dated Feb. 1974).
The Punisher is a vigilante who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture in his war on crime. Driven by the deaths of his wife and two children, who were killed by the mob during a shootout in New York City's Central Park, the Punisher wages a one-man war on the mob and all criminals in general by using all manner of conventional war weaponry. His family's killers were the first to be slain. A war veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Frank Castle (born Francis Castiglione) is a master of martial arts, stealth tactics, guerrilla warfare, and a wide variety of weapons.
The Punisher's brutal nature and willingness to kill made him a novel character in mainstream American comic books in 1974. By the late 1980s, he was part of a wave of psychologically troubled antiheroes and at the height of his popularity, was featured in four monthly publications, including The Punisher, The Punisher War Journal, The Punisher War Zone, and The Punisher Armory.
Despite his violent actions and dark nature, the Punisher has enjoyed some mainstream success on television, making guest appearances on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, and The Super Hero Squad Show, where the depiction of his violent behavior was toned down for family viewers. In feature films, Dolph Lundgren portrayed the Punisher in 1989, as did Thomas Jane in 2004, and Ray Stevenson in 2008. Jon Bernthal portrays the character in the second season of Marvel's Daredevil as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bernthal is set to reprise the role in the Punisher's own Netflix series.
At the San Diego Comic Con in 2010, Marvel Studios confirmed they now have the rights back for Punisher and they "hope to bring him into the fray shortly." In an interview with Bleeding Cool, Feige has talked about seeing the character appearing in a Daredevil reboot. In January 2015, Thomas Jane said that he does not want to return as the Punisher unless the script is right. Jon Bernthal was cast as Frank Castle / The Punisher, and debuted as the character in the second season of Daredevil and he's own TV series on Netflix.
The Punisher (1989)
He is the city's most wanted, and most mysterious, vigilante. He has killed 125 people in the last 5 years. He is The Punisher (Dolph Lundgren), a one-man weapon against crime. In reality the Punisher is Frank Castle, an ex-cop whose family was murdered by mobsters. Now legally declared dead, he strikes back from beyond the grave, killing mobsters wherever he can find them. As a result of this, the mobsters families have weakened, forcing Gianni Franco, the leader of one of the families, to come in and take control of the families. Franco has a plan to bring the families together as one unit.
However, this has attracted the attention of the Yakuza, Asia's most powerful crime syndicate, who decide to take over the families and all their interests. In order to sway the mobsters to their cause, they kidnap their children. Now the Punisher must fight to save the lives of the children of the people he has fought against for five years, while at the same time fighting alongside the man who killed his family.
The Punisher (2004)
After an undercover operation where Bobby Saint, son of corrupt businessman Howard Saint (John Travolta), is killed, FBI agent, and former Soldier, Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) retires. Howard Saint, holding Castle responsible for the death of his son, has his men murder Frank's family during a family reunion and leaves Frank for dead. Burned out and haunted by memories of his family, Frank sets out to avenge them and becomes a judge, jury and executioner known as "The Punisher", his trademark skull shirt being a final gift from Castle's son before his death. Castle sets out to punish Howard Saint and his associates in a one-man war, refusing to give up until those responsible are dead, including tricking Saint into killing his wife and head bodyguard by manipulating evidence to make him think that they are having an affair.
An extended cut DVD was released on November 21, 2006 with 17 minutes of additional footage, most of which revolves around the character Jimmy Weeks (Russell Andrews), and Frank realizing that it was his friend that sold him out to Howard Saint. Features also include a black and white stop motion animated scene, set in Kuwait based on and partially done by artist Tim Bradstreet, and a Punisher comic book gallery. An extended version of "In Time" by Mark Collie also appears in the closing credits of the extended cut DVD.
Punisher: War Zone (2008)
Waging his one-man war on the world of organized crime, ruthless vigilante-hero Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) sets his sights on overeager mob boss Billy "Jigsaw" Russoti (Dominic West). After Russoti is left horribly disfigured by Castle, he sets out for vengeance under his new alias: Jigsaw. With the "Punisher Task Force" hot on his trail and the FBI unable to take Jigsaw on, Frank must stand up to the formidable army that Jigsaw has recruited before more of his evil deeds go unpunished.
Ray Stevenson had expressed interest in sequels, hinting at Barracuda as a possible villain. At the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, when asked if he signed on for more Punisher, he said, "If I had my wish, it's going to run and run. It's up to the fan base. If this works, we get to do it all again." After the first film was not received well by audiences, the rights for the character eventually reverted to Marvel.
Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (2013)
The Punisher appears as a supporting character in the anime film Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, voiced by Norman Reedus. He was first seen hunting down a member of A.I.M. selling weapons to a buyer. However, Iron Man saves the member and gets answers. After that, Iron Man and the Punisher work together discover Ezekiel Stane being responsible for framing Iron Man for a crime he didn't commit. Hawkeye and Black Widow were given the order to retrieve Iron Man, but the Punisher helps Iron Man escape to find Ezekiel Stane.
Black Widow & Punisher (2014)
The Punisher appears as one of the main protagonists in the anime film Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, voiced by Brian Bloom.
Marvel's Daredevil Season 2 (2016)
The second season of the American web television series Daredevil, which is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, follows Matt Murdock / Daredevil, a blind lawyer-by-day who fights crime at night, crossing paths with the deadly Frank Castle / Punisher along with the return of an old girlfriend: Elektra Natchios. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films and other television series of the franchise. The season is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, with Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez serving as showrunners, and series creator Drew Goddard acting as consultant.
Charlie Cox stars as Murdock, while Jon Bernthal and Élodie Yung are introduced as Castle and Natchios. Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent D'Onofrio also return from the first season, with Stephen Rider joining them. The season was ordered in April 2015 after the successful release of the first, with Petrie and Ramirez replacing the season one showrunner Steven S. DeKnight. Production on the season began in July 2015 and continued through December, with the season focusing on the nature of heroism through comparison of Murdock to Castle and Natchios, and showing how the latter two affect Murdock's life.
The first two episodes of the season premiered in Paris on March 7, 2016, with the full season of 13 episodes released on Netflix on March 18. Critics praised the introduction of Castle and Natchios, as well as Bernthal's performance in particular, the season's action, and storylines. However, many missed the presence of Vondie Curtis-Hall's Ben Urich from season one, and D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk during the first half of season two. The series was renewed for a third season in July 2016.
Marvel's The Punisher (2017)
Marvel's The Punisher, or simply The Punisher, is an upcoming American web television series created for Netflix by Steve Lightfoot, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films and other television series of the franchise, and is a spin-off of Marvel's Daredevil. The series is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, with Lightfoot serving as showrunner.
The series revolves around Frank Castle, who uses lethal methods to fight crime as the vigilante "the Punisher", with Jon Bernthal reprising the role from Daredevil. Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Amber Rose Revah, Deborah Ann Woll, Daniel Webber, Jason R. Moore, Paul Schulze, Jaime Ray Newman, and Michael Nathanson also star. A television series centered on the Punisher received a put-pilot commitment at Fox in 2011, but that project fell through. In June 2015, Bernthal was cast as the character to appear in the second season of Daredevil. Development on a spin-off titled The Punisher began by January 2016, before the season of Daredevil was released. In April 2016, Marvel and Netflix ordered the series, confirmed Bernthal's involvement, and announced Lightfoot as executive producer and showrunner. Filming began in New York City in October 2016.
The Punisher is scheduled to be released in 2017.
The Defenders (2017)
Marvel's The Defenders, or simply The Defenders, is an upcoming American web television miniseries developed for Netflix by Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise and is the culmination of a series of interconnected shows from Marvel and Netflix. The miniseries is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, with Petrie and Ramirez serving as showrunners.
The limited series stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock / Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and Finn Jones as Danny Rand / Iron Fist, all reprising their roles from their individual series. Élodie Yung also stars as Elektra Natchios, reprising the role from Marvel's Daredevil. Development of the miniseries began in late 2013, with Cox the first actor cast in May 2014, and Jones the final of the title four cast in February 2016. Petrie and Ramirez joined as showrunners in April, after serving in the same role on the second season of Daredevil, and filming began in New York City that October.
The Defenders will consist of eight episodes, and is scheduled to be released in 2017.