Thomas Jane, who played Frank Castle in 2004’s The Punisher, wants to direct Jon Bernthal’s Netflix version of the character in a new movie.
Thomas Jane wants to direct Jon Bernthal’s The Punisher in a new film. Jane played Frank Castle in 2004’s adaptation of the comic book character, directed by Jonathan Hensleigh. Although the film wasn’t received well by critics, Jane’s performance was seen as a highlight in an otherwise bland adaptation. The character was rebooted in 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, another poorly received adaptation.
Bernthal made his first appearance as Frank Castle in Daredevil season 2, which premiered on the streamer in 2016. Bernthal’s performance was well-received and seen as leagues better than the previous adaptations. Netflix decided to give the character a spinoff and Bernthal led his own short-lived series The Punisher. The show ran for two seasons before being canceled by Netflix, but Bernthal has teased that a third season is still possible.
Speaking to ComicBook, Jane expressed interest in reviving the character. He said he would be willing to play Frank Castle again if the fans asked for it. Jane, who made his directorial debut with 2009’s Dark Country, also expressed interest in tackling a new film centered around Jon Bernthal’s version of the character. Jane cited audiences’ willingness for thematically darker takes on characters like the Punisher as reasons why the time may be right for a new film based around the character.
If the fans really wanted me back, and we could find a script. See, I think the Punisher, and the reason why I did the short, was that it hasn’t fully been cracked in a way that fully honors the character, Frank Castle, in a film. And I love what Bernthal did on Netflix. I think he’s such a great Punisher. In fact, I would love to direct a Punisher starring Bernthal, because he’s such a great actor.
Netflix’s The Punisher was only canceled because of Marvel’s restructuring, not because of the show’s reception or viewership numbers. In fact, most fans wanted the show to continue, with Bernthal’s version of the character seen as the definitive on-screen version. After the previous versions of Punisher failed, it felt almost counterproductive to so quickly do away with a version that was widely seen as the most successful iteration of Frank Castle yet. Unfortunately, The Punisher’s untimely cancellation seemingly closed the door on Bernthal’s Frank Castle. Still, all hope may not be lost.
With Charlie Cox reportedly reprising his role from Netflix’s Daredevil in the upcoming Spider-Man sequel, it seems as if anything is possible. Marvel is certainly expressing at least a little bit of interest in retaining the characters from Netflix’s shows. They were the most popular Marvel television adaptations to date. Jane could be the perfect person to bring the character back into the fold if Marvel were to move forward with something like this. With Jane’s experience playing Frank Castle, as well as his experience as a comics writer, a fresh perspective on The Punisher with the already beloved Bernthal in the role could be just what the character needs.