Frank Castle (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

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Frank Castle
Marvel Cinematic Universe character
Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle.jpg
A promotional image depicting Castle's appearance in the first season of The Punisher
First appearance
Last appearance
Based on
Adapted byDouglas Petrie
Marco Ramirez
Portrayed byJon Bernthal
In-universe information
Full nameFrancis David Castle Sr.
AliasPete Castiglione
TitleThe Punisher
OccupationVigilante punisher
Soldier (retired)
Reconnaissance marine
AffiliationCerberus Squad
United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance
Central Intelligence Agency
FamilyLisa Castle (daughter)
Frank Castle Jr. (son)
SpouseMaria Castle
Significant othersKaren Page
Beth Quinn

Francis David "Frank" Castle Sr. is a fictional character portrayed by Jon Bernthal in several of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) television series, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. A vigilante antihero dubbed the Punisher who means to clean up the streets by any means necessary, no matter how lethal the results, he was created for the second season of Daredevil (2016). Bernthal then signed a deal to return for a spin-off series, The Punisher (2017–2019), as well as potentially appear in any other Marvel Netflix series.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Television series

In the second season of Daredevil, Matt Murdock / Daredevil comes across Frank Castle is introduced when he has targeted some gangs in Hell's Kitchen, the killings for which he is dubbed "The Punisher" in the news media. After Frank is arrested, Karen Page investigates his past to find his motivation for the killings: his family having been gunned down in a carousel earlier in the year by members of the gang. After Daredevil helps Frank fake his death, he returns in the season finale to assist Daredevil by sniping the Hand ninjas attempting to kill him.[1]

In the first season of The Punisher, Frank has retired from being the Punisher, working as a construction worker under the name "Pete Castiglione". After uncovering a larger conspiracy beyond what was done to him and his family linked to Frank's wartime experience with the CIA-affiliated "Cerberus Squad", Frank allies with David "Micro" Lieberman to seek the truth.[2]

In the second season of The Punisher, Frank Castle is drawn into the mystery surrounding the attempted murder of Amy Bendix where she is targeted by John Pilgrim under the orders of Anderson and Eliza Schwartz. At the same time, Frank's former best friend Billy Russo is slowly turned into the psychotic Jigsaw.[3]


In February 2020, Adam Simon stated that he had previously pitched a Marvel Cinematic Universe The Punisher film to Marvel Studios set after the events of the Netflix television series, starring Jon Bernthal and Samuel L. Jackson, described as "Falling Down by way of Full Metal Jacket":[4]

"You got to let this thing live in R-Rated territory and it has to have the same grit and unapologetic boldness of Logan. In my take, we find Frank Castle as we left him at the end of the series, only now completely aware of the threat that superheroes and villains pose to mankind. So, Frank Castle has to go gunning for the person who he feels is responsible for the innumerable civilian casualties. The one who started it all by organizing these weapons of mass destruction to come together. Nick Fury. The twist is that Frank is being used, he spots the double-cross early at the end of act one. From that point on, we have a 3:10 to Yuma situation. Frank and Fury on the run from everyone, heroes and villains. It's 3:10 to Yuma meets L[é]on: The Professional by way of Winter Soldier."[4]

In September 2014, Anthony and Joe Russo indicated that the Punisher had a cameo appearance twice throughout their feature film Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), as a Penske truck driver who runs over two different Hydra agents, expressing interest in a Marvel One-Shot being produced about the character.[5] In April 2020, the Russo brothers confirmed that Castle had made another cameo appearance in Avengers: Endgame (2019), as a bystander in the distant background of a scene hit by a bench thrown by Bruce Banner / Hulk.[6]

Concept and creation

In October 2013, Marvel and Disney announced that Marvel Television and ABC Studios would provide Netflix with live-action series centered around Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage, leading up to a miniseries based on the Defenders.[7] In September 2014, Anthony and Joe Russo expressed interest in a Marvel One-Shot being produced about the character, following having the character appear in a background cameo appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).[5] In June 2015, Marvel announced that Jon Bernthal was cast as Frank Castle / Punisher for the second season of Daredevil.[1] Steven DeKnight and the first-season's writers had discussed introducing the character in a post-credits scene during the first-season finale, but were unable to due to the way that Netflix then-began auto-playing the next episode during the credits of the current one. The scene would have seen Leland Owlsley escape rather than be killed by Wilson Fisk, only to be killed by Castle, whose face would not be revealed, but whose iconic skull insignia would have been featured. DeKnight felt that this "was the right decision. I think there's a better, more organic way to introduce him to the world."[8] A spin-off series centered on Castle was in development by January 2016.[9] The series, The Punisher, was officially ordered that April,[10] and the first season was released on Netflix in November 2017.[11]

DeKnight said this version of Punisher would be "completely the Marvel version," as previous portrayals did not appear under the Marvel Studios / Marvel Television banner. He also felt Bernthal's Punisher would not be as "graphically violent" as in Punisher: War Zone.[12]


The Punisher season two showrunner Doug Petrie stated that Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver was an influence on the character, as well as current events, saying, "Taking lethal justice into your own hands in America in 2015 is tricky shit. We have not shied away from the rich complicated reality of Now. If you've got a gun and you're not the police you're going to incite strong feelings." Bernthal added that "This character has resonated with law enforcement and military ... and the best thing about him is that if he offends you, he just doesn't care."[13] Bernthal studied all the previous portrayals of Punisher, saying, "once you devour and eat up as much as you can, my way is to make it as personal as possible". On how Castle resonates with him, Bernthal said, "He ain't got a fucking cape. He ain't got any superpowers. He's a fucking tortured, angry father and husband who's living in this unbelievable world of darkness and loss and torment."[14] Bernthal added that there would be "a military component" in the series since Castle is "a soldier... [The series] will be somewhat centered on that".[15] He also stated that "the character that was portrayed on Daredevil season two was sort of the origin tale of how this guy became the Punisher, why he put on the vest."[16] Bernthal noted he "always want[ed] to preserve the essence of" Castle, who Bernthal described as "brutal", "damaged" and "tortured", by exploring "the pain and what's behind the violence and the reason why he's committing the violence" that is "utterly satisfying and addictive for him".[17]

Drew Goddard felt that television was the best fit for the character, as the writers are "able to do things on the small screen that fit that character better than if we had to water him down for the movies."[18] Petrie and Marco Ramirez talked about creating their version of the character following the film versions, with Ramirez saying, "even if you know the character, you've never seen him like this. That was the big thing we wanted. There are four movies, eight hours and four actors. We've seen this guy. We think we know who he is, but even we learned that he's so much more." Petrie said, "We hope to make people forget what they've seen before, whether they've loved it or not."[19] In order to get in the correct mindset to portray Castle, Bernthal trained with military members, along with receiving weapon training. Bernthal also "had to put myself in as dark of place as possible" to connect with "the emptiness inside" Castle, and isolate himself, including walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to get to set "to shed any outside influence of joy."[20] Rosario Dawson, who felt Matt Murdock behaved like the Punisher in Daredevil season one, felt it would "be really interesting to see how [the writers] differentiate" the two in the second season.[21] Describing the character, Bernthal said, "As a man who put his [life] on the line and really went through the ultimate sacrifice for this country in his involvement in the military. He's a guy who brought the war home with him [in] the worst possible way. There are a lot of iterations of this character and in all of them it's a man who's gone through this unbelievable trauma and what's interesting about our take on him is how this trauma reshapes his own philosophy."[20] Bernthal also talked about the character's 'superpowers', saying, "If I got one thing from the comics, I think, as far as superpowers... his superpower is his rage. His superpower is that he is not going to quit, and he is going to go forward no matter what. And that's as human and grounded a quality as I think as this sort of genre could have".[22]

Other appearances



Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2018 44th Saturn Awards Best Actor on Television Jon Bernthal Nominated [25][26]
2019 45th Saturn Awards Best Actor in Streaming Presentation Nominated [27]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Jon Bernthal Cast as Frank Castle in the Netflix Original Series 'Marvel's Daredevil'". June 9, 2015. Archived from the original on June 9, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  2. ^ Lindsay, Benjamin (November 8, 2017). "12 Reasons Why The Punisher Should Be Your New Favorite Antihero". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on January 3, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Mancuso, Vinnie (December 28, 2018). "'The Punisher': 30 Plot Details, New Characters, & Backstage Facts To Know About Season 2". Collider. Archived from the original on December 31, 2018. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Outlaw, Kofi (February 27, 2020). "The Raid Remake Writer Pitched A Punisher Movie To Marvel Studios". Comic Book. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Burcham, Cori (February 17, 2020). "Captain America: Winter Soldier's Punisher Cameo Explained – Was It Really Him?". Screen Rant. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  6. ^ Anthony and Joe Russo [@Russo_Brothers] (April 28, 2020). "Kyle: Was anyone on the receiving end of the bench throw by the Hulk?
    Russo Brothers: Frank Castle. #AvengersAssemble"
    (Tweet). Archived from the original on May 1, 2020 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Lieberman, David (November 7, 2013). "Disney To Provide Netflix With Four Series Based On Marvel Characters". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  8. ^ Bean, James (January 15, 2016). "Exclusive: 'Daredevil' season 1 coda almost introduced Punisher, says showrunner". hypable. Archived from the original on January 19, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  9. ^ Ausiello, Michael (January 16, 2016). "Punisher Spinoff Starring Jon Bernthal in Development at Netflix". TVLine. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  10. ^ Hibberd, James (April 29, 2016). "Marvel's The Punisher spin-off ordered by Netflix". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 2, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  11. ^ Patten, Dominic (October 19, 2017). "'Marvel's The Punisher' Gets November Premiere Date & Trailer on Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 19, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  12. ^ Toel, Frank (July 28, 2015). "Steven DeKnight Says 'Daredevil' Finally Features "The Marvel Version" of the Punisher". /Film. Archived from the original on July 29, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  13. ^ Hibberd, James (December 29, 2015). "Daredevil season 2 to have faster pace, Punisher morality debate". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 29, 2015. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  14. ^ Wallace, Amy (December 21, 2016). "Jon Bernthal Is the Tough Guy Troublemaker Actor's Actor Punisher". GQ. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  15. ^ Li, Shirley (July 21, 2017). "The Punisher: Jon Bernthal teases 'military component' of spin-off series". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  16. ^ "Frank Talk". SFX. United Kingdom: Future plc. November 2017. Article scan via Tumblr Archived September 18, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Huver, Scott (August 11, 2017). "Jon Bernthal Is Ready to Make The Punisher a Protagonist, Not a Hero". Moviefone. Archived from the original on August 13, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  18. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (September 28, 2015). "Drew Goddard on How He Would've Made the Sinister Six Movie and Comparisons to Suicide Squad". IGN. Archived from the original on September 29, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  19. ^ Radish, Christina (January 22, 2016). "'Daredevil' Showrunners on How Punisher and Elektra Shake Up Season 2". Collider. Archived from the original on January 23, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Hibberd, James (January 16, 2016). "Daredevil Jon Bernthal interview: 'Went to a dark place' for Punisher". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  21. ^ Nicholson, Max (June 18, 2015). "Rosario Dawson Teases 'Daredevil' Season 2, Potential Marvel Crossovers And The Punisher". MTV News. Archived from the original on December 23, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  22. ^ Goldman, Eric (January 17, 2016). "Daredevil: The Punisher and Elektra will Make Matt Murdock Question His Role as a Hero". IGN. Archived from the original on January 19, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  23. ^ Linden, Eric (July 5, 2020). "Eric Linden – Stunts". Eric Linden. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  24. ^ FXitinPost (July 5, 2020). "Skull: Punisher Reawakened". YouTube. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  25. ^ McNary, Dave (March 15, 2018). "'Black Panther,' 'Walking Dead' Rule Saturn Awards Nominations". Variety. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  26. ^ McNary, Dave (June 27, 2018). "'Black Panther' Reigns at Saturn Awards, 'Better Call Saul' and 'Twin Peaks' Top TV Field". Variety.
  27. ^ Mancuso, Vinnie (July 15, 2019). "'Avengers: Endgame', 'Game of Thrones' Lead the 2019 Saturn Awards Nominations". Collider. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
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