The Marvel/Netflix series have always been grittier and more mature than the MCU movies, but The Punisher pushes the boundaries more than the previous five shows released on the streaming service. The other Defenders were even forbidden from taking part in it in order to keep its ultra-violent tone distinct and unique. All that said, it is still connected to the wider Marvel universe and even featured a few welcome easter eggs for fans to pick up on.
For instance, in episode 9 – “Front Towards Enemy” – Karen Page receives a threatening letter from terrorist Lewis Wilson while in her office at the New York Bulletin. If you draw your attention slightly to the left, you’ll see a couple of interesting framed front pages of the paper.
Check them out in the image below:
The first one’s headline reads “Harlem Terror” and features a blurry image of the Hulk. This is a reference to the climax of The Incredible Hulk, in which the Jade Giant fought Abomination. The next page, meanwhile, reads “Battle of NY,” which is a callback to The Avengers. Of course, Daredevil fans will have seen these papers before, as they were previously on display when the room was the ill-fated Ben Urich’s office.
Typically, the Marvel/Netflix series drop in a quick name-check of one of the Avengers – Hulk, Thor or Captain America are popular ones. Either that, or certain characters will refer to “The Incident” – the in-universe name applied to the Chitauri invasion of New York in The Avengers that left the city devastated.
The Punisher, however, steered clear of any such obvious nods and as such, these newspaper headlines constitute the only proper references to the events of the movies that are hidden within the show. That being said, there is an even sneakier easter egg in episode 6 that references Black Widow.
The Punisher season 1 is now available to stream on Netflix.