After Disney’s takeover of Fox and subsequent acquisition of some very high-profile characters including the X-Men, Deadpool and the Fantastic Four, it was only a matter of time before Marvel’s slate of Netflix shows came to an end. Even though they previously existed in the same universe as the movies, which has now been wiped from official canon, with the MCU gathering as many heroes as possible under one roof it was inevitable that the members of the Defenders would be relaunched under Kevin Feige’s watch.
We’ve been hearing rumors for a while now about how Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the Punisher could make their return to the MCU, and although nothing’s been confirmed just yet, the smart money would be on at least a couple of the actors that played the title characters on Netflix reprising their roles, given how the MCU makes a conscious effort to avoid backlash from fans.
As a staunchly PG-13 enterprise, Frank Castle’s definitively R-rated antics would be tricky to incorporate into a family-friendly series, but the in-development Deadpool 3 could mark a watershed moment for the MCU to move into more adult-orientated territory. In fact, writer Adam G. Simon, who scripted the remake of Indonesian action classic The Raid that’s set to re-team director Joe Carnahan and star Frank Grillo, revealed that he pitched a Punisher movie to Marvel Studios before the Netflix series had even aired, and quite frankly, it sounds awesome.
“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 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 Leon by way of The Winter Soldier.”
An R-rated, Western-inspired buddy movie that takes place in the MCU starring Jon Bernthal and Samuel L. Jackson sounds incredible, and Simon went on to say how the story would also incorporate the likes of Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson and Natasha Romanoff, along with some of the Punisher‘s allies and enemies.
The TV show suffered from the usual Marvel/Netflix syndrome of stretching an eight-episode story out over thirteen, but this pitch sounds like it would be the kind of gritty, down and dirty genre flick the likes of which the long-running franchise has never seen.