the-punisher-2004

Why Thomas Jane’s Punisher Never Got A Sequel

Up until Jon Bernthal brought Frank Castle to such memorable life on Netflix, it looked as though Marvel would never be able to figure out how to make the Punisher work in live-action. Prior to Bernthal's casting, there had been three feature films made over the course of two decades, none of which managed to score decent enough critical or commercial returns to launch a multi-film franchise.

Up until Jon Bernthal brought Frank Castle to such memorable life on Netflix, it looked as though Marvel would never be able to figure out how to make the Punisher work in live-action. Prior to Bernthal’s casting, there had been three feature films made over the course of two decades, none of which managed to score decent enough critical or commercial returns to launch a multi-film franchise.

Recommended Videos

Dolph Lundgren got there first in the forgotten 1989 version, while Ray Stevenson’s War Zone endures as a cult favorite based largely on the almost hilariously exaggerated levels of violence, and how unintentionally well they play off the leading man’s straight faced central performance. Thomas Jane’s 2004 turn, meanwhile, is widely held up as the best Punisher movie, but a box office haul of less than $55 million on a $33 million budget was hardly great, although it did go on to do strong business on home video.

The-Punisher

A sequel was originally announced, with director Jonathan Hensleigh slated to return alongside Jane, and Jigsaw would’ve been brought in as the villain. However, after spending years stuck in development hell, Hensleigh eventually dropped out in 2006 before his intended replacement John Dahl also bailed, and the following year Jane revealed he’d walked away due to creative differences over the budget and tone, while Walter Hill was rumored as a potential candidate for the director’s chair and Kurt Sutter took a crack at the script.

Jane did eventually reprise the role in the unofficial 2012 short film Dirty Laundry, and he recently admitted that he’d be open to the idea of directing Bernthal as the Punisher. However, his tenure as the comic book vigilante was arguably cut short before its time, even if the financial returns weren’t as strong as the studio had hoped.


We Got This Covered is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article How did Julie Andrews lose her voice?
Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Read Article ‘Trap’ eyes an August release, and M. Night Shyamalan looks to have something special here
Read Article ‘One-Punch Man’ live-action release window, plot, and more
One Punch Man Saitama
Read Article Latest Marvel News: ‘The Fantastic Four’ casting twist upends everything we thought we knew as Chris Evans’ legacy is confirmed to live on in the MCU
Chris Evans as Human Torch in Fantastic Four
Read Article Review: ‘Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver’ is a nadir for Zack Snyder, and streaming cinema as a whole
1 stars
Related Content
Read Article How did Julie Andrews lose her voice?
Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Read Article ‘Trap’ eyes an August release, and M. Night Shyamalan looks to have something special here
Read Article ‘One-Punch Man’ live-action release window, plot, and more
One Punch Man Saitama
Read Article Latest Marvel News: ‘The Fantastic Four’ casting twist upends everything we thought we knew as Chris Evans’ legacy is confirmed to live on in the MCU
Chris Evans as Human Torch in Fantastic Four
Read Article Review: ‘Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver’ is a nadir for Zack Snyder, and streaming cinema as a whole
1 stars
Author
Scott Campbell
News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.