TV Line is reporting that Chronicles of Narnia and Westworld alum Ben Barnes has closed a deal to board The Punisher, Marvel and Netflix’s upcoming spinoff that centers on one Frank Castle.
Little is known about the casting coup, and the fact that Marvel is yet to announce anything through its official channels at the time of writing means that you shouldn’t consider this a done deal just yet. If TV Line is indeed barking up the right tree, though, Barnes will star opposite Jon Bernthal’s unhinged vigilante as a series regular, possibly assuming the role of big bad Bobby Saint. First introduced via the 2004 feature film, at a time when James Carpinello nabbed villain duties, Saint is something of a left-field choice going into The Punisher offshoot series, but until we catch wind of more information, let the speculation commence.
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Besides, it’s still early, early days on the standalone series, with both Iron Fist and The Defenders series currently taking priority for both studios. Simmering in varying stages of production, Netflix and Marvel are aligning each new property for a premiere in 2017, before circling back to the well for new seasons of both Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Somewhere among that crowded lineup is a spot for Bernthal’s Frank Castle, though we’re betting that The Punisher is being reserved for a debut at some point in late 2017 or possibly early 2018, depending on how quickly the series falls into place. There’s also the admittedly slim possibility that Frank Castle could make the jump over to Marvel’s cinematic universe.
As for Ben Barnes, he’s already booked a recurring role in HBO’s imminent sci-fi series, Westworld. It’ll bow on Sunday, October 2.