Jon Bernthal has become so accustomed to being asked about a potential return as the Punisher anytime he hits the interview circuit that the actor has a series of bullet points and quotes that he likes to pull out almost every time.
Among them are his admission that Frank Castle will always be in his bones, his desire to see the character treated in the right way were he to make a comeback, and the fact that he’s eternally grateful to the fans who keep pushing for the street-level vigilante to be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Countless rumors have claimed that a deal is done, with a myriad of conflicting information making the rounds about a PG-13 or R-rated Punisher coming to the big screen, Disney Plus or Hulu, but as things stand Bernthal isn’t under contract to throw on his bulletproof vest and turn the New York City underworld into a gloopy paste of blood and guts.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Bernthal reiterated several of his favored flashpoints when discussing the Punisher, but admitted that he’s not sure if the violent cult favorite would work in the family-friendly MCU.
“I was really grateful, respectful and weary of the places where that role took me and the world in which I had to live in. That being said, that’s where that character needs to be. It needs to be a level of darkness. I think if there’s any let up on that character, you do a disservice to the character, to every iteration of the character, to every comic book that’s come before, and to all of the unbelievable fans of the character. This character means so much to people in the military. So like I said before, it’s not about whether you do the character; it’s about whether you can do it right, and I’m only interested in doing it right.”
The short answer is that no, the Punisher most definitely doesn’t work in PG-13, which would effectively neuter and water down the part to an unrecognizable degree. Deadpool 3 will be R-rated, though, so maybe there’s hope yet.