The latest instalment of the MCU arrives this weekend, courtesy of Netflix’s highly anticipated series, The Punisher (check out our review here). After the slight anticlimax that was The Defenders, hopes are high that this new show could equal Jessica Jones and Daredevil and avoid another Iron Fist debacle. That said, don’t tune in expecting to see something interwoven with the wider MCU, as Marvel has put the kibosh on any cameos from any of The Defenders.
Showrunner Steven Lightfoot gave a recent interview with Syfy Wire in which he laid out the restrictions that the studio placed on him:
“I think it’s something that you need to talk to someone in Marvel about that because when I came in to take the show on, it was always very clear to me that they wanted it to sort of tell its own story and run on its own track and not really intersect with what was happening in The Defenders. That was part of the brief.
I guess I could speculate on the reasons for that, but I think from what I understand the original concept for the four characters that became The Defenders was always the plan and the Punisher spun out of that. But very much certainly when I came in the brief was always that it was to be its own show and its own thing separate from that.”
Granted, Frank Castle is one of the Marvel characters that can get along quite well without crossing over with the more brightly colored heroes and villains. For one thing, supporting players tend to meet a bloody end the longer they hang around The Punisher and The Defenders‘ mystical ninjas and superpowers don’t quite jive with the semi-realistic street grit that this series is shooting for.
It also makes sense in terms of the over-arching plot of the Netflix/Marvel shows. We last saw Frank Castle in Daredevil season 2, after which he was perfectly happy letting the world believe he was dead and, with Daredevil also out of action at the end of The Defenders, nobody’s likely to be looking for him. Having said all that, at least one character is making the jump to The Punisher, namely Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page, who’ll be involved with Frank in some capacity over season 1.
The Punisher hits Netflix starting November 17th.