MOVIE NEWS – Daredevil appearing in Spider-Man: No Way Home has made many wonder if The Punisher is connected to the MCU. Here’s everything we know.
When fans saw Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, as Peter Parker’s lawyer in Spider-Man for the first time in years, they knew that the MCU would be the first time they’d seen him in the MCU. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, they finally got hope that their favourite blind crime fighter would officially be joining the MCU. Those hopes were only heightened when Vincent D’Onofrio returned as Kingpin in Hawkeye. Kevin Feige himself had already revealed Charlie Cox as his choice for the role of Daredevil before the character’s return. Now that the rights to the Netflix characters and their respective series are back in Disney’s hands, and Netflix’s Marvel series will leave the platform in March 2022, there is a growing belief that they will all soon be reunited with their big-screen heroes.
However, it’s not sure that all of Netflix’s heroes will make it straight to the MCU.
Frank Castle, portrayed by Jon Bernthal in Netflix’s The Punisher, is a famously violent hero – and we use the term “hero” loosely.
Frank leaves a trail of blood everywhere he goes, which is a concern given that the MCU has never been a particularly bloody place. Bernthal himself has said that he would only return to the character in the MCU if the studio stayed true to his character’s violent tendencies. Of course, with Cox’s Daredevil and D’Onofrio’s Kingpin, both Netflix Marvel characters officially entering the MCU, and with Hulu rumoured to be developing a new series based on The Punisher, everyone is asking the question: is The Punisher connected to the MCU? Here’s what we know.
Which Marvel series are considered part of the MCU canon?
Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio have reprised their roles as Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk respectively in the MCU, and both are rumoured to have additional appearances in the line. However, it should be noted that this does not necessarily mean that the Netflix series will become canon. The actors in the Netflix series may remain the same, but…
…rumour has it that the characters themselves may be rebooted to fit Disney’s lighter, family-friendly tone.
After all, none of the Daredevil characters have acknowledged the arcs seen in the series in their recent appearances, so they may not be precisely the same. Rumours have it that Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones will also appear in She-Hulk, which is set to launch on Disney+ later this year, and Jon Bernthal’s The Punisher will presumably also appear in Phases 4 and 5.
As for Luke Cage and Iron Fist, actors Finn Jones and Mike Colter may be out of luck as their characters may be recast to do a complete reboot of their source material. Understandably, they would want a remake of Iron Fist. The show has had poor ratings in both seasons, and Danny Rand’s character was rejected before Finn Jones was cast. In contrast, rebooting the character of Luke Cage would be a rather unfortunate decision, as the series has been much more positively received. It may not have been perfect, but it would have been well on its way to being a truly fantastic series had it not been cancelled. Fans disappointed by the speculation need not worry too much, as Kevin Feige has not ruled out the possibility of the Netflix series being fully integrated into the MCU.
Are The Punisher and Daredevil set in the same universe?
Fans of Daredevil already know that one of the main characters in the series’s second season was the Punisher. Not only that, but the two characters have historically clashed regularly in the comics.
The Punisher is a guy who puts an end to criminal careers by deploying a vast arsenal of weapons.
He believes that the only real way to stop crime is to stop criminals from committing evil acts in the first place. This is part of his philosophy of justice. Daredevil, on the other hand, has a strictly non-killing philosophy. Being a devout Catholic, Matt Murdock believes in second chances and sincerely hopes that those he serves justice to will find it in themselves to turn their lives around.
Their views on killing are not the only reason they disagree, but by their very nature, it is the most striking aspect of their rivalry. The Punisher is a unique adversary to Daredevil in that they disagree with each other’s heroic ways, but at the same time, they understand each other better than anyone else in the Marvel Universe. Frank has told Matt that one bad day separates him from being him, but despite their disagreements, he respects and admires him and his methods and hopes he never changes. Matt similarly admitted that his anger drives him to dark places; fans of the series have seen how he struggles to give in to his anger. Matt knows how easy it is to cross the line, as Frank did, but he understands that the world has made them both exactly who they are, and that’s why he doesn’t see Frank as a monster, unlike the other Marvel heroes.
Whether or not we will see Frank Castle in the MCU is still up in the air.
Disney’s interpretation of Marvel heroes has always been gentle and family-friendly.
If a character can’t be sold as a toy, then it may not have a place among the Avengers or their peers. Going back to the rumour that the characters are being rebooted and/or reimagined, it’s conceivable that someone else could take on the trademark skull instead of Jon Bernthal if they want to team him up with the likes of Spider-Man or Captain America. The actor himself has stated that he is not interested in playing Frank Castle if it is a toned-down version of the authentically violent character.
Bernthal may get his wish, as he is reportedly set to reprise the character on Disney’s more mature streaming service Hulu. There is no official confirmation from either Disney or Hulu that this is true. Still, it would make sense for the series, like the other Netflix series, to move to the streaming service, as it would allow them to live in the realm of the MCU while retaining their more gritty format. Keeping said arrangement may not prevent any of the characters, especially the Punisher, from appearing in other MCU projects, as Marvel Studios already seems to be pushing the boundaries of how dark and brutal they can be. The upcoming series Moon Knight is rated 14A for its dark themes, imagery and, of course, violence, albeit to a lesser extent than Netflix’s series. So, while nothing is confirmed yet, there’s a genuine chance that Jon Bernthal’s Punisher will enter the MCU in all its gunslinging glory, with only some compromises here and there.