Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Marvel’s The Punisher.
In an exclusive first look at a new featurette going behind the scenes of Marvel’s The Punisher, showrunner Steve Lightfoot has been speaking about when The Punisher takes place.
“My version of The Punisher is outside the Defenders timeline, so I think it’s unique in that it’s very much its own story,” says Lightfoot.
The individual Defenders series — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Daredevil Season 2, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders — follow a timeline in which events sometimes overlap. This means that each series is pretty closely connected, with events in all of them having ramifications for the other series.
The Punisher spins off from Daredevil Season 2 and features Karen Page working as a reporter at the New York Bulletin already having met Castle. This gives us some idea as to when the events take place. So what does Lightfoot mean exactly when he says The Punisher exists outside the timeline?
Well, he seems to be suggesting that the series does not have implications for the Defenders and the separate series within the universe. Lightfoot is insinuating that as a standalone tale, it’s exactly that – a narrative that is “very much its own story”. By extension, this says that we shouldn’t expect to see any major knock-on effects going forward in any of the individual series. What Season 2 brings, of course, is another matter (assuming we get a second season), as we look forward to the impact of new villain Jigsaw, set up at the end of this first season.
Trust and Betrayal
The featurette also explores the background to the story explored in The Punisher in greater depth. Frank Castle – aka the Punisher – appeared in Season 2 of Daredevil where audiences were treated to snippets of his backstory. Jon Bernthal, who plays Castle, says, “The way that Frank Castle was introduced in the Daredevil story, he was very much reeling from personal trauma and I’m enormously grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to go deeper into that story.”
A major part of The Punisher involves the relationship between Frank Castle and the character of Micro, played by Ebon Moss-Backrach.
Bernthal says that tragedy unites Micro and Castle: “Micro is unbelievably smart, he’s got his own desperate, tragic situation. They don’t realise it but they’re both longing and in despair because of the loss or the absence of their family.”
As these two unlikely allies grow closer and trust begins to develop, the gap between Castle and a much-loved friend widens immeasurably, culminating in betrayal. Formerly stationed together in Afghanistan, after their return to the civilian world, Castle and one-time BFF Billy Russo find their paths diverging.
Ben Barnes, who plays Russo, says, “If anything was going to be worth something to [Billy] it would be his friendship with Frank. But it’s not. Because nothing is.”
Bernthal adds, “Which I think ultimately will make the betrayal all the more messed up.”
You can watch the featurette in full, above.
The Punisher is now available on Netflix.