Netflix is seemingly making a habit of cancelling some great shows. What’s worse is that those shows never really had the chance to tell their full stories. Fairly recently, they have canceled the Dark Crystal show that premiered last year, which I loved, and before that, The Punisher. I loved the Dark Crystal show, I loved the Punisher show, and I loved the Marvel shows that was connected to it. Such a crying shame that they’re gone and we’ll probably never get the full story as to why Netflix cancelled them. Speaking of Punisher, however, the criminally underrated Jon Bernthal has recently implied that season three could still happen. Okay, it was more like he’s very hopeful season three will happen. He loved playing the character and he’s the best Punisher we have so far. Will he one day return to continue his masterful run as The Punisher?
Okay, I’ll admit right off the bat that I like looking for silver linings. As much as I want the show to be picked up by another network, I realize the chances are slim. Can Jon Bernthal actually return as the character? I think it’s possible, but his Punisher was never a part of Kevin Feige’s vision. Feige has always been adamant about keeping the Marvel characters under his supervision and I doubt Punisher will be the exception. If Bernthal will be recast, I find it almost impossible for another actor to top his stellar performance. He IS Frank Castle and I can’t get over how he perfectly embodied every aspect of the character. Needless to say, that’s why we Marvel fans want him back.
Well, Jon Bernthal himself is hopeful, so I suppose we should share that positive attitude. Just indulge my optimism here for a minute and accept that a third season is indeed coming. What exactly would the third season be like? The second season ended a great note. Frank finally decides to fully embrace his new life as the Punisher and takes the fight to the criminals. The dual-wielding the submachine guns and that very awesome Jon Bernthal yell made for the best final shot. He accomplished far more than he expected in the second season, saving a young girl from a powerful family, rescuing John Pilgrim’s sons, and even finally killing Billy Russo. He won against his archenemy, so who would be the brave soul to take on the Punisher next?
Well, Steven Lightfoot, the former showrunner, had a few ideas. First of all, I just have to point out my disappointment for how the show handled Jigsaw. The first season was a great way to set up the villain’s origins, especially since it diverted so much from the comic version. Billy Russo was never a friend of Frank Castle, he was a hitman for the mob, nicknamed Billy the Beaut, given his handsome features. He eventually crossed paths with the Punisher and he was thrown through glass face-first. At that moment, his face became horribly disfigured and he became Jigsaw. I liked how much more personal his relationship was with Frank in the show and they even served together in the military. Their final fight was beyond brutal and epic, but the kicker came when Frank disfigured his face. This would be the beginning of Jigsaw.
Before season two, I rightfully expected to see a ugly, mangled face that made Billy Russo near unrecognizable. Instead, I saw what he looked like and there were barely any scars on his face. It was more about his mind being scrambled like a jigsaw puzzle. Remember when Frank told him he would remember everything before destroying his face? Well, Billy didn’t remember squat. He did start his own street gang, which was a really cool way to combat Frank, but he gave it up to be with his therapist. Then he got shot, nearly bled out, and Frank came and finally finished him off. What a very anticlimactic way to end the story of the Punisher’s greatest enemy.
When I think of season three coming, I imagine a villain that can really challenge Frank. Billy Russo, until he became Jigsaw, was a personal villain for him and nearly killed him in a fight. William Rawlins was a enemy out for revenge and put him through severe torture. John Pilgrim was ultimately just a hitman, but he did give Frank a run for his money. The enemies of the Punisher have always ranged from the totally bizarre to the downright insane, so who could do better than the last villains. Steven Lightfoot himself once suggested that he had the villain Barracuda in mind. Just read one comic where Frank fights this villain and you’ll be creeped out instantly. I mean, he was created by Garth Ennis, so that should say it all.
Barracuda is probably one of Frank’s most insane villains. He began as a Green Beret, then a CIA operative, then returned home to become a violent gangster. This guy even snorted a line of cocaine from a severed head. When he first met the Punisher, he lost an eye and fingers on his right hand. And guess what? He still defeated the Punisher in a fight. He could’ve killed him, but he decided to bring him out to sea and dump him overboard so the sharks could eat him. The Punisher even mocked him for not preserving his severed fingers correctly by placing them on direct contact with ice without a plastic bag. Barracuda actually got a kick out of this and laughed hysterically.
This is the kind of villain that needs to fight the Punisher. He’s got a Joker-like grin, has a bag of wild animals for brains, and is incredibly durable. If you think Frank can survive just about anything, he’s really got nothing on Barracuda. The guy is basically Frank Castle if he truly lost it. Now that Bernthal’s Punisher is going after the criminals, Barracuda could very well be the leader of one of the gangs he tries to eliminate. Their fight would be the most brutal of all the fights on the show.
But I wouldn’t stop there. Remember when Frank took on a group of bodybuilding Russians? The last one who nearly killed him got it the worst when Frank caved his face in with a weight. I wouldn’t have his enmity with the Russians stop there, because one of his top villains is literally called The Russian. If you remember the 2004 movie when Thomas Jane’s Punisher fought that giant, muscle-bound hitman? That would be the famous Russian from the comics.
I actually had a theory that the bald Russian who Frank killed with the weight was actually related to the Russian we know from the comics. He could’ve been The Russian’s brother or cousin, but since Frank killed him, The Russian would be out for his head. If that bald Russian could nearly beat Frank to death, just imagine what the actual Russian could do to Frank using just his sheer strength.
These are the two Punisher villains I think would’ve given Frank a serious run for his money in season three. It’s just very disappointing these interactions won’t happen, but like Jon Bernthal himself said, he’s always hoping. I just hope to see him reprise the role again.