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Jon Bernthal is returning to his most punishing role. The actor will reprise Frank Castle, aka antihero the Punisher, in Marvel Studios’ Daredevil: Born Again for Disney+, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Bernthal joins Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio in the series, which begins shooting in New York this month. In a departure from other Marvel series, which come in at six or nine episodes per season, Born Again is planned as a whopping 18-episode epic. Writers and executive producers Matt Corman and Chris Ord are behind the show, which is expected to bow in the spring of 2024.
Marvel could not be reached for comment.
Born Again takes its title from a landmark Daredevil storyline published in 1986, written by Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzuchelli. The show is deviating from that plot, although by how much is unclear. The Punisher, for example, made no appearance in the comic story. Daredevil versus Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, remains the focal point.
Bernthal first played the grieving father-turned-vigilante on Netflix’s version of Daredevil, debuting the character during 2016’s second season. He went on to headline his own series for Netflix, playing the titular character for two seasons of The Punisher, which spanned 2017-19.
Born Again follows Netflix’s Daredevil series that ran for three seasons from 2013-18. That was known as the Netflix era of Marvel television and was back when the series side was not integrated with Marvel’s movie side. Marvel TV, then run by Jeph Loeb, produced a number of series for Netflix, including Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist on top of Daredevil and Punisher. Netflix canceled its Marvel shows ahead of the late 2019 launch of the competing streaming service, Disney+.
Bernthal and his co-stars, it seemed, were done with Marvel. But in January 2021, Marvel boss Kevin Feige told THR he considered the Netflix characters to still be in play, and by the end of the year, Cox was revealed to have a cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home and went on to appear in She-Hulk. His Daredevil co-star D’Onofrio appeared in Hawkeye, and both Cox and D’Onofrio are key figures in the upcoming Echo, a series said to set the stage for Born Again.
However, other actors from the Netflix Daredevil series are not expected to return. Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson, who played classic supporting characters Karen Page and Foggy Nelson, respectively, are not on the roll call for the Marvel series. It is also unclear whether those characters will be recast or excised from the story.
Bernthal was already known to genre fans when he joined Daredevil thanks to his breakout role as Shane Walsh in The Walking Dead, and the Marvel role solidified him as a comic book favorite. In recent years, the actor has also appeared in the Oscar-winning King Richard and Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, while on TV he headlined the recent Showtime series American Gigolo.
In late 2021, Bernthal spoke with THR about the possibility of Frank Castle joining the MCU, and indicated he would hope to retain the darkness of the Netflix portrayal.
“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,” said the actor. “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.”
Bernthal is repped by CAA and Cognition.
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