Fans of Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle AKA The Punisher from the Marvel Netflix shows (now available on Disney Plus) may be surprised to learn that he is far from the first onscreen version of the character. There have actually been at least three movies about Frank Castle.
Firstly Dolph Lundgren played Castle in 1989’s The Punisher, then Thomas Jane played him in the 2004 movie of the same name. And then, Ray Stevenson took on the mantle in Lexi Alexander’s 2008 movie Punisher: War Zone.
Speaking recently at a Fanboy Expo Knoxville via ComicBook.com, Jane has revealed that there were a few different sequel ideas spinning around after he first played the character in 2004 that never came to be. “There were a couple of iterations of Punisher 2. One of them was with Rob Zombie directing, which I thought would have been interesting. But that was one iteration,” Jane said of the controversial horror movie filmmaker. “We were batting around script ideas and trying to find a new director. The Marvel folks wanted to go with a different director, and that was their choice, so it was like, ‘Who is that person going to be?'”
There was also another version of a sequel that was to be directed by Walter Hill, who according to Jane was a “was a no-nonsense, great action [director], but economical, sparse dialogue, he had a great sense of humour but he was really good with action. He’s a man’s man director, right?”
“We met and fell in love with each other and went to the studio. Walter said, ‘I’ll write it, and direct it, and that’ll be that.’ They ended up saying no to Walter Hill for reasons that are beyond my ability to comprehend,” Jane said. “That’s when I said, ‘If you’re not going to make the perfect Punisher film with the perfect guy, then who else do you got?’ They floated another director who hadn’t really done anything in that ballpark, and so that’s when I had to pull out. I had to say, ‘Listen, I’m not sure if you guys really understand what it is you’re doing. Therefore, the chances of f—ing this up are pretty high.'”
There are rumours that like Vincent D’Onofrio and Charlie Cox, Jon Bernthal might be returning to the MCU. While we wait to find out if that’s the case, check out our guide to Marvel’s Phase 4.