by Julia Vaccarella ’20
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, a franchise now owned by The Walt Disney Company, has successfully captivated a widespread audience. As we close out the 2017 year, it is evident that the media powerhouse will continue to generate new content. With unique characters and overlapping storylines, the fanbase has spread immensely. The Nov. 17 release of The Punisher on Netflix has further contributed to this upward trend.
The Punisher follows ex-Marine Frank Castle, played by Jon Bernthal, who decides to take matters into his own hands after his wife and children are killed. Castle becomes a vigilante with the intent to kill anyone connected to the death of his family.
The Netflix series has also adopted its own plot which follows the aftermath of Castle’s actions. Bernthal’s character had been introduced as the antagonist in season two of Marvel’s Daredevil, which underscores the franchise’s effective ability to blur the lines between good and evil, and challenges viewers to sympathize with Castle despite the violence that his character creates.
Like many other movies and television shows, The Punisher reinforces the idea that the characters within Marvel productions are all connected. This enables producers to create deeper characters and work from many different perspectives. Most notably in this adaptation of The Punisher is the presence of Daredevil’s Karen Page. The Defenders, which was also released on Netflix earlier this year, utilizes this technique as well, blending together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage.
In addition to the inclusion of Page’s character in the series, fans have also been receptive to the fact that The Punisher is very different from other Marvel productions. One subplot within the show includes the struggle that war veterans face in attempting to return to their daily lives after being in battle. Castle’s story in the show also extends far beyond what is portrayed in typical Marvel comics and strays away from the typical notion of a superhero.
With Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, the media outlet for the franchise may likely change. The Wall Street Journal states that Disney is in the process of creating its own streaming service, where subscribers would gain access to Marvel films and other content. It is unclear whether this would extend to shows currently running on Netflix, such as The Punisher, or if it will be specifically geared towards movies like The Avengers.
Despite the possibility of Marvel being pulled from Netflix, Disney is not expected to enact this change before its streaming service which is expected to debut in 2019. In the coming year, Marvel is projected to release additional content.
Season two of Jessica Jones and Iron Fist as well as season three of Daredevil are tentatively scheduled to air in 2018. Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War are set for release in theaters Feb. 2018 and May 2018, respectively.
Although the mechanics behind the accessibility of Marvel productions may be changing soon, it is clear that fans will still be eager to watch.