Thomas Roach on whether The Punisher could survive Netflix’s Marvel cull…
This week we have been given our first proper trailer for Netflix’s The Punisher season 2. Now if you look at all the comments that fans are making about the show, we can assume shortly after the second season debuts on January 18th, it will be cancelled. In 2018, Netflix cancelled Luke Cage and Iron Fist, and even after a strong season 3, Daredevil got axed from the streaming service too. At this time The Punisher and Jessica Jones are still on the streaming service with unaired seasons, and whilst I think it is highly likely that Netflix will cancel both these shows, I believe there is a slight chance that The Punisher may live on to get another season.
With Disney launching its own streaming service called Disney+ this year, it appears that Netflix may not want to continue producing shows that promote the Marvel brand (which is owned by Disney). Netflix will be in direct competition with Disney+, so it also makes sense that Disney wouldn’t want Marvel shows on a rival network that make the competition money. At this time, it is unclear if Disney and Marvel demanded the shows be cancelled or if the decision came from Netflix itself. Some information from actors involved in the Marvel shows suggested it was Netflix and not Marvel and Disney that made the call.
Daredevil was rumoured to be getting cancelled at the same time both Luke Cage and Iron Fist got the axe, but with the third season being so well received by the audience and being the fifth most watched show on Netflix, this seemed unlikely. Nevertheless, it got the axe. However, I feel that The Punisher in particular may survive the cancellations of the other Marvel Netflix shows because the character would be deemed unsuitable to fit into a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, or to have a tamed version on the Disney+ network.
While people will quickly point out the other Marvel/Netflix shows had just as much graphic and adult content, I think it is important to remember who the character of Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher really is. He goes around killing criminals in brutal ways. That is the case in the comics and that has been the case in the other films. Whilst the other comic book titles and shows may have contained equally as graphic and adult content, they are more adaptable in being toned down for younger audiences. I’m not sure that even if The Punisher gets cancelled that Frank would ever show up in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie because of the horrific things the character does. And, as the version played by Jon Bernthal is loved so much, seeing the actor playing a toned down incarnation – or a new actor playing a tamer Punisher – just wouldn’t go down well with the audiences.
Disney+ will eventually feature all Disney movies as well as original content being created by various subsidiaries of the studio, such as Marvel shows featuring Loki, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, along with original Star Wars TV series and more. I assume that all these shows will be family friendly, in line with the PG to PG-13 level of content of the respective movie franchises. So, while it has been stated by Disney+ executives that a revival of the Netflix shows is “a possibility”, I imagine that if this is the case they would be tamed down or even rebooted entirely. Ideally, I would like to see the shows continue in some form with the same actors and crew, but I think it is unlikely.
Back to The Punisher though; here’s a show that would realistically have no place on Disney+ unless they start to make more adult and varied content for the streaming service. However, as the Disney brand is family orientated, this seems improbable and so I believe there is a slight chance that The Punisher could survive cancellation and live on at Netflix. Out of the Marvel shows that have aired on the streaming service, it certainly has the greatest chance. Whether that proves to be the case or not we’ll have to wait and see, but with season two set to debut on January 18th and a cancellation is coming, we will know soon enough.
Do you think The Punisher could survive Netflix’s Marvel cull? Would a tamed-down take on Frank Castle have any realistic chance of working on Disney+? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…