Netflix’s dark take on The Punisher hasn’t been out a week yet, but already producer Steve Lightfoot is fielding the inevitable questions about how the show’s first season sets up what might come next.
Although he admits it’s still too early to call, Lightfoot says he’s intrigued by the idea of letting Frank Castle have a run-in with a pair of characters from the Punisher Max series, as we watch and wait for Billy Russo’s revenge fantasy to wind its way toward a fresh Jigsaw origin story over the course of another 13 episodes.
“I haven't even thought about Season 2 … but one of the villains I love is Barracuda," Lightfoot said. “I think he's great fun. I also really like [Kathryn] O'Brien. I thought she was always really cool. Certainly those two jump out at me initially, but there are so many great characters there. It's a very fun sandbox to play in.”
As is the case with everyone in The Punisher’s universe, Barracuda and O’Brien have tortured pasts.
Barracuda grew up with an insanely abusive alcoholic dad — a guy with real masculinity issues — and later forged a gangster tie or two in prison after spiraling away from the Army, where he’d served as a Green Beret.
O’Brien did hard time in jail, too, thanks to a frame job courtesy of her former CIA coworker-slash-husband. And if you know anything about her bipolar relationship with Castle himself — and how it all turns out in the comics — then you know her story’s loaded with plenty of tragic possibilities.
Lightfoot stressed that everything, including which bad guys to install in Season 2, is still fair game. But establishing a plot line for an ongoing antagonism between Frank Castle and Billy Russo was one of the first season’s biggest goals — a move that definitely paves the way for Russo’s pivot toward Jigsaw.
“Once you decide to tell that story, you say, ‘Hey, we may as well make it Billy Russo and go on a journey where we build up this great character from the canon and the mythology, and leave ourselves in a position to go further with him next time, if we choose to,’” he told THR.
He added that “Billy is one of the few recurring villains in the canon. In terms of building character and hopefully having multiple seasons of the show, it's great to have someone you can come back to that the audience really knows.”
Check out our own take on Netflix’s reboot of Frank Castle’s anti-superhero here, while we wait for more news on where it’s all headed next.