With The Punisher currently filming in New York City, Marvel has now officially revealed the name of the character Ben Barnes will play in the Netflix series while also announcing the addition of two new cast members.
First things first. When it was announced a few weeks ago that Chronicles of Narnia actor Ben Barnes had been cast, fans assumed he would be playing Bobby Saint, the son of John Travolta’s character (from the 2004 Punisher movie), Howard Saint.
Well, nope! Barnes won’t be playing Bobby Saint after all, but rather Billy Russo, also known to Marvel comic book fans as the villainous (and Frank Castle’s archenemy) Jigsaw. As per Marvel’s official announcement, Billy Russo is described as “Frank Castle’s best friend from his days in the Special Forces. He runs a successful private military corporation called ‘Anvil.’”
Since we know he’s the bad guy in the comics, I’m sure that friendship will go south at some point (unless they pull a Baron Mordo, who won't be the villain but Benedict Cumberbatch's ally in Doctor Strange). So I'm really looking forward to see what the series actually does with him. We'll probably see him pre-Jigsaw days.
Also joining the cast is Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Girls) in the role of the Punisher's sidekick Micro, a “former NSA analyst whose secrets may be of great value to Frank Castle and everyone around them,” while Son of God actress Amber Rose Revah will play Dinah Madani, a “highly-trained sophisticated Homeland Security agent who is vexed by the Punisher.”
Acting as showrunner and executive producer is Hannibal’s Steve Lightfoot, who will pen the first two episodes of the 13-episode series, which sees Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) return to the role of Frank Castle. Bernthal first appeared as the Punisher in the second season of Daredevil, which premiered earlier this year (March 18), and pretty much killed it in the role. Marvel and Netflix agreed since they gave the green light for a Punisher solo series by the end of the following month. Lightfoot said in a statement:
“I’m really excited about the cast we're assembling alongside Bernthal as Frank Castle. I look forward to watching Ben, Ebon and Amber embody these characters and breathe vivid life into the story we are crafting for this season of Marvel's The Punisher.”
Recent filming pics (see below) have also revealed that Daredevil's Deborah Ann Woll will pop up alongside Jon Bernthal, which makes total sense since the two of them struck a friendship.
Marvel’s The Punisher will stream sometime in 2017. Whether this will air between Iron Fist and The Defenders (both airing next year, with Iron Fist set for March 17) or after remains to be seen.