Frank Castle isn't new to the Marvel Netflix Universe, but he is getting his own full season starring role in The Punisher Season 1, premiering Nov. 17. The Netflix spinoff series joins many other television shows, including five others on the streaming service, that contribute to Marvel's far-reaching franchise. The Punisher's series debut is great news for any fans who found Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) compelling during his appearance in Season 2 of Daredevil, but are those fans enough to keep the show alive past Season 1? He'll have to stand on his own if fans are to see Season 2 of The Punisher.
UPDATE: Marvel announced via Twitter on Dec. 12 that The Punisher is renewed for Season 2. There is no premiere date as of yet.
EARLIER: The creation of the Marvel Netflix Universe, a subsection of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, was an attempt to see if the success of Marvel films could be replicated on television. Just as Iron Man and other preceding solo hero films teased the superhero team-up The Avengers, on TV, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist were meant to be brought together to form The Defenders. But along the way, Marvel snuck in another popular character who, while not being a Defender, also left a major mark on the franchise. If The Punisher does come back for a second season, those in charge of the Marvel Netflix Universe will have to figure out just how the series and the character fit into the bigger picture.
Marvel's track record for having its series renewed by Netflix is currently perfect. Daredevil premiered its second season in 2016, with a third on the way. Jessica Jones Season 2 will premiere in 2018, and Luke Cage and Iron Fist will also be returning to the streaming platform for second seasons. The Defenders hasn't been confirmed for a second installment yet, but there's a chance that it was always meant to serve as a one-time crossover event. Following the precedent that Netflix has set, it seems all but guaranteed that The Punisher will be getting a second season.
In a way, the debut season of The Punisher feels like a series already in progress. Frank Castle was a major character throughout Season 2 of Daredevil, and the character of Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) is joining Frank in the series that bears his alter-ego's name. The Punisher will be building upon the foundation established in Daredevil — which is an approach to character that Marvel introduced with the character of Luke Cage. Luke Cage, before starring in his own series, was introduced as a supporting character in Jessica Jones. Considering that this approach has resulted in two seasons of Luke Cage and a major role in The Defenders, it seems that Frank Castle is on track to play a major role in future Marvel Netflix installments too.
However, that doesn't mean that there aren't obstacles affecting when Season 2 will be released. Out of respect for the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting, The Punisher panel at New York Comic-Con 2017 was canceled. The uncomfortable parallels between the gun violence portrayed in the series and the gun violence that plagues the U.S., some question whether or not there is a place in the world currently for something like The Punisher. It will be interesting to see how audiences and critics respond to the first season.
At the end of the day, the future of the show all comes down to whether or not enough people watch The Punisher. If The Punisher isn't renewed on its own, there's still a chance that Frank will show up in Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, or whatever the next iteration of The Defenders is. The fate of his solo series is yet to be decided, but chances are that Frank Castle is here to stay.