Why 'The Punisher' Could Take His Brand Of Justice Elsewhere After Season 2

Cara Howe/Netflix

Spoilers for The Punisher ahead. Frank Castle is back at it again in the return of The Punisher, once again learning that he can't escape his past and what his past has made him. The end of Season 2 returns Frank to his vigilante mantle, but what comes next? Will The Punisher be canceled? It's not looking good for a Season 3, but Netflix has not made a decision either way at this time.

UPDATE: In February 2019, Netflix announced it was canceling The Punisher.

I honestly don't know what to tell you about the fate of The Punisher, or any of the heroes in this connected universe. Netflix's brutal cancellation of Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Iron Fist in 2018 kind of gobsmacked me. These stories were cut short as abruptly as if Thanos himself has snapped his bedazzled fingers. Luke Cage Season 2 ended in a particularly dark place that, if left unresolved, is such a bummer for fans of Harlem's hero. Iron Fist only had two seasons, with a shortened second outing and a cliffhanger that was actually really exciting and made me want more. It got really, really good, and now it's gone forever. Daredevil ended its third season with a happy ending for the heroes involved, but the rise of a new villain.

Cara Howe/Netflix

Is Frank Castle the next hero to fade away, America's Next Top Model-style, from this lineup? There aren't many major cliffhangers at the end of The Punisher Season 2. Frank's bested his nemesis, and acquired some kind of understanding with the feds that allows him to continue being judge, jury, and executioner for criminals in New York City. It's enough closure for the story to be over, though the character could always face some new threat or team up with another hero.

Speaking of team ups, here's what Daredevil and The Punisher actor Deborah Ann Woll tweeted about the fate of her role in this connected universe, though even she is optimistic about the future of The Punisher as a series even if Karen Page is not involved:

The only reason I think this character might survive for another season is that The Punisher exists so far outside of the Marvel universe that it, like Frank Castle, could kind of do its own thing. The best scenes in The Punisher, in my opinion at least, are the ones that unpack the current state of veteran affairs in this country. Plus, as ScreenRant notes, The Punisher was not in the original deal between Netflix and Marvel that gave fans Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and The Defenders. As an unplanned spin-off, The Punisher's contract is likely different.

When the first wave of Netflix cancellations hit, fan speculation pointed to the characters and series moving to Disney's upcoming streaming service Disney+, which has already announced Marvel shows about some of your favorite characters. However, Variety reported that contractually, the four Defenders (Matt, Jessica, Luke, and Danny) cannot appear on any other Marvel show for two years after cancellation. Again, Frank Castle was not part of that deal, so it could really go either way. He could stay on Netflix, he could go to Disney and hang with Tom Holland's Spider-Man (please), anything is possible! Everything is in flex at this point, and we're going to have to ride it out.