Marvel Studios executives announced this week their plans to launch The PUNisher, a more kid-appropriate relaunch of The Punisher, on the upcoming streaming service DisneyPlus, releasing this November.
Marvel’s The Punisher, along with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and others, were among the original shows joint-produced by Marvel and Netflix, bringing more mature content and a grittier feel to the colorful world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, due in large part to Disney’s plans to start its own exclusive streaming service and sever its ties with Netflix, the cancellation of these series was announced in late 2018 to early 2019. In light of these cancellations and Disney acquiring the rights to the Marvel characters, the company has now announced its plans to re-imagine the acclaimed adventures of the dark anti-hero for a younger and more family-friendly audience.
The Punisher followed Frank Castle, an ex-Marine whose family was murdered by criminals, sending him on a violent crusade of vigilante vengeance. The PUNisher, by contrast, will still feature the lead character as a gun-toting antihero, but, in the style of more lighthearted and old-fashioned superhero media, he will make frequent puns, jokes, and quips while in the midst of fights and action scenes.
“Okay, crooks. It’s time…to bite the bullet!” the PUNisher announces in a scene from the new trailer, while firing rounds of bullets into a group of thugs. Other scenes feature the titular vigilante describing himself as “triggered” and telling to a group of bank robbers, “Let me be frank…crime doesn’t pay!”
“We really think that having well-placed jokes and puns throughout the show will help to balance out its otherwise dark and violent nature,” commented Steve Lightfoot, creator of the previous The Punisher series who is heading up this project as well. “I mean, no, we didn’t actually try to tone down any of the violence or brutality, but at least we gave it some laughs and jokes that can still appeal to the kids. Hey, it worked for Shazam!, right?”
Well-known comedic actor Jim Parsons has been cast in the title role of the PUNisher, and is expected to follow up each pun his character makes with the quippy catchphrase, “Bazinga!” Watch Parsons’ punny performance in the first teaser trailer here.
Contingent upon the success of The PUNisher, DisneyPlus also hopes to release further family-friendly versions of the more mature Marvel Netflix shows, starting with one titled DareAngel.