With Charlie Cox confirmed to return as Daredevil in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s only a matter of time before other heroes from Netflix’s Marvel roster appear as well. Cox’s Matt Murdock has long been rumored to be a Spider-Man: No Path Home appearance, and all signs point to Vincent D’Onofrio returning to his pivotal role in Hawk Eye. Fans have expressed their excitement that Jon Bernthal is bringing Frank Castle / Punisher back into their lives, but it remains to be seen where and when Marvel Studios would make such a decision. In our opinion, Marvel should take the unexpected route of Bernthal’s Punisher debut in the Iron Man spinoff Armor wars for Disney +.
Jon Bernthal made his Frank Castle debut in Netflix season two daredevil, then played in his The punisher solo series. Known for cleaning the streets of New York City with his massive arsenal of guns, many will look to other street-level projects for the perfect opportunity to include Punisher. While Marvel Studios will likely look to the comics for inspiration, there are also examples of projects taking surprising directions. Nothing would be more surprising than seeing Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes suing The Punisher in Armor wars, especially when the vigilante wears one of the War Machine armor left behind by Rhodey.
2017 The punisher # 218 by writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Guiu Vilanova introduced the concept of the Punisher / War Machine armor. Recruited on a secret mission by Nick Fury Jr., Punisher stole the armor and quickly updated his physical appearance with his white skull logo. Punisher with guns he has to physically hold is bad enough, but the thought of Frank Castle running wild with some of the latest weapon technology is the thing of nightmares. Villains like Baron Zemo and even overpowered enemies had their hands full trying to stay alive. If the Avengers didn’t step in and convince Punisher to ditch the War Machine armor, he would still terrorize the Marvel Universe with it.
This is what makes Armor wars the perfect place for Punisher / War Machine. In a December 2020 Disney + Investor Day video, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige posed the question of “what if Tony Stark’s technology falls into the wrong hands?” This is similar to Armor wars storyline from the comics, when terrorist threats began to hijack Iron Man’s creations. Frank Castle could even be considered one of those “bad hands” Feige was referring to, leading to some memorable interactions between Cheadle and Bernthal on the small screen.
Almost every Marvel Studios Disney + series has included a surprising guest star: WandaVision had Evan Peters, with fans tricked into believing he was reprising his Quicksilver character from the Fox X-Men universe; The Falcon and the Winter Soldier introduces the character of Black Panther Dora Milaje Ayo; Loki had the shocking introduction of Jonathan Majors as a variant of Kang He Who Remains; and Hawk Eye will likely reveal Kingpin.
Marvel Studios should do the right thing and give people what they want: Jon Bernthal as the Punisher. Except he should do it like a one man war machine in Armor wars.