Jon Bernthal’s Punisher will reportedly join the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), if we are to believe a recent and surprising Instagram leak.
The apparent confirmation comes from Kasey O’Keefe, a relatively unknown actor from Los Angeles, who recently uploaded an image of himself and Bernthal on Meta’s social media platform.
Normally such pictures would not attract too much attention. However, in the image’s caption, O’Keef drops a huge hint that Bernthal’s Punisher has joined Marvel’s cinematic juggernaut. In it, O’Keefe praises Bernthal, calling him a “great actor,” before going on to write “Looking forward to working with you during Marvel Phase 5!”
Check out O’Keefe’s Instagram post below:
In August, we broke the news that Bernthal had no intention of getting his own MCU Disney Plus show or joining the MCU. That report came after Rosario Dawson, who played Claire Temple/Night Nurse on multiple Netflix Marvel TV series, including Daredevil and The Punisher, falsely suggested that Bernthal’s Punisher be getting a standalone MCU TV series.
While Marvel hasn’t officially commented on the matter, numerous MCU insiders have claimed that Bernthal will join Charlie Cox – who played Matt Murdock/Daredevil in Netflix’s Defenders-Verse – in making the jump to the MCU via Disney Plus. Cox’s Murdock/Daredevil has already appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. He is also expected to have a cameo in Echo’s standalone series before getting his own show on Disney Plus – Daredevil: Born Again – in 2024.
As for those insiders talking about Bernthal’s return,Tom Smith (opens in new tab), CanWeGetSomeToast (opens in new tab)and MyTimeToShineHello (opens in new tab)all of whom have a decent track record when it comes to insider information about Marvel productions have all suggested Bernthal has already signed on to reprise his iconic role in future MCU projects.
Of course, O’Keefe’s post should be taken with a grain of salt, so don’t take this as confirmation that Bernthal is actually come to the MCU. We’ve reached out to Disney and Marvel for an official comment on O’Keefe’s post and rumors of Bernthal’s return, and we’ll update this article if we hear anything.
Analysis: Where could The Punisher pop up in the MCU?
Given its obvious ties to Daredevil from Netflix’s various Marvel TV shows, Daredevil: Born Again seems like the most likely place for Bernthal to make his MCU debut.
The duo were two sides of the same coin in Netflix’s Defenders-Verse, juxtaposing each other incredibly well for their individual brands of justice and opposing beliefs about how far vigilantes should go in pursuing revenge. Reuniting them in Daredevil’s first MCU project would be a perfect opportunity to explore that dynamic further, especially with Born Again set to run for an unprecedented 18 episodes (well, unprecedented in the length of Marvel Studios TV shows). ).
If not Born Again, where could The Punisher – aka Frank Castle – appear? Marvel’s Thunderbolts movie would be ideal, as that supergroup is positioned as an anti-hero team. Castle is neither a villain nor a hero in the traditional sense, so he would make a perfect (not to mention crowd pleaser) addition to Thunderbolt’s roster.
What about Echo’s TV series? Perhaps The Punisher makes the shortest cameos on that show, especially if Daredevil appears in a similarly small role. That would make for an intriguing side-plot in Born Again, with Murdock potentially stunned to see Castle making the rounds across the US aiming to hand out his own form of, well, punishment to criminals across the country.
The rest of Marvel’s Phase 5 lineup, such as Loki Season 2, Secret Invasion and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania are already too far in their production to include The Punisher. Other Marvel movies and shows in development, including Captain America 4 and Agatha: Coven of Chaos, also don’t fit his street-level character.
Our guess? If The Punisher is about to join the MCU’s increasingly stacked roster, it will definitely be in a Disney Plus series like Born Again. But we’ll have to wait and see if that’s really the case.
For more MCU-based content, check out everything worth knowing about the latest few MCU Phase 4 projects, including Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. You can also read where to stream every Netflix Marvel TV show so far.