Unravelling the mystery of Marvel’s The Punisher release date
Following Marvel’s The Defenders, 2017 has been confirmed as the release of Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix, though which specific date the title is expected to premiere remains in question. With rare exception, this is unlike Netflix, who have been known to announce release dates well ahead of time. Presumably so that viewers are able to plan their binge sessions well in advance. With October just around the corner, there is a rather small window of time for season one of the highly anticipated series to air this year.
A series of teasers, motion posters, and other marketing content have been unmistakingly cryptic, leading fans down a rabbit hole in an effort to sort out the intended date for themselves. At least for now. The Punisher will have its very own panel on the 9th of October at New York Comic Con, during which an official date will surely be announced. Ahead of that, I’ve explored the evidence and make an educated guess as to what the actual date will be.
October is pretty unlikely at this point, for a number of reasons. Especially if they are indeed waiting until NYCC to make the announcement. Not only does it give fans very little notice, but Netflix already has some very high profile original series scheduled for the month. Namely, David Fincher’s crime drama Mindhunters on the 13th, and the second season of the wildly popular Stranger Things on the the 27th.
Jumping ahead, I would deem December pretty doubtful, as the holiday season already sees fans time divided amongst their busy schedules. And love him or hate him, Frank Castle doesn’t exactly conjure up feelings of festivity. Not to mention Marvel’s parent company, Disney, will more than likely putting all their focus on a galaxy far, far away, since Star Wars: The Last Jedi debuts on December 15th.
This leaves November as the most plausible month for The Punisher to hit (pun intended). Which is supported by the fact that Dearbhla Walsh, who directed an episode of the series, mentioned in an interview with THR that it would air then. Though it’s worth noting that the interview is from May of this year and air dates are subject to change, so this information shouldn’t be taken as gospel.
Before revealing what I feel is the most suitable date in November, let’s consider why Marvel Television are being so mysterious. Sure, they’re creating hype ahead of their NYCC panel, which is to be expected. It’s compelling marketing after all, and it gets fans involved. However, it seems there’s more to it than that, and with good reason. Frank Castle is already an exceptionally popular character, since his inclusion in season two of Marvel’s Daredevil, so the hype factor isn’t entirely necessary. Which means it’s presumable that the date in question is special.
Most fans who are familiar with The Punisher are well aware of the fact that Frank served in the United States Marine Corps, and was even considered a war hero, a facet of the character which actor Jon Bernthal takes very seriously and intends to honor. Which makes the most apposite date for the series to air Friday, November 10th as it happens to be the birthdate of the U.S. Marine Corps, and a rather fitting date for the premiere. To further corroborate this, The Punisher series will have a heavy military focus, which is affirmed by an official synopsis that reads as follows:
A former Marine out to punish the criminals responsible for his family’s murder finds himself ensnared in a military conspiracy.
Bernthal also confirmed this aspect of the series in an interview with EW at SDCC this summer, stating the following:
“I think with Frank and with the world that he’s very much involved in, he’s a soldier, so I think there will be very much a military component of the show. It will be somewhat centered on that.”
Furthermore, the episode titles were revealed through 13 morse code tweets via the official Punisher account, several of which obviously hint at Castle’s military past. Such as “Kandahar”, where Frank was stationed in Afghanistan. The episode titles were revealed to be the following:
- “3 AM”
- “Two Dead Men”
- “The Judas Goat”
- “Cold Steel”
- “Front Toward Enemy”
- “Virtue of the Vicious”
- “Danger Close”
- “Memento Mori”
As mentioned above, this is a component to the character and the series that Jon Bernthal takes very seriously, so it only makes sense that the sense that the series should air on the date the Marine Corps were founded. In an interview with Den of Geek, the actor had the following to say on the responsibility of taking on such a role:
“…I know how much Frank Castle means to so many people and it’s a responsibility that I take enormously… it’s huge for me and I know how much the character resonates with members of law enforcement, members of the military and it was something that I really, really wanted.
And I had also known that there was a stigma to the role and people question some of the previous iterations. I got really lucky to get this part and I got really lucky to be able to tell Frank’s story over a thirteen episode arc and now that we’ve shot season one of The Punisher series, I’m just very nervous, I really just hope people like it. You know we’ve worked really hard and I really, really want people to continue to dig this version of Frank and I care about his audience deeply.”
It’s worth noting that Saturday, November 11th is Veterans Day, and also considerably likely. Though I admittedly prefer the Marine Corps connection to the series and find it more apt. Moreover, Netflix original series typically land on Fridays, making the 10th far more probable.
The only factors that potentially work against this are that Marvel has two other titles arriving around the same time, with Thor: Ragnarok smashing its way into theatres just ahead of my projected date, and Marvel’s The Runaways premiering on Hulu November 21st. However, since the 10th falls in between these, it doesn’t necessarily discredit my theory. When do you think Frank Castle is coming to collect?
Image credits: Marvel Television, Netflix
H/T: THR, EW, Den of Geek