For every comic book movie that gets made, there are perhaps a dozen that will never see the light of day. These exist firmly in the "what if?" space. Such is the case with a Punisher movie that was pitched to Marvel by writer Adam G. Simon, which would have brought Frank Castle to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, pitting him against Nick Fury.
Adam G. Simon previously wrote Point Blank, which stars Anthony Mackie, who stars as Sam Wilson/Falcon in the MCU. Simon also penned The Raid remake, which has since been turned into an original project. During a recent interview, Simon revealed that he pitched Marvel to write a Punisher movie long before the Netflix series ever came to be. Here's what Simon had to say about it.
"Years before the series dropped. It was that strange Dirty Laundry transition time for Frank Castle... I appreciated the hyper-stylized, big stick approach of War Zone and the Thomas Jane version of Frank Castle in the feature, but I think that the series really nailed it. At least with casting Jon Bernthal. He IS Frank Castle and is such an incredible talent... While I loved the series, I think that it limited what Bernthal was allowed to do with the character. When I see Bernthal as Frank Castle in that series, I see an Olympic sprinter running while being forced to wear a giant weight vest. I want Bernthal to continue to explore the character and be completely unfettered and out of control. I think he does too."
Netflix released two seasons of The Punisher before all of the Marvel shows were given the ax on the streaming service. Jon Bernthal starred as Frank Castle and, for many fans, the casting was pitch-perfect. The show itself? As Simon explains, it left something to be desired for quite a few viewers. Speaking further, Simon explained that he had the opening fifteen pages written before the series dropped. Here's how he explained his pitch.
"You got to let this thing live in R-Rated territory and it has to have the same grit and unapologetic boldness of Logan. In my take, we find Frank Castle as we left him at the end of the series, only now completely aware of the threat that superheroes and villains pose to mankind. So, Frank Castle has to go gunning for the person who he feels is responsible for the innumerable civilian casualties. The one who started it all by organizing these weapons of mass destruction to come together. Nick Fury. The twist is that Frank is being used, he spots the double-cross early at the end of act one. From that point on, we have a 3:10 to Yuma situation. Frank and Fury on the run from everyone, heroes and villains. It's 3:10 to Yuma meets Leon: The Professional by way of Winter Soldier."
This is, to say the least, ambitious. It also sounds like a potentially perfect way to fold Frank Castle into the MCU. At least for now, Marvel Studios has yet to produce an R-rated feature. Deadpool 3 may change that, but that would still have been a hurdle. Simon also laid out some of his ambitious casting hopes, in addition to saying that Joe Lynch (Mayhem, Everly) should direct it.
"First, since he was so pissed about it getting canceled, you get Eminem on board for the music and the soundtrack. Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, Joel Edgerton as Bullseye, Kristin Scott Thomas or Edie Falco as Ma Gnucci, Jeffry Wright or Russell Crowe as Micro, Sam Jackson as Nick Fury and a few of The Avengers, namely, Falcon, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier. Oh, and since we are talking obscene amounts of violence and mayhem, you get Joe Lynch directing. If fans got a problem with that hot take, I got seven others. Let's go."
Whether or not we'll ever see Jon Bernthal back as Frank Castle remains to be seen. The odds of seeing this movie get made? Don't bet on it, but it's certainly interesting to wonder what could have been had The Punisher not happened on Netflix. This news comes to us via Comicbook.com.