Early this year, Netflix canceled several Marvel shows on the streaming platform as Disney exercised its rights and called the shows home. As a result, shows like The Punisher went to Disney+ and was later repackaged as The Defenders Saga.
However, ever since then, fans have been wondering if Disney will bring back the fan-favorite shows and their respective actors. The clamor grew even stronger after Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock, who's also known as Daredevil, made his MCU debut in Spider-Man: No Way Home last year and later joined She-Hulk: Attorney at Law with an extended role.
One of the actors fans have been asking for is John Berthal, who played the vigilante, Frank Castle, who also went under the monicker, "The Punisher." Berthal's character eventually got a spin-off show with The Punisher that lasted two seasons. Unfortunately, Netflix had no choice but to pull the plug on the show as it lost the license to the characters as well as the rest of its budding mini-universe of shows based on Marvel characters.
Since then, Bernthal has appeared in several movies and TV series. Bernthal played the role of Rick Macci in the Academy Award-nominated movie King Richard alongside Will Smith and appeared in The Many Saints of Newark as Johnny Soprano.
A social media post sparked speculations that Bernthal will join Cox in the MCU. Specifically, the rumors center around a photo posted on Instagram by Kasey O’Keefe with Bernthal had the caption "Looking forward to working with you during Marvel Phase 5."
The post specifically states Marvel Phase 5, which kicks off next year starting with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. In between the Ant-Man threequel and Captain America 4 are several TV shows where the vigilante could make his entry to the MCU. The main theory is that Punisher will return in Echo, which is believed to see Echo work closely with Daredevil searching for an old ally. This could be talking about Punisher but the old ally could also be Jessica Jones.
Daredevil: Born Again is also another series where Frank Castle could appear, which would mirror his involvement in the original Daredevil series.
Echo, Daredevil, and Punisher share a common enemy in Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin. The trio could work together in one of the series to take down the notorious Kingpin.
While these speculations are truly exciting, the Instagram post from O’Keefe is not a direct confirmation that The Punisher will be returning to the MCU. It can be noted that O’Keefe also posted several photos alongside other actors on his Instagram account. So, take this post with a huge pinch of salt.
Echo will premiere in mid-2023 while Daredevil: Born Again airs in 2024. Both will stream exclusively on Disney+.