After making his debut in Daredevil Season 2 earlier this year, Marvel and Netflix confirmed that their Punisher spin-off series is happening, with Jon Bernthal set to return as Frank Castle. The streaming service has yet to announce any further cast members thus far, but today we have the first set photos with Jon Bernthal in action, proving that production has in fact started and that Frank has a beard. There had been rumors that Netflix was eyeing a 2017 premiere for the series, which may be true, now that filming is a go.
The photos first surfaced on Just Jared, which reports that the actor was spotted filming scenes for the new series in Brooklyn, New York yesterday. No details about the scene he was filming were given, but it's somewhat unusual for a series like this to start production without any further casting announcements. The Marvel Netflix show's official announcement in May revealed that Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal) is serving as Executive Producer and Showrunner in addition to writing the series' first two episodes.
The last we heard about this series was in August, when a rumor surfaced that an iconic Marvel Comics character, David "Microchip Liberman, was being cast on the show. The news didn't come as much of a surprise to eagle-eyed fans who noticed a subtle reference to the characer in the Daredevil Season 2 finale. After saying his final farewell to his family, Frank Castle pulled out a CD from a picture frame, which had the word "Micro" written on it, which is likely a reference to the Microchip character.
That August report also included a scene that actors auditioning for Microchip read from, which revealed that Microchip was able to track down Frank Castle, who wasn't supposed to be found at all. Microchip reveals that both Frank and himself are "after the same people," since these people they're after took away his family as well. At the end of the scene, Microchip reveals the name Nicolas Simon, offering to become "partners" with Frank Castle. In the Marvel Comics, Microchip is one of The Punisher's most trusted allies. He is a hard-drinking computer hacker who often provides Frank with technical support during his missions, and even supplies him with some high-tech gadgets.
Production was originally believed to begin shortly after Season 2 of Jessica Jones wraps, but that's certainly not the case anymore. A previous report revealed that production on Daredevil Season 3 and Jessica Jones Season 2 won't happen until after The Defenders series, which is believed to air sometime next year. The Punisher marks the sixth series ordered thus far as part of the groundbreaking collaboration between Marvel Television and Netflix including the new series Luke Cage and the upcoming Iron Fist and The Defenders. Take a look at these new photos of Jon Bernthal in action as The Punisher starts production.