A lot of the best Punisher comics involve an outsider who gets drawn into Frank Castle’s violent war against the criminal underworld.
But given that the character is held in such high esteem in military and law enforcement circles, the producers are being very careful not to glorify stereotypes about people who have been in combat situations.
"The Punisher... allowed us to do is comment on a lot of things that are going on, not the least of which is the plight of America’s servicemen,” said Jeph Loeb, president of Marvel Television. “We have great respect for them and we see how challenging it is for some of them when they come home and what their lives are like.
“We show different ways that their lives are affected, but always have an eye towards being able to say, ‘thank you for your service’.”
In the comics, characters like Rachel Cole-Alves, Microchip, and Kathryn O’Brien are drawn into The Punisher’s campaign. They share a lot of the same traits, but are used to show how far Castle has fallen from grace and how extreme his methods are.
Some of them succumb to their more violent natures, while others bounce back and reject his ways. It all depends on the story being told.
The Punisher will feature two new characters who begin on the hunt for Castle, including Homeland Security Agent Dinah Madani played by Amber Rose Revah.
Madani is described as an Iranian immigrant who went on to serve in Afghanistan. With a strong love for her country, she struggles to return to civilian live.
Loeb said Madani is “a different way of going from the typical cop who was chasing Frank.”
Madani will be partnered with Sam Stein, played by Michael Nathanson.
The two have similar sensibilities, but Stein becomes a spiritual mentor to his colleague. The actor likened his character to “a kind of 'borscht belt' Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Nathanson pointed out similarities to the character Elliott Gould from The Long Goodbye.
They’ll be stationed out of an Homeland Security office, designed to mimic a real world location in Manhattan. Production Designer Scott Murphy spoke about his inspiration for the set.
“I pulled together a lot of research and leaned into a look that was sterile and filled with artificial light,” Murphy said. “I think in that entire set, there’s only one window that has a view outside and that’s the one in Dinah’s office. It’s a very introverted, controlled and somewhat unfriendly set.”
Madani and Castle seem to be two sides of the same coin, with one character having a system and guidance to push her in a positive direction. It will be interesting to see how the two interact and if they’re able to influence each other.
The Punisher is rumored to premiere later this year.
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