Spoilers for The Punisher.
The Walking Dead alum Jon Bernthal, who plays the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Frank Castle in The Punisher, carried over a tradition from his old zombie show: death dinners. When a major cast member would depart The Walking Dead following the death of their character, the cast and crew would send the actor off with a dinner thrown in their honor.
Michael Nathanson, who played doomed Homeland Security agent Sam Stein in The Punisher, met his end in episode 8 during a botched mission lead by his new partner, Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah). Nathanson's time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was brief, but the actor told Entertainment Weekly he received a pleasant send off:
"So they had started this tradition on The Walking Dead where they have these 'death dinners' — I think it started in season 2, and Jon may have been the first one to have one — but they would have these honorary funeral dinners where someone would open their home up and have the cast come over for the person whose character got killed," Nathanson explained.
"Because I was the first major character to be killed on the show, Jon was so sweet and invited everyone to his house and had this lovely death dinner in my honor, and I felt very honored because I’ve been a big fan of his since he was on The Walking Dead. I was like, 'Oh maaan, this is so many worlds colliding in so many weird, cool ways!' It was worth dying to have a death dinner held by Jon Bernthal. [Laughs]"
Earlier this summer, Bernthal opened up on what he learned during his time with The Walking Dead, saying he still considers his old cast mates "best friends and family."
"Because I do have some familiarity with the comic book audience from Walking Dead, I know how much Frank Castle means to so many people and it’s a responsibility that I take enormously," Bernthal said of the Punisher, a role he reprises after first popping up in the second season of Daredevil. "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."
The Punisher showrunner Steve Lightfoot is unsure if there will be a second season, but says the filmmakers "can do anything" with two of its central characters, Frank and Billy Russo (Ben Barnes).
The Punisher is now streaming on Netflix.