Steve Lightfoot, showrunner of The Punisher, recently spoke with EW about the series villains, revealing some insight into the minds of his foes, starting with the classic villain who will become Jigsaw.
Warning: Spoilers for The Punisher below.
In the show, Billy Russo (Ben Barnes) is one of Frank Castle's best friends, having served with him as part of a top secret hit squad sanctioned by the CIA. But after betraying Frank and attempting to kill him, the two are set on a collision course.
But Castle ends up sparing Billy's life, which will obviously bite him in the butt when his former BFF comes back for vengeance in the inevitable second season.
"One of the tricky things about adapting the Punisher comic books is that he kills his enemies, but I think films and shows benefit from building an awareness of our [adapted] characters — our villains as well as our heroes — and we changed the iteration of Billy early on when I had the idea that he be the villain and set him up so that we have somewhere to go at some point in the series," said Lightfoot. "He’s one of the iconic Punisher villains, and I thought that this would be such a great road to travel. I felt like we gave Billy a great trajectory of his own, which we’re now only halfway through. If we come back to him, he’s gonna be totally different guy.
Despite being spared, Billy did suffer for his betrayal, and he's starting to look more familiar to Marvel Comics fans.
But the show also featured a take on post-traumatic stress and returning to civilian life by featuring Lewis, who copes with his conflict through violent outbursts.
"Lewis’ story is a tragedy," Lightfoot said. "In so many ways, if someone had just gotten an arm around him at the right time or if certain things hadn’t gone the way they had gone — you know, if O’Connor hadn’t lied to him, which unhinged him — he may not have lashed out. What’s interesting to me is the psychology of when people are hurting, they lash out, and I think Lewis is a very extreme example of that. When people get in a hole that deep, it’s incredibly difficult to see your way out."
The Punisher is now streaming on Netflix.