'The Punisher' Season 2 Star Opens Up on Christian Fundamentalist Villain

When the second season of The Punisher rolls around in a few weeks, it will introduce a brand new character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the name of John Pilgrim. Pilgrim — played by The Dark Knight Rises alum Josh Stewart — is set to play the primary villain of the upcoming season.

Described as an Alt-right Christian fundamentalist, Stewart recently spoke with Collider to explain what his character brings to the screen versus Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) and company. According to Stewart, Pilgrim is a quiet man with deep, dark secrets buried underneath.

"John Pilgrim is a fairly quiet, still person," Stewart explains. "On the exterior a man who is a Christian fundamentalist who had sort of a rage, a violent side of him. It’s buried deep. I think where this is all headed, that sort of side of him is going to resurface a bit."

The character's inclusion in The Punisher is certainly on-the-nose for this day in age, playing off of terms mainstream media uses every day. Though Stewart says his character is a hardcore fundamentalist, the portrayal strays far from the occult or any cult-like interpretation.

"It’s nothing cult about it," elaborates Stewart. "It’s nothing like that. He’s just a guy who believes the word. He knows that he’s got to follow the word by the word or it would be too easy for him to go back to his old ways."

Stewart makes sure to mention that his character operates in a grey area, much like Bernthal's Castle. The Criminal Minds alum points out that both of the characters have a constant internal struggle that causes them to straddle the line between right and wrong.

"What they’re doing today and the reasons they’re doing it completely contradict what they’re doing tomorrow," Stewart continues. "But it doesn’t mean there’s a wrong thing. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad or it’s good. It’s just what needs to be done in their mind, in their beliefs, in their way."

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In addition to Stewart, Giorgia Whigham and Supergirl alum Floriana Lima join the cast as Amy and Dr. Krista Dumont, respectively. Amber Rose Revah (Agent Dinah Madani), Ben Barnes (Billy Russo/Jigsaw), Jason R. Moore (Curtis), and Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page) are all set to reprised their roles from The Punisher Season One.

The Punisher Season Two hits Netflix on January 18th. The complete first season is available to stream on the platform now.