'The Punisher' Showrunner Breakdowns New Villain

With the introduction of a new season of The Punisher came a whole crop of new additions to the [...]

With the introduction of a new season of The Punisher came a whole crop of new additions to the cast of the show. From Giorgia Whigham's Amy Bendix to Floriana Lima's Dr. Krista Dumont. Arguably no character stood out as much as the mysterious John Pilgrim, played by Criminal Minds alum Josh Stewart.

ComicBook.com sat down with The Punisher Steve Lightfoot to chat about the mysterious gun-toting antagonist and discuss how the character was drawn up.

WARNING: Light spoilers for The Punisher Season Two up ahead. Proceed with caution if you have yet to tune in.

Though Pilgrim was a character original to the show, Lightfoot revealed to ComicBook.com that the character was based on The Mennonite, someone first introduced in Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon's Punisher MAX run in 2010.

"I always really enjoyed that guy who was in the book, a guy who had been involved with the mob, and has sort of found this new life that had made a better man of him," Lightfoot says. "Then his old contacts came calling and tried to send him to New York to kill Frank Castle. It was very much about a man and the last place he wanted to be was back in New York, but duty called. So, that comic book character was the inspiration from the character, and then I was always a huge fan of, still am a huge fan of, Night of the Hunter, I always loved that Robert Mitchum character in that movie, and I was excited about playing with someone like that as well."

While the series never flat-out calls Pilgrim a Christian fundamentalist in the show, Lightfoot admits that there are certainly correlations to the fanaticism that runs rampants in real life today.

"He was meant to be something more mythic than that for me, and I could see why he has been, you know, people use that label, but what he represented to me, and it's something you said actually, he was meant to be a mirror of Frank," says Lightfoot. "I think what both of them are warnings about is, if you believe in anything to the level of fanaticism where anyone who doesn't agree with you is somehow unworthy, or can be killed, or is somehow less than human, that's a bad thing, and that doesn't matter whether you're Frank, who has a dubious morality, or whether you're Pilgrim who, because someone has told him, 'This is what your faith decrees,' he will go and do that."

"I think we're living in a time when it doesn't matter which side of anything you're on, we're certainly in an era where people are very fanatical about it and sort of don't want to hear the other side, and I think whenever that happens, nothing good can come of it," the writer continues. "That was the thematic territory we were trying to play in there, and I think, like Frank, the tragedy for Pilgrim is that he finds out that also his faith has been manipulated. In a way, he's an honorable guy at least, but he has been manipulated and lied to, and he'sarc in many ways mirrors Franks in season one. I feel like the thing with Pilgrim was, there was always this idea we had that they sent Frank after Frank."

What'd you think of Stewart's role as John Pilgrim? Were you surprised how Pilgrim's arc ended in the show? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

The second season of The Punisher is now streaming on Netflix.