The lines between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Netflix's collection of Marvel heroes continue to be blurred. Despite shows like Daredevil and Luke Cage subtly addressing events from the MCU, many assumed their universe ran adjacent to Kevin Feige's playground. Most of that is due to the TV-MA nature of those shows, as it is a far cry from what many have come to expect from the family-friendly MCU. That all began to change this past December, when Vincent D'Onofrio reprised his role as Kingpin in Hawkeye and Charlie Cox made his long-awaited return as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Things continued to get interesting when Disney brought all six of Netflix's TV-MA shows, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher to its streaming service earlier this year. The canonical status of all six of those shows remains to be seen, but recent announcements have signs looking up. This past month at San Diego Comic-Con, Feige announced that Disney+ would be home to Daredevil: Born Again, a new series based on the man without fear with Cox and D'Onofrio returning. That project is just the latest in Cox's Marvel catalog, as he's set to suit up shortly in She-Hulk and will also factor into the upcoming Echo and Spider-Man: Freshman Year shows.
While Cox and D'Onofrio have been the only confirmed actors to make the leap from Netflix to Disney+, another might be on the way. Speaking at C2E2 this weekend, former Night Nurse actress Rosario Dawson let it slip that "Punisher [is] happening again." Dawson's Claire Temple previously worked with Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle in Daredevil Season 2, but never had the chance to appear in his solo series.
This promptly set social media on fire, as many took Dawson's comments as confirmation that the MCU was bringing back Bernthal as The Punisher. Dawson has since clarified her words, citing this "news" was told to her by a fan, not someone official.
"I can't be trusted…! Getting intel from fans during signings is iffy apparently. My bad," Dawson wrote. "I get excited. Confirmation is key when you're told what you want to hear…"
I can’t be trusted…!— Rosario Dawson (@rosariodawson) August 8, 2022
Getting intel from fans during signings is iffy apparently.
I get excited.
Confirmation is key when you’re told what you want to hear…
On top of Dawson's clarification tweet, it's important to note the verbiage used in the question that prompted her supposed slip.
"Since you're already collecting the Disney check [from The Mandalorian and Ahsoka] and they brought back Daredevil, Kingpin, just signed Punisher, when are we getting Night Nurse back?" the fan asked.
It's still very possible that the MCU brings Punisher into the fold, and the utilization of Cox and D'Onofrio spells well for Bernthal's reprisal chances. That said, the "just signed Punisher" bit that the fan said likely threw off Dawson further, and she ran with the assumption that the fans knew something that she wasn't aware of. As of this writing, there have been no reports or rumors that Marvel Studios has "signed Punisher" in any capacity.
For now, fans can check out Bernthal in 26 episodes of The Punisher, currently streaming on Disney+.