The mid-2000s were a tricky time for comic book movies, as the success of X-Men and Spider-Man resulted in an onslaught of adaptations that failed to resonate with critics or audiences at large, which includes the 2004's Thomas Jane-starring The Punisher, a project which Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter developed a sequel for. The filmmaker recently pointed out that he thinks his script for the sequel was a little too lenient with iconic elements of the property, resulting in Marvel passing on the project completely. Instead, the sequel Punisher: War Zone was developed, which also fell short of most audiences' expectations.
"It was a really interesting process and I had never worked with Marvel before," Sutter explained to ComingSoon.net. "And you know, I think in my draft of the movie, I ultimately took too many liberties in f-cking with the IP — and it was a rewrite. I was not asked to do all that much. I just saw the story in a different way. So ultimately, I wrote the script and they were like, we didn't want this."
A key component of the Punisher character is his predilection towards extreme violence, and despite fans appreciating the performance of Jane in the 2004 film, some fans felt it held back on the inherent violence of the character. War Zone, from director Lexi Alexander, more fully embraced the violence carried out by the character, often lifting direct panels from Punisher comics for live-action sequences.
Sutter's script might have been rejected ultimately, but one connection it has with War Zone is that it featured Jigsaw as the villain.
"But, one of the things I felt I got to do was bring a level of reality to it," Sutter added. "I felt like I was able to sort of ground Frank [Castle] a little bit more in the world as I knew it. And the result of that was the recycling plant. And so, yeah, I think that and like, maybe a couple of pieces of dialogue and one other story turn were the remnants of my draft."
While the character's big-screen exploits have earned mixed reviews, his small-screen adventures in both Netflix's Daredevil and The Punisher, were received much more positively in recent years, thanks in large part to the performance of Jon Bernthal.
Stay tuned for details on the possible future of The Punisher at Disney.
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