While most of the Marvel Universe relies on superhuman abilities to fight for good or evil, Frank Castle's primary "power" is his access to an impressive arsenal. His affinity for firearms and his tendency to roam the country led to Season Two of Marvel's The Punisher leaning more into Western influences than we saw in the first season, with showrunner Steve Lightfoot confirming those motivations for the series.
"I just really like the idea of putting him on the road, and then, to me, Frank's always felt like a character, in a way, out of the Westerns, he owes as much to Western heroes or antiheroes as anything else," Lightfoot revealed to ComicBook.com. "It also then gave us an opportunity, I thought, to play with quite a lot of Western tropes with him in the first three episodes. For me the first three episodes almost constitute a Western movie. Episode one is the saloon, we did our Rio Bravo in episode three, and what have you, and it just felt like it very much said, 'Look, it's a new season, it's a new show, Frank's in a different place, we're not just going to start right back where we left off.'"
While heroes like Daredevil and Luke Cage are intrinsically linked to their neighborhoods, The Punisher kicks off this season by leaving New York City behind. Rather than taking to the open road merely for a change of scenery, the showrunner felt this was an organic continuation of Castle's trajectory.
"By the time we finished Season One, I was pretty sure I wanted to do that at the beginning of Season Two," Lightfoot pointed out. "It was born of, given where we ended Season One and Frank saying he didn't have a war left to fight, it made no sense to me that he would stay in New York. I felt like he was trying to leave everything behind, and, in a way, go and have a look at this country he spent his whole military career fighting for. Also, I think part of the joy of The Punisher, unlike the other shows, Frank can turn up anywhere and has over the years, he's not strictly tied to New York. He doesn't have a law office, or PI's office, or what have you."
Castle ultimately only had a brief road trip, returning to the city where countless villains conduct business.
"It was always the plan to bring him back. Billy was always going to be thing," the showrunner explained. "Three episodes felt about right ... and to also get that other story moving and then we needed to pull him back into that. When you get in the writers' room, that stuff all starts to sort of fall into place, but three episodes felt about right and then we pulled him back to New York."
Fans can check out the second season of Marvel's The Punisher streaming now on Netflix.
Did you appreciate the Western influences of this new season? Let us know in the comments below!