While Marvel's latest series on Netflix documents Frank Castle's quest for vengeance after the murder of his family, but it also shows the creation of a classic comic book villain.
Warning: Spoilers for The Punisher below.
"We just wanted a great character in season one, first and foremost, who was a foil for Frank, and not some guy who is being evil for the sake of it," said Lightfoot. "I think all of the best shows are where the villains think they're the good guy. They don't get up every day and go, 'I'm going to be evil today!'"
In the series, Castle attempts to reconnect with his old friend and brother in arms Billy Russo (Ben Barnes). But Billy is still in cahoots with the same CIA agent who wants to tie off loose ends such as the Punisher, leading him to betray Castle.
"Billy, in a way, is a guy who made one bad choice," Lightfood said. "He pursued the money, and now he's having to deal with all of the repercussions of that, which sets him at odds with probably the only great friend he has ever had. There's a sadness to that story."
He spoke about the parallels between Frank's relationship with both Micro and Billy and why they take different trajectories.
"In the way that the Micro story is about the building of a male friendship, the Billy story is about the breaking of one," Lightfoot said. "Once you decide to tell that story, you say, hey, we may as well make it Billy Russo and go on a journey where we build up this great character from the canon and the mythology, and leave ourselves in a position to go further with him next time, if we choose to."
But one of the hardest story problems to rectify was made easier in how they approached Billy.
"The truth is with The Punisher, and the tricky thing with adapting these comic books, is that he tends to kill his enemies. Billy is one of the few recurring villains in the canon. In terms of building character and hopefully having multiple seasons of the show, it's great to have someone you can come back to that the audience really knows."
The Punisher is now streaming on Netflix.