When Jon Bernthal dons the skull-faced shirt of the Punisher for the second season of Netflix's Daredevil, it's looking more and more as if Punisher could be Daredevil's primary foe for the season.
In fact, co-showrunner Marco Ramirez told Nerdist that internally, Season 2 is being referred to as "Daredevil vs. Punisher." That's right: the primary dramatic thrust of the next season will find Matt Murdock's vigilante going up against Frank Castle's antihero.
It makes sense, particularly from an ethical standpoint. Matt Murdock spent all of Season 1 evolving from a take-no-prisoners vigilante to a man of justice, willing to work with the law while fighting crime in his superhero costume. Having him encounter another crime-fighter who's a darker reflection of who he used to be is a natural progression for the character. In that context, Frank Castle (aka Punisher) is very much the kind of man Murdock could have become, had he not made the right choice in the end.
So if Kingpin's not the big bad of Season 2, does that mean Punisher will be the new main villain? Well... It's complicated.
According to Ramirez, a power vacuum is created in Kingpin's absence, allowing all sorts of ambitious criminals to try their hand. Punisher is expected to step forward to assassinate these would-be overlords, one by one. But don't expect Daredevil to stand by and let this newcomer execute anyone at will.
Marvel and Netflix have not yet confirmed any other parts of Season 2's storyline or new cast members, but it's widely believed that popular Daredevil characters Elektra and Bullseye will be joining the show as well.
Might Punisher get his own Netflix spinoff down the road? We'll see.