'The Punisher’ Premieres Soon, Here’s What You Need To Know Before You Start Binging

by Ani Bundel

In terms of sheer number of series, Marvel's TV universe on Netflix is the most popular shared universe in the comics world. Like their movie counterparts, the heroes of the first four series banded together to join forces for a fifth shared series, The Defenders, last August. Now, it seems that the Netflix Marvelverse is heading into Phase II with their sixth title in the franchise: The Punisher. But what time does The Punisher hit Netflix? How long will it be? And how exactly does it relate back to the shows that came before?

The Punisher was originally rumored to be dropping in mid-October, but that was before the Las Vegas shooting caused Marvel to cancel the New York Comic-Con panel. (Fans were hoping, at the time, for advanced footage to be screened there and the date confirmed.) Instead, the trailer finally arrived a couple of weeks later, on Oct. 19, and the premiere date was announced: Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Like all Netflix premieres, it will arrive at 12:01 a.m. PT, 3:01 a.m. ET.

The synopsis for the series is fairly basic, without giving away too much on the spoiler front:

After the murder of his family, Frank Castle is both haunted and hunted. In the criminal underworld, he'll become known as The Punisher.

Here's the trailer:

The series stars Jon Bernthal, who originated the character as a foil to Matt Murdock for the second season of Daredevil. At the time, Bernthal's riveting performance and scene-stealing attitude seemed almost designed for the character to be the first confirmed spinoff since the original slate of Marvel TV shows.

That original announcement in 2013, which one might liken to "Phase I," consisted only of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, all of which would lead up to The Defenders. The Punisher was green-lighted in 2016.

Rumors initially claimed The Punisher would be only eight episodes, as The Defenders was this past summer. But, when the titles were announced, it turned out that the show would run a full 13 installments, like all the stand-alone series that came before it.

The episode titles are:

  • Episode 1 - 3 A.M.
  • Episode 2 - Two Dead Men
  • Episode 3 – Kandahar
  • Episode 4 – Resupply
  • Episode 5 – Gunner
  • Episode 6 - The Judas Goat
  • Episode 7 – Crosshairs
  • Episode 8 - Cold Steel
  • Episode 9 - Front Toward Enemy
  • Episode 10 - Virtue of the Vicious
  • Episode 11 - Danger Close
  • Episode 12 – Home
  • Episode 13 - Memento Mori

Marvel plans to have The Punisher tie back to Daredevil, by having Karen Page (played by Deborah Ann Woll) turn up. But, unlike the five series that came before, it will be missing one other crucial tie-in: Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), who was a key figure in helping to bring the Defenders together. Does that mean that Frank Castle will never be asked to join the team, or appear in the inevitable The Defenders 2? Or, is Claire just being allowed some time off finally to just go be a nurse and date Luke Cage?

The series also co-stars Ebon Moss-Bachrach of Girls as "Micro," an NSA super-hacker type, who may or may not be helpful to Castle's mission in the series. Castle's foil looks to be played by Amber Rose Revah, of Indian Summers fame, who plays Agent Dinah Madani. Her character description includes that she is a Homeland Security agent who is "vexed" by Castle.

Good vexed or bad vexed? Or, just vexed? Either way, it's the actress cast as her mother who's one of the biggest gets Marvel's had for a TV show to date: the Oscar-nominated Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo. That's now two Oscar-nominated actresses in a row for the overall series. (Sigourney Weaver, who appeared as last season's Big Bad in The Defenders, is also an Oscar nominee.)

The Punisher arrives on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 on Netflix with 13 episodes.