First Charlie Cox. Then Vincent D’Onofrio. Now, a new rumor has another major player from Netflix’s Defendersverse series set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to KC Walsh, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, whose rumored appearance in She-Hulk was nothing more than speculation, was set to join the cast of the Disney Plus streaming series, Daredevil: Born Again, but was unable to make the commitment because of a scheduling conflict. In her place, Marvel Studios has allegedly decided to bring Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle on instead.
Though Walsh didn’t mention Bernthal by name, the rumor mill has been active around the actor’s arrival in the MCU for months. Dating back to SDCC ’22, fans were buzzing about the possibility of Bernthal’s Frank Castle showing up in an upcoming MCU project, with some rumors even pointing to a Punisher series being in the works. While no further mention has been made of that possibility, the rumors continue to pile up about Castle’s appearance in Daredevil: Born Again. In early August, fellow Netflix star Rosario Dawson added to the buzz during an interview at the C2E2 2022 when she told the crowd she had recently learned “the Punisher was happening again.” Dawson later recanted her statement saying “I can’t be trusted”, but the rumors haven’t died down.
Bernthal first played Frank Castle in 2016 during the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil and his portrayal of the character was an instant hit with fans. He went on to star as the character over 2 13-episode seasons of The Punisher before the show was non-renewed in 2019. With the live-action rights to the characters reverting back to Marvel Studios and Cox’s appearances in Spider-Man: No Way Home and She-Hulk: Attorney At Law and D’Onofrio’s appearance in Hawkeye, it’s always seemed to be a matter of when other characters from the Defendersverse would arrive in the MCU, no if. With Daredevil: Born Again not filming until 2023 and not streaming until 2024, fans may have to wait quite some time to find out exactly when that when is.