Spoilers follow for Spider-Man: No Way Home and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
Despite reports to the contrary, The Punisher isn't getting a Marvel TV series on Disney Plus.
Over the weekend (August 5-6), it seemed that Jon Bernthal's Punisher would be emigrating to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) from Netflix's Marvel TV universe. The individual behind this suprise revelation? Former Netflix Marvel star Rosario Dawson, who told Superhero Car Show and Comic-Con attendees that a Punisher Disney Plus series was on the way (per Twitter user HunterCollect).
Answering HunterCollect's query about when Night Nurse – the character Dawson played in Netflix's slate of Marvel TV shows – would arrive in the MCU, Dawson said: "I hadn't that heard that [Night Nurse] announcement, but yesterday I found out that The Punisher was happening. So I feel like it's my second chance as it was the only [Netflix] show I wasn't in."
Understandably, multiple outlets were quick to "officially" confirm that a Punisher show was on the way for Disney Plus. However, in the hours post-panel, Dawson took to her personal Twitter account to retract her initial statement, saying she'd been misled over those Punisher rumors before apologizing for getting other MCU fans' hopes up.
I can’t be trusted…!Getting intel from fans during signings is iffy apparently.My bad.I get excited.Confirmation is key when you’re told what you want to hear…August 8, 2022
As disappointing as that news is, one Marvel character, who starred in their own TV series on Netflix, has already joined the MCU. Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock/Daredevil, who made his MCU debut in Spider-Man: No Way Home, is set to have a major supporting role in upcoming Marvel TV show She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The deaf superhero will also cameo in Echo, which lands on Disney Plus in 2023, before starring in his own MCU series sometime in 2024.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will be one of the final MCU Phase 4 projects to arrive, with Echo and Daredevil's own shows forming part of Marvel's Phase 5 slate.
Analysis: A punishing blow, or a simple misdirect?
On the surface, this seems like an obvious error on Dawson's part. If she had heard a rumor that Bernthal's Frank Castle would be joining the MCU, it's only natural that she would've gotten excited over it and relayed the information to other fans. Dawson's apology, then, is a sure fire sign that she was duped as much of most other MCU fans – or is it?
For one, there have been numerous rumors that Bernthal will be added to the MCU's growing roster of characters. Credible Marvel leakers, including MyTimetoShineHello, Greatphase15, and CanWeGetSomeToast have suggested that The Punisher will join Cox's Daredevil in the MCU.
Sure, this isn't official confirmation that Bernthal will reprise his role as Frank Castle. However, this trio have been reliable with most of their previous scoops, so there may be some accuracy to their claims. And, given that the Netflix Marvel shows are now available on Disney Plus – further proof, in the eyes of some, that these TV offerings are canon in the MCU – their new home only adds further fuel to the fire that The Punisher could turn up in the MCU sometime soon.
Bernthal's Punisher isn't the only other Netflix Marvel character who has been linked with reprising their fan favorite roles in the MCU, either. Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones, as well as Daredevil's Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page) and Elden Henson (Franklin 'Foggy' Nelson), are also rumored to be making the leap to the MCU.
So, is Dawson's retraction as simple as her making a mistake, or is she trying to throw fans off the scent after accidentally revealing too much? Personally, we think she made an error. After all, Dawson is reprising her role as Ahsoka Tano in the Star Wars character's own Disney Plus show – a role she originally played in The Mandalorian.
Given Disney is the parent company of Lucasfilm (Star Wars' production company) and Marvel, Dawson won't want to upset them by leaking highly confidential information ahead of time. As such, we believe she's been tricked into believing a Punisher TV series is happening, recounted that information to Marvel fans, and later realized it wasn't true. Well, at least in an official capacity anyway.
This, then, isn't a simple misdirect on Dawson's part. But, based on those rumors, don't be surprised if a Disney Plus show starring The Punisher is announced at some point.
For more on the other movies and shows set to join the MCU soon, check out our Marvel movies in order guide. Alternatively, read up on who The Mandalorian star Giancarlo Esposito wants to play in the MCU.