We’ve long known that the 2004 ‘The Punisher‘ film was initially going to have a sequel instead of a reboot and it looks like Kurt Sutter’s script is what may have killed the project. The writer has opened up as to why Marvel didn’t go with his vision which eventually had them reboot the franchise with the 2008 ‘Punisher: War Zone. ‘ When that also failed at the box office, it put the character in limbo until the amazing portrayal that we received in Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’.
If you’re wondering why the sequel never happened based on Sutter’s script it was because he was trying to take the character in directions that would have gone what Marvel had already envisioned. According to Sutter:
“I’m a Marvel fan, but I was not a comic book kid. I didn’t really get into that whole world until about 15 years ago, which is when I started getting into graphic novels. And that happened in Paris because their graphic novel industry is decades beyond ours! But I didn’t realize that you can’t take liberties with some of the characters and some of the traits because they are what they are. They’re very derivative, they’re stereotyped, but this is the guy that does this, and this is the guy who does this… So they’re two-dimensional for a reason: that’s the purpose they serve. So I was trying to expand the Marvel Universe in a direction it should not have been expanded in.”
As the studio already had a goal in mind, the ideas put forth just didn’t mesh. That begs the question as to what did Sutter want to do that Marvel didn’t:
“I think I was trying to write to the emotionality of this dude and motivate the absurd violence with some kind of meaning. I don’t mean that I was, like, f—ing Gandhi [Laughs]. But I was just trying to root it a little bit more in the mental anguish that he went through to justify it, and to take a little bit of that journey… So I think that’s what I was trying to do: humanize him a little bit more. But it’s the kind of thing where there’s only X amount of time [in] the movies, so you have moments of that, but you can’t really have a subplot that explores that kind of thing. Not in a summer blockbuster or Marvel picture.”
While later films such as Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy might disagree with that as well as much of Marvel Studio’s current work, at the time it wasn’t the direction that the company wanted to go.
While I’m sure we’re all glad The Punisher ended up on Netflix with the direction they are taking the character, I’m really curious as to what kind of story the creator of both ‘The Shield’ and ‘Sons of Anarchy’ could have put together for Frank Castle.
Are you happy that this film was scrubbed or wish we could have seen Sutter’s vision come to life on the big screen? Share your thoughts below True Believers!
Stuart Conover is an author, blogger, and all around geek. When not busy being a father and husband he tries to spend as much time as possible immersed in comic books, science fiction, and horror! Would you like to know more? Follow him on Twitter!