In the second and likely last season of ‘The Punisher‘ on Netflix we were given an amazing villain for Jon Bernthal‘s Frank Castle to go up against and now Steve Lightfoot is sharing what inspired his creation of the character. It should be noted that while Pilgrim doesn’t appear in the comics, there is a character that heavily influenced the creation of John. As the showrunner, Lightfoot has some great insight into how the character which Josh Stewart played was formed, but you should be warned that there are spoilers to follow.
As to which Marvel character was the most influential on bringing Pilgrim to life, Lightfoot shares:
“He was inspired by a character called the Mennonite from the comic books. I always really liked that character, who was a guy who had lived a life of crime and given it up and found redemption and a new life and was dragged back in to go and kill with Frank. He was sent back to New York, the last place he wanted to go, to have to face the Punisher. And I really liked that arc. As often is the nature with the comic books, it was quite broad. He went to New York on a horse and cart, which wouldn’t have fit the tone of the show. I didn’t want to specify a particular creed or faith or church and put a name to him, so the idea was that we had a more mythic version of that character. Also, I was always and still am a fan of “Night of the Hunter,” the Robert Mitchum movie. And I always loved the villain in that, and he had tones of that as well. That was another inspiration.”
To find someone who is on par with Castle you really need someone who can be just as ruthless as he is and “the idea was that, in some ways, they sent Frank after Frank. Pilgrim’s a bad dude, but he shows a lot of faith and determination, only to realize he’s been manipulated by the people he’s given all of his loyalty too. In some ways, his narrative isn’t dissimilar to Frank’s story in Season 1. I like that sense of someone realizing they put their faith in the wrong place and the wrong people and having to deal with that.”
The best part, though, is the redemption cycle we saw of Pilgrim as the story moved forward. He was a man of violence who had been able to find a more peaceful life. However, he wasn’t someone that was allowed to stay that way. As to if John Pilgrim was fully redeemed at the end of the show:
“Hopefully, for me, when we left him, he was a guy that had learned his lesson and Frank had given him a chance to be a father and put that behind him and make that right. There’s a line in the finale that I can’t remember verbatim, but he says to Frank ‘If you could have saved your children, would you have done anything?’ And that’s all he has left, is to protect his children. Any grander sort of plans and designs have gone by the wayside, and that’s something Frank would understand.”
This is likely the single motivation which could have built up such a villain that would prevent Castle from ending his life.
Are you a fan of how John Pilgrim was developed for the second season of ‘The Punisher’? Do you feel that he would have come back for a third season or like Micro have just been another person passing through Castle’s war on crime? Share your thoughts in the comments below, True Believers!