‘The Punisher’ Showrunner Discusses Telling a Villain’s Origin
Written By: Nick Poulimenakos
*Spoilers for The Punisher ahead*
With The Punisher finally streaming on Netflix (stay tuned for our upcoming review), fans get to finally witness Frank Castle’s return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as he continues his quest to avenge the murder of his family. The show however, also goes down a different path by way of telling the origin story of Castle’s greatest nemesis.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Steve Lightfoot went in depth as to why they made the decision to give fans a slowburn reveal of Jigsaw, the classic comic book villain.
“We just wanted a great character in season one, first and foremost, who was a foil for Frank, and not some guy who is being evil for the sake of it. I think all of the best shows are where the villains think they’re the good guy. They don’t get up every day and go, ‘I’m going to be evil today!'”
During the 13 episode series, Castle attempts to reconnect with his best friend, Billy Russo but it is then revealed that Billy is actually working with the CIA member who ordered the muder of Castle. This leads to a brutal confrontation between Russo and Castle and ends with Billy’s face being disfigured.
“Billy, in a way, is a guy who made one bad choice. He pursued the money, and now he’s having to deal with all of the repercussions of that, which sets him at odds with probably the only great friend he has ever had. There’s a sadness to that story.”
Lightfoot then moved on to speaking about the parallels between Frank’s relationship with Billy and Frank’s relationship with Micro:
“In the way that the Micro story is about the building of a male friendship, the Billy story is about the breaking of one. Once you decide to tell that story, you say, hey, we may as well make it Billy Russo and go on a journey where we build up this great character from the canon and the mythology, and leave ourselves in a position to go further with him next time, if we choose to.”
Lightfoot ended the interview by talking about how creating Billy’s backstory helped rectify the issue of Punisher always killing his enemies:
“The truth is with The Punisher, and the tricky thing with adapting these comic books, is that he tends to kill his enemies. Billy is one of the few recurring villains in the canon. In terms of building character and hopefully having multiple seasons of the show, it’s great to have someone you can come back to that the audience really knows.”
The Punisher is now streaming on Netflix.