This article consists of nothing but spoilers for The Punisher.
The Punisher had a surprising air of finality to its ending. For the moment, the government has kindly decided to give Frank Castle a free pass to start a new life as Pete Castiglione. While in the comics, the Punisher’s thirst for vengeance can never really be quenched, what we’ve seen on this show is that, at least for now, with his family avenged, he’s willing to try and find some peace. It’s unlikely to last, of course, especially because Billy Russo is still alive, albeit in a coma and in horrific shape.
The Punisher certainly didn’t skimp on the action in that final hour. Frank Castle’s big throwdown with Billy Russo was perhaps the most intense moment of an already intense series. But Castle isn’t known for leaving his enemies alive, so the fact that Billy survived their encounter means Marvel has plans for him in the future, right? Of course they do.
Billy Russo took great pride in being the handsome devil that he is, but after Frank scrapes his face on that broken mirror a few times (that was tough to watch), he’s not going to be so handsome anymore. In the comics, Russo takes the slightly on-the-nose supervillain name of “Jigsaw” but given how shy these shows are about codenames under the best of circumstances, we’ll probably never hear those words uttered on screen. Still, sometimes a name is appropriate…
Yeah, I don’t think he’ll be wooing any more Homeland Security agents with a mug that looks like that.
In the comics, Russo/Jigsaw didn’t have anything to do with the murder of Frank Castle’s family, nor was he an old friend of Frank’s from the service. Instead, he was a mob hitman, which is plenty of reason for Frank to want him dead. By tying their backstories together again, Jigsaw is probably the one and only thing that could get Frank out of retirement to start punishing the guilty again.
When it’s time for Jigsaw to make his grand entrance, Ben Barnes, the man who plays Billy, is ready.
“I think all TV shows will make sure they sign you for more than one season, just in case, to give them options,” Barnes tells us. Of course, like all Marvel actors, he remains a little cagey. “I wouldn’t put it past them to switch things up at any given moment, but I’ve certainly thought about it, because obviously I was interested in Billy Russo from the day I got the job.”
“With Billy, there’s all sorts of avenues he can be taken down,” Barnes says. “It can be something of a cautionary tale concerning his narcissistic side, his history with Frank, and that kind of closeness that they had, the betrayal in the way that Frank sees it makes it self-evident.”
As for his potential to evolve into Jigsaw, Mr. Barnes has given that some thought already. “Going forward I think it’s really interesting, after having everything you’ve laid your foundation on in the way you come across to the world, his looks, the business that he’s built up, just the way that he presents himself as a man in this universe that they’re in, that’s all been literally shattered in terms of his face,” Barnes says. “I think there’s an opportunity to explore what that does to his mind and what it is that he even remembers. I have no idea what kind of parameters they’re going to give me to toy with it, but I certainly have lots of ideas about how he could be.”
We hope he gets a chance to explore Jigsaw. But at the moment, The Punisher Season 2 hasn’t been confirmed by Netflix yet. We suspect that this, like Frank Castle himself coming out of retirement, is only a matter of time.