Marvel's 'The Punisher' Season 3 Is Up to Netflix — And That's a Bad Thing

Frank Castle’s second outing is finally on Netflix in Season 2 of Marvel’s The Punisher. But in light of the Marvel/Netflix universe becoming a falling sky scenario, fans may be curious as to wonder whether or not Netflix will renew The Punisher for Season 3. While the series has a wide-open ending, the decision is apparently left only to Netflix.

In an interview with SYFY Wire published Thursday, showrunner Steven Lightfoot said he and his show’s writers intentionally designed an ending that could allow the show to keep going. That’s not a unique thing given the endings seen in other canceled Marvel/Netflix shows like Daredevil.

“We left season two in a place where my hope was everyone would just be like, fantastic, I can’t wait for Season 3,” Lightfoot said. “And if we get to make Season 3, I’ll be absolutely delighted. I would love to make 10 seasons.”

Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel TV, also confirmed that it was not Marvel’s decision to make, but Netflix’s.

“It’s ultimately going to be Netflix’s call, as it is with every show,” he said. “We are beholden to the network and it’s the network who decides whether or not we’re going to do it.”

The odds are not in favor of a Punisher Season 3, however, for a few reasons. First and foremost, Disney’s overall agreement with Netflix is coming to an imminent end as Disney rolls out its own streaming platform, Disney+, in September 2019.

The Punisher Frank Castle Jon Bernthal
Jon Bernthal stars as "Frank Castle" in 'The Punisher' Season 2 on Netflix.

Disney+ is expected to have most, if not all of Disney’s film and television library available on demand, including popular content from Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. (Disney+ is the chief reason the company spent upwards of $50 billion to acquire 20th Century Fox.) New, original shows including Marvel will also be exclusive to the service and are in production.

When Disney gave Netflix exclusive dibs on hot commodity Marvel toys in 2013, the deal made Netflix the coolest kid in the streaming playground. But Netflix footed the bill for all the shows, in return retaining the right to cancel or keep the shows going. With Disney launching its own rival platform against Netflix, it’s in Netflix’s interests not to lose money on what is essentially free advertising for a competing rival.

This strategy became increasingly obvious in late 2018, as Luke Cage and Iron Fist were among the first shows officially canceled by Netflix. Mere weeks after an acclaimed third season premiered in October 2018, Netflix canceled Daredevil.

No matter the glowing critical reviews and high volume of streaming it may attract this weekend, The Punisher Season 2 comes at a really tough time for the MCU on Netflix. Hopefully Frank Castle is tough enough.

But maybe not. As per an agreement that became public in 2018, no Marvel/Netflix character can be adapted into any other media two years after cancellation. No matter which way you cut it, Frank doesn’t have enough grit to sneak through that.

Marvel’s The Punisher Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.

Media via Netflix