The Pr0ject Never Saw The Light Of Day
It’s difficult not to recognize the punisher as Marvel and comic book books most well know anti-hero. The signature skull t-shirt and the rough attitude, the punisher has been terrorizing criminals since he first appeared in The Amazing Spider-man #129 back in 1974.
While increasing in popularity with readers (headlining 3 simultaneous series in the early 90’s) he’s had a tougher time making the transition to the big screen. Before we had Jon Bernthal’s incredible performance on Daredevils second season (The Punisher spin-off show is currently filming) we had 3 various attempts at bringing the character to live action, none of which worked all that well. One film we never got to see was a direct sequel to 2004’s The Punisher which started Thomas Jane in the title role. Speaking with Looper, Sons of Anarchy creator and writer Kurt Sutter recently discussed the rewrites he did on the script for The Punisher 2.
From the sounds of it, Sutter was trying to change the direction of the character more than Marvel would allow.
There are a few things I remember. I remember there was a woman involved who was sort of the handler of the cop who gets killed, and there’s a relationship that develops between her and the Punisher. I had all these things that they basically didn’t ask for, but in the process of writing…I mean, that’s just how I write! I’ll get inside the characters and I’ll start writing, and I’ll be, like, “Oh, f—, that is awesome!” And the story will come alive for me, and I’ll start jamming. But in the end, I think they only kept one thing from my draft, and that was how Jigsaw becomes Jigsaw. Because the original had it that he crawls through a window of a church or something, and I’m the one who had the mob brought in, along with the recycling thing, where he falls into the recycling machine and gets all f—ed up. But I think that’s the only thing they actually kept from my draft!
So I turn in this draft, and I’m, like, “Aw, yeah, I’m shakin’ up Marvel, man!” And literally there were people—including Gale Ann Hurd—who were, like, “Uh…” They didn’t know what the f— happened! And it’s not like I didn’t do the things I said I was going to do, but…I also did a lot of other things! And 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 [Laughs].
The Punisher 2 never came to be and The Punisher War Zone was not as great as many fans would have hoped, but everything that happened to lead the way to The Punisher on Netflix. The Punisher’s first season is set to air on the popular streaming network in 2017.