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The Internet has chosen its Punisher, and it is Tom Hardy

What Hardy wants, he just might get.


Aja Romano


Posted on May 6, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 9:49 pm CDT

Will Marvel fans be getting the action hero of their dreams? Yes, if Tom Hardy has anything to say about it.

Things couldn’t be better for Hardy right now. With Mad Max: Fury Road poised to make him a major superstar, the actor still has an outsider edge thanks to critically acclaimed roles like last year’s Locke. And even though he had to back out of one major superhero film, Suicide Squad, due to a scheduling overlap, Hollywood is still clamoring for more.

Luckily for geeks everywhere, Hardy’s got his eye on a superhero who’s already been the focus of one cult flick: Frank Castle, better known to all as the Marvel antihero The Punisher.

In an interview with Collider, Hardy waxed enthusiastic about getting the chance to play Castle, noting that although he might be too short for the role, “I would love it.”

The role of The Punisher is strictly in line with Hardy’s long pattern of playing dark, violent antiheroes. Frank Castle is a notable character in that he’s not so much a superhero as a super soldier. A psychologically scarred Vietnam vet, he’s a highly trained fighter who’s pretty much immune to pain and impossible to intimidate. Thanks to the requisite fridged women in his life—his wife and children were killed by the mob—he’s basically an emotionally numb, ruthless killer. In other words, it’s precisely the kind of role you’d expect the guy who played Bane to be interested in.

Although Hardy was just speculating, the Internet quickly leaped into action to give him what he wanted.

And then things really got interesting. Steven DeKnight, showrunner and executive producer of Netflix‘s current hit Daredevil, tweeted that he’d like nothing better than to give Hardy what he wanted.

It’s interesting timing, since DeKnight won’t be helming Daredevil’s recently announced second season due to a prior commitment.

It sounds like a Netflix Marvel spinoff featuring Hardy would be just the kind of new project DeKnight will be keen to do. The possibilities are especially interesting since in the Marvel universe, Daredevil and The Punisher have frequent, antagonistic interactions. A Punisher arc would slot nicely into the expanded universe that Marvel has already planned for its Netflix series.

Although Collider speculated Hardy is “too big for the small screen,” he’s already proven to be very television-friendly, doing major roles for British series like The Take and Netflix’s Peaky Blinders in between films. And his period drama series Taboo will be coming to FX in 2016.

Fans promptly took the opportunity to ask Lexi Alexander, who directed 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, if she’d return to the role of director if Hardy got his way.

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Alexander’s pithy assessment highlights the irony that for all superheroes are about fighting social injustice, the cult of worship around superhero films only seems to elevate white male actors like Hardy and a string of guys named Chris.

And while Hardy seems totally happy to typecast himself as a brooding anti-hero, does the world really need another superhero franchise devoted to an emotionally stunted white guy, fueled by manpain and devoted to vigilante justice?

Still, it was a good day to be a Hardy fan. Even if the Punisher doesn’t happen, the instant excitement at the idea means his star isn’t going to dim any time soon.

Illustration by bosslogic/Twitter

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*First Published: May 6, 2015, 3:55 pm CDT