When we last talked to Ray Stevenson, star of “Punisher: War Zone,” he revealed that the rights to the character, adapted into financially unsuccessful movies by New World Pictures, Artisan and Lionsgate, had returned to Marvel. He suggested there were plans to utilize the brand again, and that he may be involved. We’re not sure about that last part, but the character is set to appear again, this time on Fox television. Because what better place for a trigger-happy, murdering vigilante than the home of Animation Domination?
Fox has committed to a pilot featuring the New York City “superhero” from showrunner Ed Bernero (“Criminal Minds“). The story concerns a “rising star detective with the New York Police Department who moonlights as the vigilante Punisher, seeking justice for those the system has failed.” Which should give longtime fans of the character considerable pause, since, um… that’s not exactly the character. Best to shy away from all that “murdered family” business in prime time, right? The wording also seems a bit off: a detective “moonlights” as a shift manager at Target, not as a skull-shirted homicidal crime-fighter.
It’s unclear how this is going to work on the small screen, since “Punisher: War Zone” literally averages out to about one death per minute, all of them incredibly violent. Though we do hope Stevenson, an excellent actor stuck in thankless musclehead roles, is retained for the role, it does sound like they’re skewing much younger. “The Punisher” joins “AKA Jessica Jones” and “Hulk,” both at ABC, as planned Marvel series, though the last two do not have pilot commitments. Fox is also developing a series based on “The Spectre,” a popular DC character that will probably never properly translate to live action. Both “The Spectre” and “The Punisher” seem to be following a proud trend, just like “Human Target,” of Fox adapting a comic property and completely ignoring any relevant information about the source material.