One of the less-talked-about aspects of Marvel’s Netflix shows is their depiction of military veterans and the importance of the military to the MCU. I’ve written before that Marvel has a particularly strong connection to the military (over 20 major Marvel characters are military vets), and I strongly believe this is the one of the key reasons for the MCU’s success. The MCU is, in my opinion, a product of post-9/11 America — the actions of Marvel’s military characters, like Captain America, actively confront the efficacy and morality of unilateral action within and without our borders, and their impacts on the residents living in domestic hotspots and international conflict zones.
This fall’s The Punisher goes well beyond just embracing the military generally; the series focuses squarely upon Castle’s military service and the toll of endless war upon our troops — Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) is a former U.S. Marine Recon combat veteran, it’s his core identity and the show is built around this. Now we’re learning that war, PTSD, and patriotism are core themes that drive many of the show’s characters.
In an interview with MoviePilot, showrunner Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal) talks about one character, who was created specifically for The Punisher: Homeland Security Agent Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah), an Afghanistan was veteran who’s pulled into Castle’s violent world. Lightfoot describes her as a complex, three-dimensional character; an American patriot of Iranian descent who’s struggling to adapt to civilian life — a realistic and all-too-common issue for many, many vets.
Marvel’s TV chief, Jeph Loeb, describes the Madani character:
“The Punisher… allowed us to do is comment on a lot of things that are going on, not the least of which is the plight of America’s servicemen. We have great respect for them and we see how challenging it is for some of them when they come home and what their lives are like. We show different ways that their lives are affected, but always have an eye towards being able to say, ‘thank you for your service’.”
Loeb compares Madani with Tommy Lee Jones’ U.S. Marshal character in The Fugitive, wherein the Marshal took active interest in the cases of his targets and sought to understand them as people and not simply as felons.
The various teasers, trailers, and images that have leaked out for this show suggest that a lot of the show will take place during Castle’s active duty service, while also including many military and veteran characters. For those of us in the veteran’s community, this is the kind of show we’ve waited to see for years, and surely hope that the respect indicated by Lightfoot and Loeb translates to the screen.
Does The Punisher‘s emphasis on the military enhance or detract from your interest in this show? Let us know in the comments down below!
The Punisher hits Netflix this fall (rumor has it on Nov 10-11, 2017).