Daredevil and The Punisher crossed paths in Netflix’s Marvel show, Daredevil, which is now on Disney+. Unfortunately, Matt Murdock (Daredevil) and Frank Castle aren’t likely to meet again in the MCU. Charlie Cox and Jon Bernthal’s characters headlined their own shows on Netflix, with Frank’s appearance on Daredevil season 2 serving as a backdoor pilot for The Punisher. After all of the Marvel series on Netflix was canceled, whether or not their characters would ever be seen again was up in the air for a couple of years. Daredevil was the first to make his debut since the series in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Just days later, Wilson Fisk, his archenemy also known as The Kingpin, Vincent D’Onofrio, appeared on Disney+’s reintegrated into the MCU.
Daredevil and The Punisher had a strong dynamic as vigilantes not seeing eye-to-eye in Daredevil season 2. While it might seem like the door has been re-opened for them to meet again in MCU, the circumstances of their first meeting and tense team-up make that an improbable outcome. In addition to that, Daredevil season 2 left matt and Frank with only one way, story-wise, to come face-to-face again, and one that would also have a slim chance of happening for similar reasons.
Daredevil and The Punisher Are Complete Opposites
After donning his red devil horns in Daredevil season 1, Matt’s encounter with Frank Castle in season 2 put him up against someone with a greatly different perspective on life and crime-fighting. Matt and Frank’s rooftop debate is fondly cherished because it was a challenge of a very different sort for Matt Murdock. As Daredevil, Matt refrained from using guns and lethal force, while Frank defaulted to both without a second thought. Leaving Frank Castle with a killing total of around 48,500 if we’re including all the older Punisher comics and movies.
Even with Frank’s comfort level with taking the lives of criminals, Daredevil was careful not to make him into a two-dimensional caricature. Matt and Frank were both men scarred by the trauma of having loved ones murdered, but they had internalized it in different ways. Guided by his devout Catholicism, Matt believed that even the most ruthless of criminals deserved the chance, in his words, “to try again.” Frank simply saw this as giving the kind of killers who murder his family a chance to ruin more lives. As the story ended, Frank donned his Punisher skull costume and told Daredevil, “see you around, Red.” As in their comic book origins, Daredevil and the Punisher couldn’t have been more different in how their Netflix stories depicted them.
Daredevil & Punisher Are Too Different To Work Together
As Matt and Frank went their separate ways, Daredevil and The Punisher took each character through dark stories. Matt, in particular, after the events of The Defenders, fell into a pit of despair and came close to killing Wilson Fisk in their climactic confrontation. While Daredevil ultimately chose to spare Fisk, the way he came close to using deadly force shows he and Frank as fundamentally different. While Matt grappled with whether or not to kill the Kingpin in Daredevil season 3, Frank would’ve pulled the trigger without hesitation.
The fact of there being a story to tell at all of Matt falling into darkness and contemplating saying his greatest enemy is something that could never have been done on The Punisher. Frank was too far gone, too broken, and too confident in his belief that all who prey on the innocent must die for him to have ever struggled with ending a life as Matt did. Daredevil season 3 also concluded with Matt beginning to rebuild his personal life and law practice. Matt would later even get Tom Holland’s Peter Parker out of his legal troubles in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which also helped establish Daredevil’s canon status in the MCU. The happiness Matt had regained was a far too alien concept for Frank to ever achieve, while his and Matt’s methods are polar opposites. Matt wants to stop criminals while leaving the door open for them to redeem themselves, while Frank wants to stop them altogether. In fighting crime, bosses like Kingpin, Matt, and Frank simply would have far too many hurdles to get over to ever manage to be partners long-term.
Why Daredevil & Punisher Most Likely Won’t Reunite In The MCU
The pages of Marvel comics are full of stories of Daredevil, Spider-Man, and other heroes forming uneasy one-off duos with the Punisher. While this made for a compelling story in Daredevil season 2, bringing Matt and Frank together again as reluctant allies could easily feel like a rehash of their first meeting. After Daredevil season 2, viewers know that there is nothing that could reconcile Matt and Frank’s opposing ideologies even against a shared enemy like the still-active Kingpin. A simple Daredevil-Punisher team-up would just put them back in the position of having different approaches to stopping criminals. With Matt and Frank each forced to concede as much as he can tolerate to the other, the inevitable result would simply be another Daredevil-Punisher broken alliance.
Narratively, the only story that could re-unite Daredevil and the Punisher would be to truly make them enemies and have Matt out to stop Frank’s retributive form of justice. While this could be a strong MCU story for both of them, in theory, it’d still be based on the same foundation of two men with diverging views on combating the criminal underworld being at odds with one another. While not an outright retread of Daredevil season 2, Matt pursuing Frank as he would any other villain would still have the same DNA thematically.
Daredevil and the Punisher having a second life in the MCU with Disney+, though not clearing up questions of canon, housing their shows keeps their individual stories continuing a possibility. The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is already well on his way to doing just that, while the jury’s still out on how Punisher can get rolling again (though the debut of Moon Knight helps). Daredevil season 2 did justice to Matt Murdock and Frank Castle as vigilantes with different playbooks, but in all likelihood, fans of the two will probably only be treated to a one-and-done team-up in the MCU.