The Punisher’s Thomas Jane Reveals Marvel Rejected Rob Zombie Sequel

The Punisher star Thomas Jane revealed his pitch for Marvel’s Punisher 2 and a version of the scrapped sequel directed by Rob Zombie. Jane starred as Frank Castle, a violent vigilante who wages war on crime after his family is murdered by the mob, in Lionsgate’s 2004 adaptation of the Marvel Comics character. During a recent appearance at Tennessee’s pop culture convention Fanboy Expo Knoxville, Jane said there were “a few iterations” of a Punishes sequel that never got off the ground under Marvel Studios chairman and CEO Avi Arad. Lionsgate rebooted with 2008’s Punisher: War Zonereplacing Jane with Ray Stevenson as Castle and Lexi Alexander taking over from Jonathan Hensleigh as director.

“There were a few repetitions of Punisher 2. One of them was with Rob Zombie directing which I thought would have been interesting. But it was one repetition,” Jane said of The house with 1000 corpses and The Devil’s Rejections movie Maker. “We were bouncing around script ideas and trying to find a new director. The Marvel people wanted to go with a different director and that was their choice, so it was like, ‘Who’s that person going to be?'”

John Dahl, director of the 1998s Rounder and the 2001s Joy Ride, was in talks to direct a follow-up with Jane, but dropped out in 2007. The Punisher the sequel “went through a variety of different kinds of people,” according to the actor, including the “immensely talented” Walter Hill.

That Hard times and 48 hours. movie Maker was a no-nonsense, fantastic act [director], but economical, sparse dialogue, he had a good sense of humor, but he was really good at action. He’s a man’s director, isn’t he?”

“We met and fell in love and went to the studio. Walter said, ‘I’m going to write it and direct it and it will be.’ They ended up saying no to Walter Hill for reasons beyond my ability to understand,” Jane said. “That’s when I said, ‘If you don’t want to make it perfect.’ Punishes movie with the perfect guy, who else do you have?’ They floated another director who hadn’t really done anything in that ballpark, and that’s when I had to retire. I had to say, ‘Look, I’m not sure if you guys really understand what you’re doing. Therefore, the chances of getting this up are pretty high.”

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Jane wanted to adapt the 1986s Punisher: Circle of Blood — writer Steven Grant’s five-issue story that puts the Punisher in prison — but the idea is a “we’ve never really gotten very far.”

Circle of blood is, essentially, the punisher is arrested and he is thrown into the penitentiary. And every guy in there wants to kill him because he had a hand in putting all these guys away,” Jane said with a laugh. “He was going into the lion’s den, and of course he put himself in there on purpose because he was after this one guy who was creepy so he was put away to go after these guys. I thought, ‘We can have so much fun with this.’ But that’s about as far as we got with it.’

In 2017, Marvel TV rebooted with Jon Bernthal taking over as the character in daredevil spinoff series Marvel’s The Punisher, wwhich ran for two seasons before being canceled by Netflix. Bernthal is rumored to be returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe under Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studios.

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