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The Punisher 2 Almost Happened With Thomas Jane & Directed by Rob Zombie

Actor Thomas Jane has revealed details of a once proposed sequel to his 2004 comic book outing, The Punisher. During an appearance at Fanboy Expo Knoxville, Jane revealed that he pitched an idea for The Punisher 2, with another plan being for The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween, and the upcoming The Munsters reboot director Rob Zombie to helm a sequel centered on Jane’s iteration of the Marvel vigilante. “There were a couple of iterations of Punisher 2. One of them was with Rob Zombie directing, which I thought would have been interesting. But that was one iteration. We were batting around script ideas and trying to find a new director. The Marvel folks wanted to go with a different director, and that was their choice, so it was like, ‘Who is that person going to be?'”

The idea of a Punisher outing told through the eyes of Rob Zombie is sure to have fans’ pulses racing. Sadly, while Jane was on board, the studio had other ideas and expanded the search. At one point, landing on Rounders and Joy Ride director John Dahl, before choosing The Warriors and 48 Hrs filmmaker Walter Hill.

The Warrior Director Walter Hill Was Thomas Jane’s Next Choice for The Punisher 2
Jane described Hill as “immensely talented” adding that he “was a no-nonsense, great action [director], but economical, sparse dialogue, he had a great sense of humor, but he was really good with action. He’s a man’s man director, right?” Ultimately, it was the studio rejecting Hill that led to Jane walking away from The Punisher 2. “We met and fell in love with each other and went to the studio. Walter said, ‘I’ll write it, and direct it, and that’ll be that.’ They ended up saying no to Walter Hill for reasons that are beyond my ability to comprehend. That’s when I said, ‘If you’re not going to make the perfect Punisher film with the perfect guy, then who else do you got?’ They floated another director who hadn’t really done anything in that ballpark, and so that’s when I had to pull out. I had to say, ‘Listen, I’m not sure if you guys really understand what it is you’re doing. Therefore, the chances of f—ing this up are pretty high.'”

Lions Gate Films and Marvel Entertainment under Avi Arad introduced Thomas Jane’s version of The Punisher back in 2004. The plot makes a few changes to the origin of Frank Castle, with his entire extended family being wiped out by John Travolta’s crime boss Howard Saint. Of course, come the end, Castle is sporting the skull and swearing violent revenge on crime, but it takes a long time to get there. While fans responded to Jane’s performance and clear passion for the character, the movie bombards you with a bizarre mixture of silliness and grim joylessness along the way. Something that critics did not take kindly to.

With Jane dropping out, The Punisher was instead rebooted with 2008’s Punisher: War Zone starring Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle. Unfortunately, both critics and audiences liked it even less. But, fear not, Punisher fans, as we have since been given the perfect Frank Castle in the form of The Waking Dead and King Richard star Jon Bernthal. And, if recent rumors are to be believed, he will soon make his most triumphant return.

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