The Punisher May Have Been Introduced on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Published by Shah Shahid on

After a fledgling Season 1 (my Review here), ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has returned in Season 2 and buried itself deeply into the Marvel comics’ mythos, creating a place of its own, separate from the Movie-verse, while still connecting to the larger picture. Hinting at more storylines that lead us to believe that ‘The Inhumans’ may be appearing on the show long before their 2018 solo movie debut into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Season 2’s Episode 8, ‘The Things We Bury’ further cemented this suspicion. However, the episode before, entitled ‘The Writing On The Wall’, also had another Easter egg from the Marvel Comics, that some may have missed.

Reportedly the source Skye mentioned in the episode, ‘Micro’, refers to the comics character ‘Microchip’ who is a hacker-type ally of The Punisher, leading some to believe that the gun toting vigilante may appear in the Marvel Cinematic & TV Universe, especially given that Marvel once again has the rights to the character back in their mousey clutches. The Russo brothers, directors of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (my review here) even joked that Punisher may have made a small appearance in their movie.

Given all these Punisher rumors, the episode in question may have given us a glimpse into a possible origin for the character, introduced within the show. So here is how I think The Punisher can be introduced within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, through ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

The episode ‘Writing On The Wall’ reveals to us other subjects of the T.A.H.I.T.I. Project that Coulson was in charge of, which infused alien (possibly Kree) blood into deceased Agents in order to revive them, including Coulson and Skye by this time. The results caused the candidates to lose their mind, the only solution was to implant artificial memories and providing them with alternate identities to live out their lives.

The episode also saw one of the survivors of project T.A.H.I.T.I., who has successfully integrated into a new life, with no memories of his S.H.I.E.L.D. history, played by Joel Gretsch. Now a family man, Hank Thompson’s training resurfaces for a moment when another survivor threatens his family’s life, Carver, who was hell bent on finding figuring out the alien puzzle. When a knife was thrown towards his wife and child, Thompson’s reflexes allow him to catch the knife, and throw it back with precision, something that even caught him off guard. I am theorizing that this character may become The Punisher of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Joel Gretsch as Hank Thompson in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. S02E07

And yes, I am aware that Thompson’s real name was shown to be ‘Cameron Klein’ in the file handed to him by Coulson at the end of the episode, but there could be a number of explanations behind that. Coulson may not have been offering him his own real file, considering he wouldn’t know if Thompson would accept his proposal to re-join S.H.I.E.L.D., in which case, why trust a former Agent and former crazy alien serum subject with that kind of sensitive information so easily? Also, ‘Cameron Klein’ could even be one of the many aliases that a ‘super spy’ like Frank Castle may have gone by.

The Theory

After the events of ‘The Writing On The Wall’, Thompson is allowed to return to his suburban life, after he refuses to look at the file containing who he really is, citing that he’s happy now. After this traumatic experience, it’s safe to assume that he will relocate with his family to get away from the craziness that came to their door. Considering that H.Y.D.R.A. is as much on Coulson’s trail and the secret of the aliens as Carver was, it wouldn’t be like them to leave loose ends. Given that the information within the minds of Thompson, Coulson and other Project T.A.H.I.T.I. survivors lead team into a hidden Alien city, their part in this story may not be over. Also taking into account that Thompson is now the only survivor to remain that was infused with the Kree serum that H.Y.D.R.A. can still track down. (Garrett & other T.A.H.I.T.I. survivors are dead, the homicidal Carver is locked up, and Coulson & Skye are far from H.Y.D.R.A.’s clutches)

So after finally settling down into their new life, Thompson is visited by H.Y.D.R.A. who is looking to take him back for experimentation. During their kidnapping attempt, his wife and son are murdered in front of his eyes. Witnessing this triggers Thompson’s blocked memories and skills as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., causing him to violently react and murder the H.Y.D.R.A. agents in a fit of rage and devastation. Finding clues that lead him to a localized H.Y.D.R.A. cell, he demolishes everyone and everything in his way in a glorious action sequence. Maybe the episode will even tie into a mission the Coulson and his team is on, causing their paths to intersect. Thompson, real name revealed to be Frank Castle even joins Coulson’s team for a while due to their mutual goal of finding and destroying H.Y.D.R.A. but he ends up becoming more of a liability due to his priority for vengeance, instead of focusing on the missions or the bigger picture.

By Seasons-end the alliance between Castle & Coulson may reach an end with Castle disbanding to dish out vengeance in his own way, allowing him to jump ship to any of the films, such as ‘Captain America: Civil War’, given the significance the character had in that comic event, or even his own spin off Series. on Netflix. Being shown as a Welder in his life with implanted memories, offers the character to be able to forge his own weapons and armor like the conventional Punisher character, while the Kree serum plot point allows the writers to modify his origin even further with more ties to the more, other worldly franchises of the MCU, such as ‘The Inhumans’ or ‘The Guardians Of The Galaxy’ sequel.

Joel Gretsch

The new MCU Punisher?

I’ll admit that this theory is way far fetched, and that such a character may not be realistically introduced without any prior fanfare or indication in this manner, but it would be pretty awesome if things did play out this way. The actor playing Thompson in the ‘The Writing On The Wall’ ‘episode isn’t a random actor either. Joel Gretsch, a well known character actor featuring in ABC’s own cancelled series ‘V’ from a few years ago, also has other geek cred like ‘The 4400’. I was personally a little surprised to see a recognizable face such as his in this episode, in a role that wasn’t that particularly significant, that is unless you consider that it may have been a set up to bigger and better things.

So let me know what you think of this Theory. Can The Punisher be properly introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe through ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ or am I off my rocker? Any other ways they can introduce the character in the MCU?

Let me know below and follow me on Twitter @theshahshahid for more rants…!

Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


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