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    Pre-Release Theories 

Micro keeps his involvement with Frank secret from his wife.
Sort of. Micro's wife thinks he's dead, and while she interacts a lot with Frank (often at Micro's insistence), she knows him as "Pete," not Frank "The Punisher" Castle.

What happened in Kandahar will factor into the show's plotline

Remember what Colonel Schoonover said in his final moments about something happening in Kandahar that he and Frank would never let go of? I think that will be a big contributing element to the plot of The Punisher. It's possible that perhaps Schoonover had become the Blacksmith while Frank served under him, and many of Frank's missions had actually been cover to protect the Colonel's opium pipeline.

  • Confirmed. Second trailer shows Rawlins was using Frank's unit to commit war crimes during his service, and asked Schoonover to eliminate Frank to remove the one remaining witness not in on The Conspiracy.

Billy Russo will get facial scarring at some point in the series

Odds are that he'll wind up looking like Tyrion Lannister after the battle of Blackwater Bay at some point before the end of the season, courtesy of Frank Castle.

Colonel Schoonover was not the Blacksmith

To some, it may have been an open and shut case. In season 2 of Daredevil, Frank Castle was hunting down a man known only as “The Blacksmith” — the head of a massive drug operation in Hell’s Kitchen and the person responsible for the massacre in which Frank's family was killed. Frank’s hunt ended up leading him to Colonel Schoonover, who testified on Frank’s behalf when he was on trial for murder. And Frank kills him when Schoonover tries to take Karen hostage.

But wait, it may not be as simple as it all sounds. See, as much as it was implied that Colonel Schoonover was "The Blacksmith", it was never confirmed, and the Colonel never admitted to going by that moniker. It's possible that this was simply an oversight on the part of the writers to clarify for certain that "The Blacksmith" has been taken care of, but it’s also entirely possible that this drug ring goes much higher than Colonel Schoonover. If the Blacksmith is still out there, the mystery of who he or she actually is remains, and someone like Rawlins or Billy Russo could be the actual Blacksmith. It’s also possible, as we’ve seen many times over the years in comics, that the mantle of “The Blacksmith” is, like the Immortal Iron Fist, a title that can change hands, and if Schoonover really was "The Blacksmith" for a spell, another person could now be free to take over and use the name.

It all seems still up in the air given that is was never explicitly stated that The Blacksmith was dead, and it could be a small assumption on the part of viewers that leads to a bigger reveal down the road.

  • This means that the real Blacksmith could actually be Bella Thorne.
  • Semi-Confirmed. The show never states one way or the other that Schoonover was "The Blacksmith", but it does reveal he was not the head of the drug-running operation. That was CIA Agent Rawlins.

Micro will have a Rising Tide poster somewhere
In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Skye mentioned having a hacker friend in the Rising Tide called Micro. In this series, Micro will have a Rising Tide poster in his room or the back of his van or something as a nod to this.

Frank will use a number of aliases throughout the series
Possible aliases will be:
  • Francis Castiglione
  • Ross Romita, as a Shout-Out John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru, the two artists who created the Punisher.
  • A variation of Gerry Conway, as a Shout-Out to the writer of the same name, who created the Punisher with the previously mentioned artists; a similar option would be a variant of Garth Ennis, writer of several acclaimed Punisher stories.
  • Mixes of the names of the actors from the Punisher movies (Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane, and Ray Stevenson):
    • Hans Elliott (Lundgren's actual first name is Hans, while Jane was born Thomas Elliott III)
    • Hans Jane
    • Hans Stevenson
    • Dolph Elliott
    • Dolph Jane
    • Dolph Stevenson
    • Thomas Lundgren
    • Thomas Stevenson
    • Ray Lundgren
    • Ray Elliot
    • Ray Jane
  • Jossed, his only alias is Pete Castiglione.

The show will discuss police brutality
It would make sense for a show about a guy who thinks he's judge, jury, and executioner.

Going with the above theory about The Blacksmith...
Billy Russo will be the Blacksmith. Whether he was previously The Dragon to the original Blacksmith and is undergoing a case of Dragon Ascendant, or was The Man Behind the Man, he is currently running the Blacksmith's old operations under the front of "Anvil".

Regardless of his involvement with The Blacksmith, Russo will be the Big Bad
He is the MCU version of Jigsaw, the closest thing Punisher really has to an Arch-Enemy, so it'd make sense. If he isn't the Big Bad of Season 1, it will be his Start of Darkness and see Jigsaw as the Big Bad of Season 2. If he is, then we will see his Start of Darkness in flashbacks to the war, potentially detailing how he and Frank went their separate ways after the war.
  • Semi-confirmed. He is the final enemy Frank puts down in the season, but he wasn't the one running all the operations, or the one ultimately responsible for the murder of Frank's family (he wasn't even there when it happened).

Marc Spector will appear as a former member of Frank's squad who has spent years in Egypt as a soldier of fortune
  • Jossed.

If Karen's possibly criminal past comes up in this series...
Then there will be a debate with Frank trying to decide if she's as bad as the men he put down and will be torn apart as to what he should do. This would be an interesting dilemma, in which he realizes how there's more to the criminals he kills and that, if Karen was able to change, maybe other criminals can.

However, it's also likely that this may be saved for Daredevil season 3, since that show is essentially Karen's "home" so to say and her past may have more relevance there with that season being about Matt, Karen and Foggy once more taking on Fisk.

Frank's Navy Cross

We know from the photographs Karen found when she broke into Frank's house that Frank was a recipient of the Navy Cross. Likely, the true details behind how Frank earned that Navy Cross are a lot messier than whatever's on public record.

Francis Castiglione is Frank's birth name

It seems very likely that like in the comics, MCU Frank was born "Francis Castiglione" and Anglicized his name to Frank Castle later on. The teasers seem to imply that, given a shot of Frank and his kids admiring the Statue of Liberty, which greeted those arriving through Ellis Island.

  • Semi-jossed. There's no indication that Frank was born "Francis Castiglione", but he does use the alias "Pete Castiglione" when he's laying low as a construction worker in the first episode.
Netflix won't tell us the release date until the last second.
They want us to be ambushed like those soldiers Frank kills in the newest teaser.
  • Jossed. They confirmed the November 11, 2017 release date on October 19, 2017, nearly a month before.

Frank imagines himself killing his own family
Seems perfectly reasonable, given that it was the things he did in his special ops work that indirectly caused their deaths.
  • Confirmed.

The topic of Matt's "death" will be discussed
It will be kinda hard not to, since Karen and Frank had their own connections to Matt. Also, it will need to be established when Frank had figured out Matt's secret identity on his own (at the hospital, or during the trial?).

And consider the diner scene from ".380." Frank urged Karen to make up with Matt before Matt dies like Maria did. Frank was speaking from experience because his wife is dead and Karen is sitting there complaining that Matt has hurt her emotionally. Frank told Karen that he would chop his own arm off to have one more fight with his wife. Now, it's been some time since The Defenders, Frank re-establishes ties with Karen and learns from her that Matt is "dead". They'll have to have a discussion about how Frank and Karen have this in common now having lost their respective loves.

Also, look at Karen in the set photos from the park bench. She kinda looks like she's in mourning.

  • Jossed. Matt isn't even mentioned, but Karen's attitude and clothing choices during her limited appearances on the show, especially when she first meets Frank, indicates Matt's "death" is still pretty fresh for her. In fact, it might have been merely a week or two since Midland Circle when the events of The Punisher kick off, as the Empire State Building is seen lit up in red in the distance during an early scene while Frank is working on the construction site, just like it was in Danny's last scene in The Defenders.

Rawlins' eye wound was caused by Frank punching him.
In the second trailer, we see Frank punching Rawlins while under his command. We often see Rawlins with a scar around his socket and a discolored eye in other trailers and teasers. This was caused by Frank hitting him. It would be in keeping with the comics as Frank took his eye during a torture session.

    Season Two Theories 
Jigsaw will return
Russo will have a face full of scars and finally resemble his comic namesake.
  • Based on dialogue at the season one finale, he may have partial amnesia. The only thing he'll remember is his hatred for the Punisher for what he did to his face. He'll end up working for the mob.

Operation Cerberus was part of the IGH conspiracy

Frank takes lots of damage pretty yet seems to recover from serious injuries much faster than any other human would. He takes some pretty severe torture from Rawlins in episode 12, yet one episode later is recovered enough to once again fight Russo.

We know that Operation Cerberus was a secret CIA hit squad and the operatives were handpicked from the best of Force Recon, SEALs, etc. They would be going into the worst of situations and needed to be the best. Maybe, to give them an edge, Rawlins arranged for IGH (which was already working with the military) to supply him with combat drugs to make his men tougher, faster, more focused and heal faster. This isn't the same stuff Will Simpson was using, but something different, possibly an earlier or a lower dose version. The version we saw Simpson popping in Jessica Jones cause insanity. The Agent Orange version does the same thing, but at a much lower degree and just exacerbates their natural tendencies (Billy Russo's greed, Rawlins's power, Frank's dedication, Gunner's integrity, etc).

All of the members of Operation Cerberus would have taken it and it would explain why they seemly were tougher than usual Special Ops guys. It was really effective on Frank for some reason and it made him borderline superhuman, but nothing like Jessica, Luke or Matt.

  • Essentially jossed. In the second season of Jessica Jones, IGH was revealed to be an unorthodox medical research center, and Dr. Karl Malus cut ties with Dr. Kozlov when Kozlov decided to branch out to creating combat enhancers.

The Gnuccis will be antagonists in season 2
They'll learn about Frank's involvement in the massacre of the poker game, and want revenge on him.

Martin Soap will appear
And he be a Deconstructed Character Archetype of the Butt-Monkey, showing that someone who suffers such over the top abuse will eventually fall apart mentally. Soap snaps, tracks down his abusive parents who abandoned him, murders them, and then begins to become convinced that there's a conspiracy to make him miserable and kills many of his abusers in life in graphic ways. Ultimately, Soap realizes that there is no conspiracy and that his life just sucks, and that if he goes to jail it'll be even worse, so he kills himself before he can be captured. Any attempts of Frank's to use him as a contact in the police beforehand will be in vain due to Soap either begging him to not drag him into situations that would most definitely end up with Soap dead (Frank only relenting because Soap just comes across as to pathetic to help him as a result).

Speculation about the new characters for season 2

Given reports of season 2 taking influence from the Slavers storyline, Anderson and Eliza Schultz will either be the stand-ins for the Bulats or they are working with them. Maybe Anderson and Eliza are their main contacts in the U.S. since Tiberiu and Cristu are mainly working out of Eastern Europe. Nobody suspects them since they don't seem like the "criminal type" and they can get out of trouble since they're wealthy, upper class citizens.

Amy Bendix, the street smart grifter with a mysterious past, is the one who gets Frank back into action. Perhaps she's a trafficking victim who escaped, or she's looking for a friend who was captured by the slavers, or she's connected to the Schultz family and is seeking redemption, or wants revenge for her father (her father in the comics was a small-town Sheriff). She convinces Frank to go after the Schultzs when she tells him all about their horrible activities. In Daredevil season 2, Frank beat a pawnshop owner to death with a baseball bat for selling child pornography, imagine what he'll do to an organization of human traffickers.

It's possible that John Pilgrim will be the Lewis Wilson of season 2. From a released set photo, he might be the MCU Mennonite, the assassin-turned-religious man.

Krista Dumont is a new character with no ties to the comics. But her character description as a psychotherapist makes it seem like she'll be heavily associated with Curtis. Perhaps Curtis brings the psychotherapist into the veterans circle to help out with the sessions. Since it's unlikely that Karen Page will make any appearances in The Punisher season 2 (seeing as a lot of the season's filming overlapped with the filming for Daredevil season 3, limiting Deborah Ann Woll's availability), perhaps Krista will be an advisor of sorts to Frank and serve a role with him similar to what Father Lantom has with Matt over in Daredevil.