Without Thomas Jane returning for The Punisher 2, Lionsgate Films has decided to reboot and go for a fresh start. Of course, the studio is hoping for a new franchise with this new effort, so hopefully Ray Stevenson, who we previously learned is the new Frank Castle/Punisher, will want to or will be contractually obligated to stick around for sequels. Also, the fans will hopefully be satisfied with the new incarnation of Marvel's popular anti-hero, who will now appropriately be in pursuit of mobsters in New York City rather than
Miami* Tampa (the setting of Artisan/Lionsgate's 2004 effort). The decision to reboot could also be because Lionsgate didn't officially greenlight the last film -- the studio only acquired it when it bought Artisan -- and wants to redo it their own way. Because we all know it isn't uncommon to produce a sequel in which the main character is played by a substitute actor.
The thing that makes this reboot more interesting is that the 2004 film was already like a replacement for the 1989 version, which starred Dolph Lundgren. So technically this is the third attempt to get the character right. Some might liken it to next year's The Incredible Hulk, which is a reboot of 2003's Hulk, itself somewhat a replacement for the 1977 TV-movie/pilot, The Incredible Hulk. I wonder, though, what Lionsgate could possibly call the new Punisher movie without confusing audiences. At least the new Hulk movie has added "The Incredible" to the title. Perhaps Lionsgate will drop the "The" and just go with Punisher? Or will it go with a completely new title a la The Dark Knight or at least a subtitle, say The Punisher: War Zone? Whatever the title, the movie better be filled with plenty of martial arts, since former world kickboxing champ Lexi Alexander (Hooligans) is directing it. If you remember,
he** she took over when John Dahl dropped out, claiming the studio wouldn't spend enough on the film and the script was no good. I'm not sure if Lionsgate has retooled the screenplay since then, but Variety now credits it to the writers Nick Santora (TV's Prison Break), Kurt Sutter (TV's The Shield), Matt Holloway (Iron Man) and Art Marcum (Iron Man) -- formerly it was Sutter with Stuart Beattie and Jonathan Hensleigh.
* This was just an ignorant mistake, sorry about that.
**sorry about the typo, I knew she is a she