Fans of the Punisher, the Marvel Comics vigilante that's failed to make the transition from comic book panel to the big screen (three standalone attempts, with one semi-success, 2004's The Punisher starring Thomas Jane as the title character, and two abject failures, 1989's The Punisher starring Dolph Lundgren and 2008's Punisher: War Zone starring Ray Stevenson) can take comfort in the news slipped into the Marvel Entertainment panel Saturday night in Hall H: Marvel has regained the film rights for the Punisher from Lionsgate. Kevin Feige, the president of production for Marvel Entertainment, had this to say: "Frank Castle is under the roof of Marvel Studios... and we hope to bring him into the fray shortly."

Obviously, that's not much in the way of news, but it leaves open the possibility that the Punisher will be make an appearance in an upcoming shared universe film, or less likely, given the commercial and critical failure of Punisher: War Zone two years ago. That commercial failure explains why Lionsgate let the film rights revert back to Marvel Entertainment. As a street-level character without superppowers obsessed with retribution and a Death Wish-style moral code that allows him to maim, torture, and kill criminals as he thinks necessary, the Punisher would make an odd fit in a shared universe that includes Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk (among others), but there's always the possibility that the Punisher will appear as supporting character, if not in The Avengers, but in another shared universe project.



Unfortunately, the Punisher can't share screen time with Daredevil, another street-level character who exists in a similar urban environment (Hell's Kitchen0, at least not for the foreseeable future. 20th-Century Fox owns the film rights for Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. In addition, Sony Pictures has film rights to Spider-Man, leaving those characters unavailable for now. Crossovers aren't impossible, but they would require co-licensing agreements between Marvel and the other studios (unlikely for now, but not impossible).

So what do you think of the news? Would you like Marvel Entertainment to try another standalone Punisher film? Assuming Thomas Jane won't be returning (an excellent assumption), who would you like to see cast as the Punisher? Who would you like to see as the director? And if Marvel decides not to go with a standalone Punisher film, who else from the Marvel Comics universe would you like to see in a film co-starring the Punisher?