Given how integral Karen was to Frank Castle’s story in Daredevil season two, which helped the character go down so well he ultimately got his own show out of the deal, you’d think Deborah Ann Woll would have been a shoo-in to star in The Punisher. But it turns out at first she wasn’t part of the show’s plans at all.
Speaking at an event in Singapore this week, Punisher showrunner Steve Lightfoot revealed that initially, Woll wasn’t going to reprise her Daredevil role in the spin-off. But after loving the chemistry between Jon Bernthal and Woll in Daredevil, Lightfoot requested the character be written into the series.
Karen’s relationship with Frank in Daredevil’s sophomore season is part of what makes the whole Punisher arc of that season so satisfying—it gives Frank a touchstone to the normality of the real world, and Karen an alarming insight into what can drive a man to do what Frank Castle does (and eventually put doubts into her mind about Matt Murdock’s lifestyle choices in The Defenders). Their relationship is crucial to the Netflix incarnation of the Punisher, so the thought of there almost being a Punisher TV series without her seems crazy.
Thankfully, Lightfoot managed to get her involved, so the relationship can continue when The Punisher hits Netflix on November 17.