“We are stunned and saddened by this week’s senseless act in Las Vegas,” Netflix and Marvel said in a joint statement today. “After careful consideration, Netflix and Marvel have decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for Marvel’s The Punisher to participate in New York Comic-Con,” the companies added of the gun and violence heavy Jon Bernthal starring series. “Our thoughts continue to be with the victims and those affected by this tragedy.”
Teased by the streaming service in recent weeks with a redacted launch date, the 13-episode Punisher showrun by Steve Lightfoot is based on the ruthless, firearm-wielding vigilante character first introduced by Marvel in the comic over 42 years ago. In many ways, with previews of the series expected at NYCC, the sensitive move to pull the panel comes as no surprise with the largest mass shooting in the nation’s history still very fresh in Americans’ minds. A Punisher preview event that was scheduled to be simulcast out of Paris on October 7 has also been cancelled.
In an 10-minute barrage of bullets from his 32nd-floor hotel room at Vegas’ Mandalay Bay down on a country music concert across the Strip, the gunman killed at least 58 people. The 64-year-old retired accountant left another nearly 500 wounded by gunfire or from frantic attempts to get to safety.
With Walking Dead alum Bernthal, Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb and others from the series in attendance, the Punisher panel was scheduled to run 5:15-6:15 PM Saturday at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. On a night that will still see panels from CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery and AMC’s The Walking Dead, NYCC tell Deadline they plan to try to fill the MSG Punisher spot with another panel.
“New York Comic Con wholeheartedly supports Netflix & Marvel’s decision to cancel Saturday’s The Punisher panel,” the organization said late Wednesday. “NYCC takes great pride in offering fans the best in pop culture programming and we are working tirelessly to fill that time spot at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. We will continue to update fans via our social channels throughout the weekend.”
While no official launch date for Punisher has been announced, the Marvel and Netflix show is far from the first TV series in just over a year that has had to recalibrate its debut due to a mass shooting in this county.
Now into its second season, the small screen start of USA Network’s Shooter was moved twice from its original premiere date.
Eventually opening on November 15, 2016, the Ryan Phillippe led series, based on Stephen Hunter’s novel Point of Impact and the 2007 Mark Wahlberg film of the same name, saw it’s original July 19, 2016 premiere postponed after July 7 sniper attack on Dallas police, which left five officers dead. The Shooter opening was then pushed a second time after a July 17 attack in Baton Rouge, La. last year where a shooter killed three policemen.