Who is a blacksmith in Daredevil? The Story of the Real Identity and the Punisher Explained

Ray Schoonover, aka the Blacksmith, has a fascinating history within the MCU, being intrinsically tied to both Daredevil and the Punisher.

The blacksmith was one of daredevil main antagonists of Season 2, and his origin is closely tied to that of the Punisher. daredevil season 2 introduced the Punisher to the MCU, casting him as something of a villain to Matt Murdock before the show gradually revealed that the real villain behind Frank Castle’s season-long story was the blacksmith, aka Ray Schoonover . Although the Schoonover story ended in daredevil, its connections to Frank Castle’s origin story were developed in The Punisher. With appearances in both daredevil season 2 and The Punisher season 1, Blacksmith has a fascinating history within the MCU, combining traits from several Marvel comic book characters.

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The MCU launched a series of TV shows on networks like ABC and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu during Phase 2 of the franchise. Although Kevin Feige was not involved in the production of the MCU Netflix shows, they were created to be the canon of the franchise. The stories and characters of Netflix MCU shows only occasionally mention material from the movies, but they fit nicely into the MCU timeline nonetheless. With Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige now managing the MCU TV shows, which air exclusively on Disney+, the canonical status of the original MCU TV shows was questioned by many viewers.


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This changed with the release of Hawk Eye and Spider-Man: No Coming Home, which featured appearances from The Kingpin and Matt Murdock, Not only did their appearances (especially Kingpin’s) reinforce that daredevil was a canonical part of the MCU, but they also renewed their interest in Netflix MCU shows. Ray Schoonover, in both his civilian identity and his villainous alter ego, the blacksmith, provides the connective tissue between daredevil and The Punisher, being partially responsible for Frank Castle’s anti-hero origin and pitting him against Matt Murdock in a clash of philosophies as much as fists and bullets. The MCU’s Blacksmith takes his name from several Marvel Comics characters while adapting Ray Schoonover’s comic continuity version.


Who is Ray Schoonover? Real identity of the blacksmith


Roy Schoonover Blacksmith

Ray Schoonover is introduced as a former commanding officer and mentor to Frank Castle during their service in the US Marine Corps. However, Schoonover was secretly a drug lord, who operated anonymously using the alias Blacksmith. As revealed in The Punisher season 1, Schoonover and his blacksmith identity were part of Operation Cerberus, a CIA assassination program that lacked congressional approval or any other form of oversight, necessitating Schoonover’s heroin operation to finance it. As squad leader of the U.S. Marines, Schoonover co-led Squad Cerberus alongside his colleagues Punisher the villainous William Rawlins, a member of the CIA. Schoonover lost an arm during one of Cerberus Squad’s missions, but he and the rest of the unit were saved by Castle, leading Schoonover to speak favorably of him as a character witness during the trial of Castle.


After the failure of Operation Cerberus, Schoonover continued his anonymous work as a blacksmith, filling a void left in the New York underworld when Wilson Fisk was incarcerated at the end of daredevil season 1. Tasked with covering up his involvement in Rawlins’ torture and unlawful killings of Cerberus, Schoonover became one of the criminals responsible for Frank Castle’s Punisher origin. Schoonover arranged a meeting between several criminal organizations in Central Park, where Castle and his family were spending time together. The Blacksmith caused a shootout between the gangs, intending for Castle and his family to die in the crossfire, but Frank survived and later became the Punisher.


Daredevil’s Blacksmith’s Connection To The Punisher Explained


Blacksmith Roy Schoonover

Punisher serves as both opponent and foil to Matt Murdock in daredevil season 2. As Daredevil, Murdock does not kill or permanently harm criminals, while the Punisher was on a mission to avenge his family, killing all criminals associated with the gangs who killed his family in Central Park. This led to a conflict between the two vigilantes, with Daredevil eventually capturing Punisher. Schoonover, meanwhile, took the opportunity to frame Castle for his crimes as a blacksmith, but the Punisher escaped captivity and learned that his former mentor had organized the gang fight that killed his family. Punisher killed Schoonover but learned his family’s death was far more important than he thought.

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The base of The Punisher season 1 was Frank Castle’s denouement of the Schoonover plot, showing the blacksmith’s continued presence, even after his death. It turns out Castle wasn’t the only person targeted for murder by Rawlins. While the CIA member instructed Schoonover to kill Frank Castle, he instructed a corrupt member of Homeland Security to assassinate NSA analyst David Lieberman. Both attempts failed, and the two gradually undid Schoonover and Rawlins’ illegal work, resulting in Rawlins’ death. Although Punisher exacted revenge on those responsible for his family’s death, his combat training and vigilante activities were due to Schoonover.


Is Blacksmith in Marvel Comics?


Death of blacksmith Roy Schoonover

The MCU’s Blacksmith is based on several Marvel Comics characters, with Ray Schoonover (who doesn’t use the alias Blacksmith) being the most significant inspiration. Schoonover was, similarly, Frank Castle’s commanding officer, though he and Castle fought in Vietnam instead of Afghanistan like they did in the MCU. Given Marvel Comics’ use of a sliding timescale, the Vietnam setting would likely be updated in a modern retelling of its original appearances. Like his MCU counterpart, Schoonover was secretly a drug lord who later had members of his unit murdered to maintain secrecy. Schoonover committed suicide after the Punisher forced him to reveal the truth about his illegal activities.

Unlike his MCU counterpart, Schoonover has nothing to do with the death of Frank Castle’s family, and subsequently his origin as the Punisher. In the comics, Castle’s family members witnessed a mob hit and were later killed by law enforcement. The MCU’s Schoonover used the nickname Blacksmith to hide his identity, but that title was never used by his comic counterpart. Instead, the name “Blacksmith” has been used by several minor villains in the comics, including a wrestler and a Skrull. The MCU’s version of Ray Schoonover and his alias the blacksmith made a very important villain for the Punisher and Matt Murdock, as shown daredevil season 2.


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