The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues its expansion, but before it introduces viewers to new superheroes, it will take them back a couple of years with Black Widow, a prequel film with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) as the lead and Taskmaster as main villain – but who is behind the mask? The MCU is moving forward with a new wave of films after the Infinity Saga came to an end with Spider-Man: Far From Home and Avengers: Endgame gave closure to the arcs of some of the original Avengers, among them Black Widow.
Avengers: Endgame saw Natasha sacrificing herself to obtain the Soul Stone in Vormir, and because of that, Hulk couldn’t bring her back when he undid the snap. However, Marvel fans will get another chance to see her in Black Widow, which is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. The film will follow Natasha as she’s on the run from the government and is forced to confront her past. Black Widow will also introduce Yelena Belova (played by Florence Pugh), Alexei Shostakov a.k.a. Red Guardian (David Harbour), and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz). Natasha’s enemy this time will be Taskmaster, a villain with the ability to mimic the physical movements of anyone he witnesses.
The first trailer for Black Widow was released in December, and it offered a brief look at Taskmaster and his MCU look, which is very different to the one from the comics. Now, a new TV spot features more of Taskmaster and teases the battle between him and Black Widow. However, a big question remains: who is playing Taskmaster?
The actor behind Taskmaster is Black Widow’s biggest secret, which has made way for a couple of theories on who it could be and why its identity hasn’t been revealed. Setting the fan theories aside for a moment, Taskmaster is most likely played by O-T. Fagbenle, who was confirmed as part of the main cast during Marvel’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, and hasn’t appeared in trailers yet – without a mask, at least. Bodybuilder Olivier Richters has also been cast in an undisclosed role that some believe could be that of Taskmaster, though he’s listed as “muscular Gulag inmate” in the film’s IMDb page.
However, many fans believe Taskmaster is actually a woman, specifically Rachel Weisz. In the comics, Melina Vostokoff is a Russian agent turned assassin, known as the Iron Maiden, who was forced to live in the shadow of Black Widow, developing a strong hatred for her. Though the Black Widow teasers have shown her as a fellow Red Room trainee and mother-figure to Natasha, Melina being Taskmaster could be the film’s big twist. Although the latest TV spot suggests Melina can’t be, it wouldn’t be the first time a Marvel trailer tries to play with viewers, more so when it comes to big twists. Marvel might not reveal who’s behind Taskmaster’s mask before Black Widow comes out, so the theories will continue until then.
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