Editor’s word: The next comprises spoilers for Black Widow.
One of many largest mysteries heading into Black Widow was the identification of the Taskmaster character. We noticed the villain within the first trailers for the movie again when it was speculated to hit theaters in 2020, and ever since then hypothesis has run rampant on who, precisely, is beneath that masks. The character is pulled immediately from the Marvel Comics, and has the flexibility to imitate the combating capability of anybody they see, making them an extremely formidable foe.
Within the lead-up to Black Widow’s launch, many thought the Taskmaster identification was none apart from Rachel Weisz’s character Melina Vostokoff, who served as a mom of types to younger Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena Bolova (Florence Pugh) when the Russians have been residing undercover in America within the Nineteen Nineties.
However now that Black Widow has been launched, we now know who Taskmaster is, and it ain’t Melina. No, the Taskmaster twist is that the character’s identification is definitely that of Antonia Dreykov (Olga Kurylenko), whom Natasha thought she killed when she set off a bomb meant to kill Pink Room mastermind Dreykov (Ray Winstone). Because it seems, Dreykov and his daughter survived, however he implanted a microchip in Antonia’s head that allowed him to regulate her – and for her to be taught the strikes of any fighter she watches. This twist is linked on to Natasha, as a result of the homicide of Antonia as an harmless bystander was the large “pink in her ledger” to which she’s been referring over the earlier movies within the MCU.
However was Taskmaster all the time Antonia? That is the query I posed to Black Widow screenwriter Eric Pearson after I spoke with him just lately throughout a press day for the movie, the place he broke down how they settled on Taskmaster for the villain within the first place:
“It was actually in constructing the present state of the Pink Room. As a result of I really feel just like the Pink Room, much like Hydra, these evil organizations, they develop and alter and adapt. Hydra in Captain America 1 could be very completely different than Hydra in Winter Soldier. The Pink Room in our story was very a lot fully hidden within the shadows, and I used to be constructing this concept of — additionally as a result of we have been confined to between Civil Conflict and Infinity Conflict, we wanted a villain menace that might probably succeed and go unnoticed. So in constructing that, and the concept of working with thoughts management after which deconstructing the mind, and actually chemically altering the mind, this concept, we’d say, ‘Oh it would be actually nice if we might get the thriller of Dreykov’s daughter from Avengers 1 into this.’”
In delving into Natasha’s previous, Pearson says he advocated for her to have carried out one thing actually horrible, which then led to the notion that she agreed to kill Dreykov’s daughter:
“Additionally the concept of Natasha’s darkish previous. I used to be very a lot within the camp of she has to have knowingly carried out one thing that will hang-out her. It may well’t simply be, ‘Oh, I used to be going after a nasty man and a few individuals by chance received harm’. It needs to be, ‘I selected to harm an harmless, particularly an harmless lady, as a method to an finish.’”
In order that then dovetailed into this notion of thoughts management, which they’d already conjured for Dreykov, and from there the connection to Antonia was made:
“After which the concept of, okay, if that’s Dreykov’s daughter and he is this man who has the flexibility to govern and deconstruct the mind, what if in attempting to save lots of his daughter, we might rebuild it and uncover this new photographic reflex factor the place she’s not totally who she was, however she has this further expertise? That is type of how I got here to it. And likewise I felt like for Natasha, the concept there is a secret, and a unfastened finish in her previous could be actually the worst factor for her. You all the time type of need to confront your essential character with their largest concern.”
And in the end, the twist that Melina, Yelena, Natasha, and Alexi (David Harbour) come collectively as this damaged household on the finish to carry Dreykov down drills down the movie’s themes of discovered household. Had Melina turned out to be Taskmaster, that will have simply been one more betrayal that additional places Natasha on guard. However as a farewell movie for the character, it was good to see her reunited with these individuals who raised her – nonetheless briefly – one final time and notice that what they’d wasn’t totally pretend.
Furthermore, the movie does not finish with Taskmaster lifeless. Natasha makes use of the antidote serum to “get up” Antonia, who’s clearly afraid of her father. So now we have now Antonia/Taskmaster on the board as a possible ally to reappear within the MCU someplace down the highway.
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