Photos from Marvel’s Black Widow film posted by Twitter user @DanielRPK may have revealed the MCU’s next villain. A keen paparazzi photographed a mysterious masked actor wearing a blueish-purple outfit clad in what appears to be metal. Fans, bloggers and news sites seem to agree that it is Taskmaster, a villain ripped straight out of the pages of Avengers.
In the comics, Bucky Barnes (aka The Winter Soldier) trained Natasha Romanoff. (Sebastian Stan, of course, portrayed Bucky in the MCU.) Stan is not rumored to be appearing in the film. No plot details have been revealed to date by Marvel and, given the events of Endgame, expect it to stay that way. Speculation by fans is that the events of the film will take place prior to Black Widow’s introduction in Iron Man 2.
So, who is the Taskmaster?
The Taskmaster, Anthony Masters, first appeared briefly in Avengers No. 195 (May 1980) with his full debut in Avengers No. 196 (June 1980). Normally a super-villain in the comic books, Taskmaster has also served the role of an antihero and a sleeper agent. Taskmaster originated in the pages of Avengers but is regular in other Marvel titles like Ant-Man and Deadpool.
Tony Masters has a form of photographic memory called “photographic reflexes”. He began a program of observing the fighting techniques of a large number of costumed heroes and villains. Designing a costume with a white cowl and skull mask, he took the name “Taskmaster” and began to train a large number of thugs at criminal academies. Taskmaster has battled against Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Daredevil and Punisher to name a few.
Could it be another villain?
Looking at the pictures, I personally don’t think it is the Taskmaster. While it is completely possible that they have changed the costume to fit better in the MCU, it seems like to drastic a change. While I wouldn’t understand why, the actor’s costume more closely resembles that of Marvel’s Darkhawk. Despite the resemblance though, Darkhawk’s appearance in a Black Widow movie would be odd given that he was a superhero, not a villain.
Darkhawk’s alter ego in the comics was Christopher Powell. He discovers a mysterious amulet which allows him to switch places with a powerful android that his mind controls. As Darkhawk he fights crime and works with other superheroes to battle costumed villains.
Whether it’s Taskmaster or Darkhawk or none of the above, we’ll have to wait until Black Widow is released to find out!