One of the big mysteries in Marvel's upcoming Black Widow is the lead character's adversary. Though Natasha Romanoff has fought many antagonists in her career, her biggest adversary has always been herself. A solo outing, espeically set during the emotionally turbulent period between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, would suggest a film centered on coming to terms with her history. But that doesn't make for a big action-adventure story. That's why fans are relieved to learn Romanoff have a real enemy in "The Taskmaster." But who is the Taskmaster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? The final trailer for Black Widow gives fans some answers.
The Taskmaster in the comics is the alter ego of Anthony “Tony” Masters. First introduced in 1980's The Avengers #195, he began as an adversary against Ant-Man and The Wasp, who were rescued from his clutches by fellow superheroes Captain America and Iron Man.
Unlike the superheroes he fights, the Taskmaster isn't a a man who gained superpowers via chemicals or technology. He was born with a supernatural gift for imitation, or "photographic reflexes." His ability to pick up the fighting skills of anyone he goes up against has long been the character's calling card. One can see in the trailer the MCU plans to keep this aspect in the version that comes to the big screen. Not only does the taskmaster directly imitate Black Panther's fighting skills, he also does the Cap shield throw and Hawkeye's bow tricks.
He's even seen studying camera footage of Natasha from her first appearance in Iron Man 2.
But that's where the similarities seem to end. The Taskmaster is no longer a Brooklyn-born-and-based adversary content to impersonate Captain America when convenient. In the new film, the Taskmaster has gone to the former USSR and taken over the program known as the "Red Room" which produces the Black Widow spies for Russian intelligence. Romanoff's fight with him isn't just business, it's personal.
Also, watching the Taskmaster pick up Black Widow's moves to use against her on video also make poke a hole in the theory they are someone Romanoff has met before. Fans had previously assumed his Hawkeye bow work meant Clint and Natasha had faced off with the villain before. But if the Taskmaster is learning via video, then he could easily have picked up both T'Challa and Steve Roger's moves without having met either of them before.
Either way, fans are eager to see the famous villain show off their blended superhero moves on the big screen. Black Widow arrives on Friday, May 1, 2020.