There’s a lot we don’t know about Black Widow’s Taskmaster. Even the film adaptation of the already mysterious comic book character’s gender isn’t necessarily revealed (and we’ve got some theories about that ).
But a new, ‘final’ Black Widow trailer provides a few more clues about Taskmaster – and shows some deeper comic book connections.
Created by Dave Michelinie and George Perez in 1980’s Avengers #195, the comic book Taskmaster is a guy whose real name may or may not be “Tony Masters,” who has the debatable super power of “photographic reflexes” – meaning he can mimic exactly any physical movement he sees performed, even if it means momentarily pushing his body past its normal physical limits.
Despite sometimes waffling on being a straight out bad guy, his usual job is training the henchmen of supervillains to fight the Avengers, though he also sells his services as a warrior in his own right. To that end, he carries a variety of replicas of some of the classic Avengers’ weapons – Captain America’s shield, Hawkeye’s bow and trick arrows, and Black Knight’s sword. He sometimes even uses versions of other Avengers tech – though he usually relies on his photographic reflexes more than any outside enhancements.
Black Widow’s Taskmaster actually has all of these Avengers’ weapons and skills – and more. And the latest ‘final’ trailer showed off a few key skills the movie Taskmaster hasn’t displayed in other footage.
Right off the bat, at around 0:30 seconds in the 2:00 trailer, Taskmaster expands on some Captain America moves we’ve previously seen, blocking bullets with lightning reflexes, tumbling, and hurling their shield. This expands on a scene that’s been previewed in several Black Widow clips (more on that momentarily).
This is followed immediately by a scene of Taskmaster watching Black Widow in action in a scene from Iron Man 2 - presumably absorbing her fighting style.
Then at 1:15, Taskmaster whips out a new weapon in their arsenal. Right after potentially mimicking some of Red Guardian's moves as they square off, Taskmaster unsheathes Black Panther-style claws, and enters that signature Wakandan-crouch. He even throws out what looks like one of T'Challa's - or maybe Spider-Man's - signature missile dropkicks.
At 1:27, we see the other side of a moment that’s been previewed in other trailers – Taskmaster firing a bow just like Hawkeye’s while mounted on a tank. In this case, we get the addition of Natasha and Yelena’s POV – though it’s still the same explosive result shown in mostly all the trailers and clips so far.
Finally – and we’re not claiming any Easter eggs here – Taskmaster draws a sword while chasing Natasha through the falling wreckage of an ongoing plane crash. In comic books, Taskmaster’s sword sometimes ties back to Dane Whitman/the Black Knight – a longtime Avenger who wields the fabled Ebony Blade, and who plays a key role in November’s Eternals.
Given what we know right now, it’s likely the sword is just a sword – a signature weapon Taskmaster pretty much always carries in some form (and didn't Clint Barton/Ronin carry a sword in Avengers: Endgame?). But hey, it’s the MCU – anything is possible, especially when it comes to setting up something in a future film.
All of this harkens back to that previous “Special Look” footage we mentioned . In that footage, Taskmaster shows off some Cap and Hawkeye moves, and throws in more Avengers for good measure.
First off, right at 1:04 in the footage, Taskmaster swings in on a line, does a flip, and gracefully lands a la Spider-Man – and immediately goes into the Cap-style fighting expanded on in the latest trailer.
Then at 1:24, in another glimpse of that same scene, Taskmaster and Natasha land face to face with identical flips, in identical poses – adding Black Widow herself to Taskmaster's arsenal of Avengers tricks.
So that brings us to a tally of Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Spider-Man, and Black Panther, just from what we’ve seen in trailers – all Avengers who were present at Captain America: Civil War's climactic hangar battle.
It’s also notable what none of the trailers seem to show – no advanced Stark tech, no Falcon wings, no Pym Particles, none of the tech seized on the Raft after Civil War or copied by Red Room engineers. As in comic books, Taskmaster seems limited to physical feats they can accomplish through just their own body’s power, and simple weaponry.
So how does this all add up? Well, for one thing, it’s pretty damn cool to get a straight up comic book accurate Taskmaster, one of Marvel’s most visually striking and unique villains. But more than that, it all points to a much deeper connection between Black Widow and Taskmaster, who trains the Red Room soldiers to move and fight in perfect unison, just like Yelena and Natasha are seen doing in the film’s first trailer.
We’ve laid out a theory about how that plays out – and how Taskmaster might be the key to bringing Black Widow back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after her death in Avengers: Endgame, which you can read right here .
Black Widow opens in theaters May 1.