nerd radio

Get ready for the new daily show

Was Taskmaster originally a different character under the mask in Black Widow? Here’s the evidence to say ‘yes’

July 18th, 2021 by Marc Comments

Ok, so we’ve all likely seen Black Widow by now and, while it wasn’t the best MCU movie by a long stretch (still The Winter Soldier), it’s a distracting bit of entertainment.

However, it’s most notable for introducing several new characters into the Marvel movie lore with David Harbour’s Red Guardian and Florence Pugh’s Yelena (AKA the new Black Widow) being the standouts.

One of the most disappointing new characters was Taskmaster whose character was stripped down almost past recognition and was revealed at the end to be the daughter of the main villain, Ray Winstone’s Dreykov. We find out in the final act that under the mask is Quantum of Solace actress Olga Kurylenko as Antonia Dreykov and, while it makes sense in the movie as it is, we can’t help feeling this was done to tie into Loki’s line in the first Avengers – remember this one?.

And the reason we think this is because, well, it’s more than obvious that Taskmaster is played by a man in the movie (and it was); the movement, the gait, the size all point to the character being played by a man and not Kurylenko or someone of her build if I were a betting man, after seeing the trailers, i’d have been heading to Australian Pokes Online to bet this was a man under the mask.

Now, of course, this means nothing as men are often used in action scenes, even if the character is female, if the face cannot be seen… but there’s one other bit of evidence that leads us to believe the character was male: in the comics Taskmaster is former SHIELD agent Anthony “Tony” Masters.

Now, look, we have no issues with the change… as I said, in the movie we got, it made sense… even if it did feel a little like the first time we saw Deadpool, left, on the big screen *shudder*.

But… there’s more reason to believe that Taskmaster was likely to be Masters, or a version of him, in the original plans.

The character Mason, played by OT Fagbenle, while a fun character, was pretty unimportant in the whole scheme of things, yet got his own character poster, right, which, after seeing the movie, had many fans questioning why this had happened… as I say, he was a good character but a poster? Really?

Then, in an interview, Fagbenle revealed that the character he ultimately played, was not the character he auditioned for. At all. And he also revealed that he wasn’t meant to appear again in an end scene with Johannson’s Natasha, which makes sense if he was the villain and was dead or had escaped.

“It was a completely different character that I was up for,” the star said. “There were moving parts in the script and people wanted things differently and so the written Mason that we meet is a completely different character than the one I auditioned for. I’m so curious. If someone ever saw that audition, they wouldn’t recognise it.”

He then went on: “Originally I wasn’t in that final scene. I was told secretly that test audiences liked seeing me and Natasha’s character together. There are bigger things than that, that make up the decisions for Marvel, but that was part of the decision. Then we got that final scene. That was a huge compliment.”

Moving parts? Unrecognisable? It seems his character of Mason (Masters? Hmmmmmm) had originally been substantially different.

Then, one other piece of evidence appeared online.

In the mobile Black Widow game (source), Taskmaster’s eyes behind the mask are clearly modeled on Fagbenle, above, which, again, leads us to believe that Dreykov’s daughter was a late addition to the story. I’d say at this stage that putting money on his being Taskmaster originally is a like betting at real money casinos.

Now, we know that at the end of the movie the character of Antonia Dreykov is free of the Taskmaster programming and the world lies beyond for her (although Kurylenko has said she’s love to return: “Of course, I would. It’d be really cool. I’d love to.”) and yes, we believe that we may see Taskmaster return in future MCU movies and this time may be truer to the comic character, but we also believe that somewhere along the line Fagbenle was denied the role he signed on for, leaving his character of Mason pretty much dead int he water and stuck in the past of the MCU with nothing much to do in the future of the franchise.

Anyway… what did you all think of the movie? Why do you think they changed the character of Taskmaster? Or do you think our amateur sleuthing is totally wrong? Let me know all the thoughts, gang.

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….