TV & Movies

RIP Thanos: Taskmaster is Already the MCU Fanbase's Favorite New Villain

Marvel fans generally agree that Thanos is one of the best, if not the best villain the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever produced. How do you top being able to wipe away half the life in the universe with a single snap?

Maybe you don’t, but some Marvel fans think the villain in the next MCU movie could come very close. He is the Taskmaster, who will be the big bad in Black Widow. He is primarily known for his ability to mimic any fighting style, making him very, very hard to defeat. 

Who is the Taskmaster?

At first glance, the Taskmaster looks like a cross between Skeletor of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Doctor Doom, but he’s a lot more dangerous than that sounds. He’s a relatively recent creation, having first appeared in 1980 in an issue of Avengers. He tangled the Ant-Man gang with Scott Lang, Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, according to the official Marvel site. 

Hailing from Brooklyn, the Taskmaster, whose given name is Anthony Masters, works as a combat instructor. His very unusual abilities first manifested themselves in childhood when he watched cowboy shows on TV and found that he could perform rope tricks instantly. It was like a low-tech version of that moment in The Matrix when Keanu Reeves gets a shot of training in his head, and just like that he says, “I know Kung Fu.” 

Only the Taskmaster comes by his abilities more biologically. Psychiatrists said he had a form of photographic memory that was more like muscle memory. He ended up fighting for the villains because in his mind, contrary to what superheroes usually tell you, crime pays and crime pays plenty. 

Why do fans like The Taskmaster?

In a Reddit post from this month, the topic-starter said, “He’s already a badass in the comics. He looks absolutely amazing in Black Widow. I didn’t like his mask at first but it’s kinda growing on me. I really hope Taskmaster isn’t a one and done villain. I can see him being in many other MCU movies in the future. What are y’all’s thoughts?”

Thoughts included the following: “Taskmaster just needs to be badass to be MCU’s one of the best villains. Not all characters need to be deep, some of them exist to be badass and they fill that role so well to the point we simply don’t care if they’re deep or not.”

The trailers for the movie don’t show his face, but that’s actually a plus, fans argue. This way, he could continue on for several movies without recasting being an issue. And that raises another possibility – is this the first Marvel villain who could be played entirely by a stuntman or a stand-in?

Who plays Taskmaster in ‘Black Widow’?

The IMDB does not list any specific actor for The Taskmaster or Anthony Masters, but Marvel usually knows better than to let fans connect the dots that easily. Newsweek guesses that it might be O-T Fagbenle, who has appeared in The Handmaid’s Tale. His character’s name is Rick Mason, an old contact of Black Widow’s.

At one point, we see the Taskmaster holding a bow and arrow, which leads fans to wonder if Hawkeye plays a part in all this. Jeremy Renner is in the trailer in what appears to be a flashback, so perhaps we’ll find out just what the deal was with Hawkeye, Natasha, and Budapest. Did the Taskmaster copy Hawkeye?

The bad news is, fans will have to wait a while to find out the answer, because Disney delayed the release of Black Widow indefinitely due to the coronavirus, as they also delayed The New Mutants and Mulan. The good news is, that gives fans a while longer to debate the matter. 

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