Were Fans Dead Wrong About This Popular ‘Black Widow’ Fan Theory?

The trailer for upcoming Black Widow has been creating plenty of speculation since last summer when an initial preview leaked from the D23 Expo. While that initial leak was just audio, a lot of talk was already developing about who was going to play Taskmaster in the film.

As one of the mysterious figures in Black Widow comic book lore, many fans were beginning to assume someone close to Natasha Romanoff was behind Taskmaster’s mask.

There was assumption one of the Black Widows, Melina, (played by Rachel Weisz) would be Taskmaster. Now new footage seems to show otherwise, leading fans to wonder who’s really the mysterious person behind this figure and if they know Natasha.

Is it really a man under the mask after all?

Kevin Feige speaks onstage
Kevin Feige | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

It would have been a great twist to have Taskmaster be a woman

Based on Marvel comics, Taskmaster is a villain trained to perfectly mimic the skills of any superhero. Because he/she has a superior memory, it’s possible for Taskmaster to duplicate any physical ability by merely being a quick study.

In the original comics, he’s an American figure born in Brooklyn. Whether that will still stay the same in Black Widow is anyone’s guess. Some speculation suggests Taskmaster is running the Russian Red Room where the Black Widows were originally trained.

Since Taskmaster always leaves his skull-like mask on (kind of a Mandalorian thing), it’s possible the identity of this character could be anyone out of the blue. Most fans were hoping there would be a twist of the character being a woman, notably Melina.

Then again, having a twist like that was too obvious, hence Kevin Feige and screenwriter Eric Pearson likely wanting to bring some unexpected plot turns.

According to one media source, the theory of Melina being Taskmaster has been ruled out based on a more careful study of new footage available of the film.

Does a ‘Special Look’ feature really prove Melina isn’t Taskmaster?

Unless there was some clever editing, a recent preview piece showing behind-the-scenes footage for Black Widow indicates Weisz’s Melina couldn’t possibly be doing double duty as someone else. During a fight sequence between Red Guardian (David Harbour) and Taskmaster, Melina, Yelena, and Natasha are seen in the same room.

According to Screen Rant, this is compelling enough evidence to disprove Melina being Taskmaster in any conceivable way. The next best theory is one easier to guess: Taskmaster is Rick Mason (played by O.T. Fagbenle).

Anyone who knows the history of Black Widow comics knows Rick Mason is a former love interest of Natasha, not including being an ally in SHIELD. Having him being revealed as Taskmaster would be just as much of a surprise twist, even if it just seems too convenient.

Maybe the biggest surprise of all on who Taskmaster is will be he isn’t anyone of note after all.

The shocking reveal may be dying out in big franchise films

Kevin Feige is too astute to all the movie trends to want to stick with overly obvious formulas. It seems every big franchise film has to have a major reveal of a character being someone else, especially if a mask is involved.

Star Wars made this an art form, even if it kind of sputtered with the final twist of Rey being Palpatine’s granddaughter in The Rise of Skywalker.

Having Black Widow do the same thing with Taskmaster seems like a cop-out, something Feige likely won’t adhere to. While Taskmaster ending up being Rick Mason could lead to some wild romantic conflict between former and Natasha, making this masked figure stay mysterious may be in the cards.

No doubt Marvel is hoping to do more Black Widow movies. Revealing who Taskmaster is in this film would ruin any potential of him/her staying interesting in the future. Perhaps fans should realize the value of masked villains staying anonymous for as long as possible.