Black Widow

‘Black Widow:’ Yelena’s Fate and Taskmaster’s Identity

Black Widow’s May premiere is still quite a few months away, but that won’t stop Marvel’s passionate fans from speculating about the film’s plot and Taskmaster’s identity. Here are some of my thoughts and theories about Black Widow’s latest footage that was released at halftime during the College Football Championships earlier this week. 

I have seen a lot of theories floating around Twitter about the fate of Yelena Belova. The one that stands out the most is Comicbook.com’s Brandon Davis’s theory that Natasha’s sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame is a direct reference to Yelena jumping in a sort of similar fashion in Black Widow. There is a moment in the trailer that could align with this theory. 

I, on the other hand, don’t make the same association from that Yelena moment. I understand the desire to make the connection and give Nat’s final act a deeper meaning connected even more to her past, but I can’t be convinced that Yelena won’t survive this film. 

It seems extremely unlikely that Marvel will kill off yet another female character who can eventually take over the helm as a Black Widow figure for Phase 4 of the MCU and beyond. Yelena’s death becomes even harder to believe when reminded that the amazing Florence Pugh is now an Oscar-nominated actress. Nominee or not, it would be a complete misstep to only utilize Pugh’s immense talent in only one film. 

Fans of the characters are chatting a lot about Yelena’s impact on Nat. But what about Nat’s impact on Yelena? In the newest trailer, Yelena says, “You’re fooling yourself. We are still both trained killers.” It wouldn’t be abnormal for Natasha’s time with as an Avenger up to Captain America: Civil War to influence the way she interacts with Yelena and her family we will come to know. 

Natasha speaks about how she tried to be different, emphasizing the difference of her life as an Avenger and her life as what she deems a “trained killer.” Over the course of Black Widow, it would be compelling and quite moving to see Natasha and Yelena continue to learn from each other that what they were trained to be isn’t all they are. They can be heroes. This would work in favor of Yelena taking on the mantle of Black Widow, especially if she is even semi-convinced she can be a hero by the end of the film. 

Natasha’s look in Infinity War could be a nod to the comics where Yelena and Nat switch places. The green vest and the blonde hair could have been Natasha’s disguise while she was in hiding with Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers. Little did Sam and Steve know, Natasha paid homage to her sister that we hadn’t even met yet. This is all speculation, and Natasha’s physical appearance in Infinity War may have nothing to do with Yelena. But where’s the fun in that? 

As for Taskmaster, a lot is still left up to the imagination, even after this new footage. This character shot an arrow in the first trailer, leading people to speculate about a prior encounter with Hawkeye. 

This new footage makes me wonder if that’s not the only Avenger Taskmaster has watched or come up against throughout the history of the vast MCU. The way Taskmaster uses the shield in the new footage suggests that Captain America may have been a prior foe to the villain or Taskmaster likes to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier on an endless loop like me. After all, Taskmaster’s abilities come from photographic reflexes, so Taskmaster has definitely caught that perfect form with a shield from somewhere. It’s quite uncanny.

Since I’m a massive Cap fan, I do hope there is some mention of him in this movie. I’m not asking for a cameo because I know I won’t get one. I want Alexei to talk about Steve, since Red Guardian is Cap’s Soviet counterpart, or Natasha to mention him towards the end of the movie to merge the timelines together. It isn’t absurd to want the future of the MCU to mention the heroes from its past. I miss Steve Rogers, okay?

This isn’t to suggest that Taskmaster is actually Clint Barton or Steve Rogers, because that seems pretty impossible at this point. I’d also cross off Rachel Weisz’s Melina Vostokoff, aka Iron Maiden, after watching this new trailer. Fans have been buzzing that the notorious enemy of Natasha (as seen in the comics) would be behind Taskmaster’s mask, but this footage proves that theory wrong. Melina is seen saving Red Guardian from Taskmaster. Unless she has the ability to be in multiple places at once, Melina Vostokoff is not Taskmaster. 

This leaves O-T Fagbenle’s character as the only option of known cast members to be behind that mask. His character Mason is the only one absent from the trailers so far. Mason is most likely Rick Mason from Natasha’s past with S.H.I.E.L.D. There is no direct proof that Mason is Taskmaster, but I can’t help but wonder. There has to be a reason why Marvel is so hesitant to show any footage featuring his character.

What are your theories? Do you think Yelena will survive Black Widow? Who do you is behind Taskmaster’s mask? Let us know in the comments below!

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