Production is underway on the long-awaited Black Widow movie with Scarlett Johansson reprising her role as the assassin turned SHIELD agent and Avenger. The film has been shooting in Norway this month, but details have still managed to stay mostly under wraps. Though we recently learned the identity of the character being played by Marvel Cinematic Universe newcomer Florence Pugh, there hasn’t been much else to reveal.
But recently, a few new set photos spotted a mysterious armored character. Who could it be?
We won’t post the Black Widow set photos here, but other outlets have shared embedded Twitter posts featuring a few different glimpses of a new character. It appears to be a man wearing armor that resembles the color scheme of War Machine suit, perhaps with a bit more of a blue-gray tint to it. The masked helmet looks like something a skydiver might wear, not unlike the one Tom Cruise wears in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, but with the face area obscured.
However, the interesting detail comes from what’s on the character’s back. Not only is there an armored backpack that doesn’t look dissimilar from the one Falcon wears to house his wings (perhaps it houses a retractable parachute instead?), but sitting on top of it appears to be a hood. There also seem to be reddish-orange accents on the hood and backpack. And that has fans making one guess as to who this character might be.
In Marvel Comics, there’s a character known as Taskmaster. He’s a mercenary who has photographic reflexes, giving him the ability to mimic the physical movements of anyone he witnesses, making himself a formidable foe against superheroes. This includes being an exceptional martial artist (mimicking Elektra, Iron Fist, Shang-Chi), a skilled swordsman (Black Knight, Silver Samurai, Swordsman), a deadly accurate marksman (Captain America with a shield, Hawkeye with a bow and arrow, Punisher with firearms, and Bullseye with various projectiles) and an agile athlete (Black Panther, Daredevil).
After committing crimes for his own benefit, Taskmaster realized the danger of such activities, so he instead established a center for teaching aspiring criminals, training plenty of lower-tier villains, including Captain America foe Crossbones, to take on superheroes.
Taskmaster’s comic history paves the way for him to be a soldier with ties to future SHIELD agents. And even though the costume design doesn’t directly adapt the character’s look in the comics, it’s not a far cry from how he looked in the recent Spider-Man PlayStation 4 game (seen above). This would certainly be a much more practical way to bring him to life. After all, using the skull face feels a little too similar to what Marvel did with Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War, and it’s a bit too gimmicky to work in what will likely be a much more grounded Marvel movie since Black Widow doesn’t have any superpowers. Plus, Black Widow having to deal with someone who can easily mimic her fighting style would be quite a challenge.
It would be even more interesting if it turns out that it’s not a man under that armor, but a woman. Maybe that’s Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova under the armor. That would play with her Marvel Comics origins a little bit, but that could be a fun twist on the character who eventually becomes a new Black Widow in the comics. But there’s also a chance it could be David Harbour inside there too.
We’re not sure if this is meant to be the big villain of Black Widow, or if it’s maybe just some kind of side mission that Black Widow has to contend with. But we’re certainly interested to see how this expands the mythology of Scarlett Johansson’s character and what it means for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel Studios hasn’t given an exact release date for Black Widow, which will be directed by Cate Shortland, but it’s expected sometime in 2020.
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