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WARNING: The following article contains (and is almost entirely dependent on) SPOILERS for Black Widow so proceed with caution unless you are already up to the task.
While Taskmaster may not have been the “big bad” of Black Widow (a position saved for Ray Winstone as Dreykov), the character’s big screen debut led to some of its most thrilling moments, including the reveal that the villain was really Dreykov’s daughter, Antonia (Olga Kurylenko). The Scarlett Johansson-led superhero movie also rewrote Antonia’s fate by freeing her from her father’s control and giving her the chance to use her skills of copying her opponent’s fighting styles for good instead of evil. If we are to expect more of Antonia Dreykov in upcoming Marvel movies and/or upcoming Marvel TV shows, what titles might she appear in most likely? We have a few suggestions.
Disney+’s upcoming series centered on Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton passing down his Avengers moniker to Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop may be the most obvious answer when pondering where Taskmaster could appear next. The Black Widow end credits scene teased what to expect from Marvel’s Hawkeye TV show when Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) was assigned to track down the archer by Julia-Louis Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who is suspected to be putting together the Thunderbolts for the MCU. Since Taskmaster has been affiliated with (and currently leads) this team of anti-heroes in the comics, Antonia Dreykov could be Valentina’s next recruit.
Captain America 4
Another known ally to the Thunderbolts is John Walker - played by Wyatt Russell on the Falcon and the Winter Soldier cast, which also saw the failed Captain America get a second chance by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine to become U.S. Agent. I would not be surprised if he, accompanied with the rest of the Thunderbolts, crossed paths with Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson again when he allegedly bears the stars and stripes in his own movie. That being said, and considering we probably have a while before Captain America 4 comes out, Taskmaster could very well have a place on the Thunderbolts by then.
The Thunderbolts are also famous for being key players in Secret Invasion - a game-changing Marvel Comics even that was written by Brian Michael Bendis in 2008. In fact, the team (then led by Norman Osborne, a.k.a. Spider-Man villain Green Goblin) was responsible for defeating the Skrulls, who had been outed for replacing various Marvel characters, at the end. While we are not sure how the popular arc will be interpreted in the upcoming Secret Invasion TV show now that Skrulls are reimagined as allies to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), there is no reason to believe that Taskmaster and the Thunderbolts might not be involved somehow.
Another team that Taskmaster has been affiliated with in the comics is the Frightful Four, whom you were probably able to guess are Fantastic Four villains within a split second. Now, most fans might assume that Marvel Studios’ Fantastic Four reboot (one of the most furiously anticipated upcoming superhero movies) will incorporate Doctor Doom as the “big bad,” but I’d actually like to see a villain of his magnitude saved for a crossover movie and give this superhero family another foursome to contend with instead. On the other hand, it may seem unlikely that Antonia Dreykov would revert to her villainous ways again following the Black Widow ending, but we all know from the experiences of Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) how easily a mind control victim can relapse.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
However, as we also know from Bucky Barnes’ flashback in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 4, the best place someone can go to cure their mind control is Wakanda. I imagine that the Dora Milaje would be more than happy to offer their services to another reformed assassin hoping to recover from years of psychological manipulation like Antonia Dreykov has suffered as Taskmaster. Even if it means nothing more than a small cameo in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, knowing that Olga Kurylenko’s character is getting the help she needs to make sure she is completely liberated from her father’s torment is all I will need, personally.
Then again, even with the most successful recovery results possible, if there is one person who could bring the violent nature out of Antonia Dreykov, it would have to be Deadpool, whose third film and first to officially be MCU canon has yet to officially go into production, but is looking quite promising so far. I also think bringing in Taskmaster for a face off against Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 3 would be a great opportunity because, in the comics, the character is unable to copy Deadpool’s fighting style due to his unpredictable personality and fractured mind. Watching her struggle to contend with the Merc with a Mouth sounds great and would be a fun way to show a different side of the character.
A side of the Taskmaster character that has never been seen in the comics or elsewhere is a thirst to hunt those with a thirst for blood, like Blade. Of all the characters that we could expect to see join Mahershala Ali in his upcoming MCU reboot of Blade, Antonia Dreykov might actually be the least likely candidate if I am being truly honest. However, with how dramatically Black Widow took liberties to adapt Taskmaster from the comics (including the surprise gender-swap), why not go even further with the changes and make her vampire hunter, too?
With how little we know about some of these movies and TV shows still being cooked up at Marvel Studios at the moment, it is hard to tell if any of these scenarios involving the return of Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster are even possible. Still, there is no harm in having a little fun speculating where she might pop up next, especially in a franchise as expansive and with as much potential as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Is there a Marvel movie or TV show you would be most excited to see Taskmaster appear in next?