Black Widow is now in theaters and streaming on Disney+ Premier Access, and one of the standout characters is Taskmaster, the relentless Red Room assassin with a photographic memory of fighting styles who pursues Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson) and her surrogate sister, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh). Through most of the film, Taskmaster’s face is hidden behind a skull mask, but now the actor behind that mask is speaking up about the possibility of the character returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the future.
Spoilers for Black Widow follow.
If you’re still reading, it means you’ve seen Black Widow or aren’t averse to having it spoiled.
In Marvel Comics, Taskmaster has a history as a super-villain trainer, but Black Widow reimagines the character as a silent, Winter Soldier-like threat who is nearly invincible. When we finally get a look under the mask, it turns out that Taskmaster is none other than Antonia, the grown-up daughter of Ray Winstone‘s villain, Dreykov.
You might not recognize her, but that’s Olga Kurylenko playing the MCU’s gender-swapped version of Taskmaster. Kurylenko had her breakthrough role as Bond girl Camille Montes in Quantum of Solace, so it’s only fitting that a film like this about superheroes and international spies should utilize her talents.
Her character is part of the proverbial “red” in Natasha’s ledger. Natasha thought she was responsible for Antonia’s death as a girl, but it turns out Antonia is very much alive. Somewhat surprisingly for a Marvel villain, she stays that way at the end of the film. Is it possible she’ll make a return to the MCU, the way David Harbour dreams that Red Guardian might?
Olga Kurylenko on Taskmaster’s Future in the MCU
Our own Vanessa Armstrong recently interviewed the Ukrainian-French actress and asked her about where Antonia/Taskmaster might go from here.
VA: Now that [Antonia’s] in control of her own mind again and she’s with the Widows, what are your hopes for her?
OK: There’s so much you can do. She’s going to be, I think, conflicted between the bad and the good, and probably torn in all directions and try to figure out which way she wants to go. But I think because underneath she’s a vulnerable human, she could be explored in all sorts of ways. The thing is, she could be always caught up in that power and manipulated again. So that’s always a danger. It’s always a danger to keep away from being possessed and concentrate on keeping her freedom. But it doesn’t mean that she’ll succeed at it. And there’s always bad forces that will try to capture her, I would imagine. It’s that kind of character. The character’s too valuable and too skillful to let go. Obviously, even though the main baddie is gone, there’ll be others that are going to try and do it. I would just imagine. I know nothing at all, I’m just speculating.
VA: Would you like to play her again?
OK: Oh, I’d love it. It would be awesome.
In a separate interview with Esquire, Kurylenko reiterated her interest in reprising the role:
ESQ: Given that [Antonia] does go off with all these other trained assassins and has this moment of freedom, can you say what you see in the future for the character?
OK: It’s for the studio. Look, they only decide. They could do whatever they want. Right? They could make her appear or disappear, so I wouldn’t be able to confirm. I mean, obviously the thing is, to me, I enjoy playing that character. There’s so much background story. There was no time to show it all in this film because the story went into the other direction. But there’s so much that, of course, it could be developed.
ESQ: Would you like to, if the opportunity came up?
OK: Imagine I’d say, “No, I wouldn’t.” Would that be weird? Would you even believe me? Of course, I would. It’d be really cool. I’d love to.
Black Widow is currently playing in U.S. theaters and available to stream on Disney+ with Premier Access.
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