The upcoming Black Widow standalone movie (which arrives on May 30) received a teaser trailer that shows off much of the hand-to-hand combat that Marvel Studios previewed at D23. The assassin “family” is all back together, including Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff and other Black Widows played by Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz. Oh, and David Harbour shows off his Red Guardian flexing “skills,” but what’s causing some serious head scratching is the look of the villainous Taskmaster.
In this moment, he faces off against Red Guardian, and as you can see, he (or she, because we don’t know who’s playing Taskmaster) mimics his opponent’s fighting style.
In the comics, the character’s drawn with a skull-face design and a hood, but in this movie, his outfit looks, well, a lot more tactical — like he’s extremely serious about paintball or something. And yeah, speaking of the whole mimicking thing, this particular shot is certainly cause for pause.
Obviously, Marvel chose this moment for teaser trailer inclusion for a reason. If the Taskmaster imitates his opponent, who exactly is he fighting with a bow and arrow? This sounds ridiculous and unlikely, but could he be facing off against …. Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye/Clint Barton? That’s a theory that’s now percolating on Reddit and Twitter, and it’s not entirely unfounded.
The Taskmaster copies his opponents fighting – what if this is a scene where he's fighting against Clint??? pic.twitter.com/1fO5OwcjSC
— J Carterx ︽✵︽ (@j_x_carter) December 3, 2019
I want to call this a flashback scene, but let’s talk this out. This movie takes Romanoff back to Budapest after the events of Civil War when she strikes out on her own. In The Avengers, Romanoff mentioned a Budapest mission to Barton as they faced off against the Chitauri in the streets of New York, and that’s when “Budapest” became a running joke for Marvel fans. Obviously, Hawkeye is well-accustomed with Budapest, but this may or may not be him. I wouldn’t rule out a cameo from Renner (and Johansson hasn’t either), since it seems like a waste for all those Budapest jokes to happen without him making a fleeting appearance. Hawkeye was a fugitive after Civil War, and the Russo Brothers were previously cagey when discussing how he handled that status, but I suppose it’s possible that he decided to check up on Natasha. Hell, Marvel might simply be messing with us by including this shot of the Taskmaster plucking up an arrow. Or it truly could be a flashback moment with Clint in Budapest back in the day. Who knows?
Similarly, comic book fans cannot figure out what the heck is going on with the Taskmaster’s suit. From “wack” to “another dull grey villain” to “Peter’s stealth suit,” the comparisons and jokes are flying.
— D A N J A M E S F R A N K (@DanJamesFrank) December 3, 2019
On GOD I cannot wait for Taskmaster. One of the most underrated villains. The suit is a bit wack but hopefully he kicks ass like he should. pic.twitter.com/Ukaqg8Uj9V
— 🦇🃏Matt 🃏🦇 (@_mattkeisog) December 3, 2019
TASKMASTER WITH HIS BOW!!! pic.twitter.com/439dEhCoZX
— SteveTony Endgame //Avengers ᵃˢˢᵉᵐᵇˡᵉ (@colonelrohjaz) December 3, 2019
Who in Marvel's design department keeps thinking more tactical = cooler. Hell, the original Taskmaster's costume design is one of my favourites in Comic books, sure it looks impractical but God I feel so robbed. Another dull grey villain huh?#BlackWidow pic.twitter.com/K91uS9TYGo
— Anton @ being stupid (@Antonymmmm) December 3, 2019
For Christ sake. Taskmaster looks like those dudes who try too hard in paintball. 🤮 pic.twitter.com/VVRKMZQfYT
— Island Papi (@RelevantNothing) December 3, 2019
Why does taskmaster look like the henchmen from GI Joe? pic.twitter.com/5cRCymdeQf
— Tim Hagler gave you all the clues ☃️ (@TchaglerTimothy) December 3, 2019
I’m sorry but taskmaster looks like Peter’s stealth suit pic.twitter.com/vLhHXJ4pF7
— Derrick ⍟ ⎊ CEO of Ps4 Peter (@spxiderman) December 3, 2019
They could’ve given Taskmaster a more comic book accurate skull design helmet. This one looks like a cross between a ski mask and a paintball mask. And where’s his hood? pic.twitter.com/hSQ5pW3KGj
— Jay Koops (@JayKoops4) December 3, 2019