After the End: Don’t mess with the Widow

2020 was the first year without any content from the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2009. A streak of 10 years lost. This is more heart-breaking than losing an 800 day streak on Snapchat. Anyway, I think a year break might be a good thing. One the one hand, it means we have to wait longer for Black Widow’s last ride, Vision’s resurrection and whatever the hell the Eternals will be about.

However it also gives us time to reflect on the MCU so far. And more importantly, it gives us time to make our predictions on the future! In this series, I’ll be collecting the predictions and writing my biggest hopes for the future of Marvel. (Spoilers ahead: DUH).

It’s about time I cover the other OG avenger with a solo film coming out soon. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), after a year of postponing, will hopefully be back in 2021 in a spy thriller. For this film, we’re going back into the past of the MCU timeline.

Why? Well if you remember correctly, Black Widow wasn’t one of the few that made it to the end of Endgame. She became another example of a fridged (superhero comic-book trope whereby female characters are injured, or worse to move a male’s character’s arc forward) female character when she sacrificed her life in Vormir. Again, this was a perfect opportunity to kill Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

So that’s why we’re heading back to the past. Looking particularly at Black Widow’s journey in the time between Captain American: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. To be honest, even without Black Widow’s death, this is quite a logical choice for a Black Widow solo film.

It’s not an origin story. Nor is it a story which needs an explanation for why she isn’t helped by any of her super friends. She is literally on the run from the Government and the Avengers are split apart. Hence, we get to see her reconnect with some of her past allies.

We’ll also learn a little bit more about her background (which probably would make more sense before her death).

In terms of predictions, there’s not really much to make except for what might happen in 2021’s Black Widow. Florence Pugh, David Harbour and Rachel Weisz are each joining the MCU as Widow’s pseudo-family. Two Russians spies and a Russian Super-soldier. All with connections to the mysterious Red Room that transformed Natasha Romanoff into the deadly femme fatale we’ve seen so far.

I think the biggest question is out of this group who lives and who dies (and who tells their story)? Avengers Endgame made a big deal about how Natasha had lost her everything but the Avengers family. This would leave us thinking that this film may be more like a Rogue One suicide mission.

Anything less would change the meaning of Black Widow’s sacrifice. She stopped Hawkeye from jumping in Vormir because he had a family to go back to. If she has a similar family, however distant, she really just jumped for nothing.

I think the end of Rogue One was amazing. It was heart-breaking to see all these characters that we were getting attached to die as they each complete their mission. It made their deaths so much more impactful. This also put a much-needed focus on the everyday heroes outside the Jedi in the Star Wars world.

I personally don’t think Marvel has the guts to pull this off. I’m expecting more of a cop-out where Natasha thinks they are all dead but one of them survives. In fact, Florence Pugh joined the Hawkeye Disney+ series which is set after Endgame which may mean she will survive this upcoming film.

Cool gals don’t look at explosions. Credit: Marvel Studios

Another big mystery is the identity of this film’s villain, Taskmaster. Taskmaster is an infamous villain from the comics who has photographic reflexes meaning he could mimic and learn any fighting style. 

In the trailers so far we see that Taskmaster has mimicked abilities from Black Panther (RIP Chadwick Boseman), Captain America and Hawkeye, Iron Man and even Black Widow herself which will make them a tough foe.

The person behind the mask has not been revealed yet which I actually didn’t realise how unusual this was until researching for this article. We have no idea which actor is playing Taskmaster which mean Marvel doesn’t want you to know who it is. This means the identity of Taskmaster is important.

It could be a previous villain (which is unlikely because most MCU villains do not make it to another film) or someone we’ve already seen in the trailer, most likely part of Widow’s pseudo-family. We see Red Guardian (David Harbour) fight the Taskmaster in the trailer but that could be a ploy.

Part of the mission is fighting a militia of Red Room spies. This means that this scene could be one of them wearing the Taskmaster suit as a decoy. Is Taskmaster even one person?

Faceless villains are SO 1998. Credit: Marvel Studios

Alternatively, it could be the one main actor who has not appeared in any of the trailers. O-T Fagbenle has been cast in the film as Rick Mason, an ally of Widow in the film. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because in the comics Rick Mason is actually the son of Phineas Mason aka the Tinkerer.

In addition, both Rick and Phineas Mason appeared as siblings in the recent Spider-Man: Miles Morales Playstation game. Again Phineas (nicknamed Phin) in the game turned out to be a villain. The Mason family has quite the villainous reputation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rick is more than just ‘romantically interested’ in Black Widow.

There are so many possibilities for this and no character is not suspicious apart from Black Widow. Comment below what you think the Taskmaster twist will be?

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