The Taskmaster that served as an antagonist in Black Widow wasn’t the version of the character that fans were used to seeing. Instead of Tony Masters being behind the mask, it was actually revealed to be Dreykov’s daughter, Antonia, a character thought to be dead.
While being able to use the art of imitation in the comics and other mediums, the MCU version of Taskmaster only showcased this ability extremely briefly as she fought Scarlett Johansson's leading heroine.
However, it appears Marvel Studios originally planned on featuring the power in a larger way, and at one point even planned on incorporating a weapon similar to Mjolnir.
Taskmaster Wielding Thor & The Avengers’ Weapons
In Marvel’s Black Widow: The Art of the Movie, official concept art from the Scarlett Johansson film, specifically detailing Taskmaster and some of her abilities. Most notably, concept artist Aleksi Briclot described the character’s powers of imitating her opponents’ weapons and skills, while also talking about some of the MCU characters that Taskmaster copied in the past.
Briclot revealed that there were actually plans to include a weapon for Taskmaster that would imitate Thor’s hammer, causing electricity to fly all over when she smashed a giant taser on the ground.
The "taser-hammer" obviously wouldn't possess the same magnitude of power that Thor's hammer does, but according to the concept art, it appears as though it would do a significant amount of damage to anyone surrounding Taskmaster.
Briclot stated what the goal of showcasing Taskmaster’s imitative powers was, including that “the range of her skills” was important:
“The aim was to illustrate the range of her skills and how she could handle all those powers and weapons in a seamless sequence.”
In the book, Briclot also talked about different members of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and their different weapons were similar to the ones used by Taskmaster:
“So after landing on the ground and folding her wings (Falcon), she’s using a shield to protect herself from a blast (Cap), then she’s firing on some enemies using a rifle (Winter Soldier), using a bow (Hawkeye), even striking a big taser on the ground (Thor), and ultimately using some claws while getting closer to the camera (Black Panther).”
The artist went on to say that, even though this may not have appeared in the film, it was “a nice way to illustrate” Taskmaster’s “mastering” of imitation:
“It’s not a scene literally appearing in the movie but a nice way to illustrate how she’s mastering all those abilities and also to envision the arsenal she could use. The first thing I had to do was develop some kind of fight choreography, even playing through the sequence myself in order to get the seamless motion. I didn’t think before that doing concept art would at some point require some stunt skills!”
In another section, co-producer Brian Chapek explained just how lethal these abilities are for Taskmaster, making her a “terrifying villain:”
“In the comics, Taskmaster has this power called photographic reflexes, fighting you once and then immediately copying your style of fighting.”
Chapek also revealed that the idea was for Taskmaster to have been “watching the Avengers,” and ultimately “building versions“ of their weapons:
“Taskmaster has secretly been watching the Avengers, absorbing their skills, looking at their weapons and building versions of them.”
Chapek ultimately described the character as a “human Swiss Army Knife,” and even explained how incorporating The different weapons was achieved through VFX”
“In creating a character like this, we needed to have clever ways for Taskmaster to be able to hide these weapons. So VFX did a great job, with the help of props, in creating these practical weapons, which could be augmented so they could collapse, so they can be hidden easily throughout the movie - almost like this human Swiss Army Knife.”
Could These Abilities Be On Display in Thunderbolts?
Taskmaster was confirmed to be a part of the Thunderbolts team that will be featured in the self-titled movie coming on July 26, 2024.
As previously mentioned, the imitative abilities that the character possesses weren’t fully put on display in Black Widow, but since the character will be playing a major role in Thunderbolts, fans may get to see some of them more in-depth.
The biggest trick up Taskmaster’s sleeve that was cut from Black Widow was the weapon that mimicked Thor’s hammer. It has been rumored that Sentry will be the main antagonist in Thunderbolts, and if true, every team member will need to pull out all the stops in order to take him down.
Black Widow is now streaming on Disney+.