Taskmaster & Florence Pugh’s Yelena Revealed in First Black Widow Footage

Posted 2019/12/0330

The first Black Widow trailer has arrived and it brought with it some first looks at major characters who are poised to make their Marvel Cinematic Universe debuts. Specifically, the trailer provides us with the reveal of both Taskmaster, who will be the main villain, and Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, who is playing Natasha Romanoff’s sister. In both cases, the characters allow for speculation, but there is also room for critique, specifically in the case of Taskmaster.

We already took a look at David Harbour as Red Guardian. Now, it appears that Florence Pugh’s Yelena is also a major fixture in this next Marvel movie, and is positioned here as a big player in the events that will unfold in Black Widow. She fights with Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha before they join forces to fight whatever forces they need to tackle. At this point, the movie’s plot is still largely being kept under wraps. What we know for sure is that the movie will be taking place (mostly) after the events of Captain America: Civil War and before the events of Avengers: Infinity War.

In the pages of Marvel Comics, Yelena Belova trained in the same Russian program as Natasha Romanoff to become a spy. She was positioned as a replacement for Black Widow once her allegiances changed. Much like Natasha, Yelena doesn’t have any true superpowers, but she is a master in combat and an expert marksman. The character made her debut in Inhumans #5 in 1990 and was created by Devin Grayson and J.G. Jones.

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Moving on, we’ve got Taskmaster to discuss. This is a villain that many fans were excited to see and, while we saw a version of the character on some artwork released over the summer, we hadn’t seen the figure in action. Until now, that is. Unfortunately, for many, the look isn’t what they were hoping for. Quite a few fans took to Twitter, expressing frustration with the somewhat toned-down look. Taskmaster is missing the blue and orange accents from the costume in the comics. We’re also not seeing the signature cape, hood or skull mask. Considering that we’ve had very faithful costumes for many other characters in the MCU, it’s curious that Marvel opted to go with a more tame big screen interpretation here.

For those who may not be familiar, Taskmaster first appeared in the pages of The Avengers #195 in 1980 and was created by David Michelinie and George Perez. The villain is the alter ego of Tony Masters. Though, we don’t know for sure who is under the mask here and many have speculated we could be in for a gender swap. Rachel Weisz’s Melina is something of a mystery and, speculating a bit, maybe we’re going to see her make a turn in that direction?

Taskmaster is a master in the art of hand-to-hand combat and has a genius-level intellect, in addition to being a great swordsman and archer. Some of that is teased in the trailer, specifically the archery bit. Cate Shortland (Lore) is in the director’s chair for this one, which will be the first Phase 4 MCU movie. Black Widow hits theaters on May 1, 2020, from Disney and Marvel.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb