As the first film for MCU’s promising phase four, Black Widow is generating quite a buzz around the fandom as it is filled with action-packed scenes and, of course, Scarlett Johansson, as she will reprise her role as Black Widow, after sacrificing her life in Avengers: Endgame.
The fans are excited about the film, they are also curious about two people: Natasha’s father and an unknown metallic-skull masked villain, identified as “Taskmaster.”
In the Black Widow trailers, Alexei Shostakov, who also goes by the alias Red Guardian, appeared like a father figure to both Natasha and Yelena Belova. However, Alexei may or may not be Natasha’s father.
After Endgame revealed that Natasha did not know the real identity of her father, fans expect an answer in her solo film. And now, with an unknown male named Taskmaster appearing in Black Widow trailers, fans think it is Natasha’s dad.
Black Widow is set in between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and it will show Natasha face her past “mistakes” as she fights this anti-hero, which Yelena identified as “Taskmaster.” The actor is not revealed in the trailers, and his identity is still under speculation by the fans.
Of course, I have more to talk about Natasha’s father and the mysterious anti-hero. Continue reading to know more about Black Widow’s father and Taskmaster.
1. What We Know About Natasha Romanoff’s Father
If we look at the MCU plotline so far, there have been two instances that hinted at Natasha’s father. The first mention was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where a computerized program calls Black Widow “Romanoff, Natalia Alianova,” which is quite interesting since Natasha is Russian.
The “Alianova” in her name is not the middle name. It is a patronym (name derived from her father’s name). It sounds pretty close to Alexei’s name.
Let me add more to that confusion. When Red Skull calls Natasha “daughter of Ivan,” in Avengers: Endgame, she expresses how she didn’t even know her father’s name before Red Skull mentioned it. So what do we believe?
The Endgame version is likely the legit one. It is because the mention of her father was in a direct dialogue, instead of the brief mention from The Winter Soldier.
Suppose we were to consider how reliable the sources are. In that case, we are vaguely aware that Red Skull is somewhat of a supernatural protector of the soul stone and may also be an all-knowing omniscient. So it makes sense to me that Red Skull is most likely telling the truth.
Apart from the mention in Avengers: Endgame, no more information is revealed about “Ivan.”
Also, since Black Widow takes place way before Endgame, it is unlikely that Natasha will know who her father is in the upcoming film.
1.1 Then Who is Alexei Shostakov?
In comics (and most likely in MCU), Alexei goes by “Red Guardian” as his superhero alter-ego. He is a Soviet super-soldier, and Russians hoped that he would represent the country, much like how Captain America represents America.
However, unlike in the film trailers, where Alexei is like a father figure to Natasha, he was actually married to her in the comics! So both in the comics and the MCU, Alexei is not related to Natasha biologically whatsoever. So that increases the probability of Ivan being Black Widow’s father.
Now moving onto Taskmaster,
2. Who is Taskmaster in Black Widow movie?
Taskmaster is shown wearing a mask which had a metallic skull at the jaw throughout the trailers. He appeared to be hired by Dreykov, who oversaw the Red Room. Dreykov orders Taskmaster to “Bring her home,” ‘her’ being Natasha.
Yelena reveals that Taskmaster has taken over the Red Room and has manipulated the in-training Black Widows. He appears to be using them to hunt Natasha and Yelena down.
An interesting ability of Taskmaster is that he can mimic the fighting styles of quite a few Avengers. He might even give Kakashi, the Copy Ninja, a fair competition.
The actor for Taskmaster is not revealed in the trailers, and his real identity is a little hard to pinpoint. However, from the comics’ side of the plot, Taskmaster is a guy named Anthony ‘Tony’ Masters with photographic reflexes, which lets him mimic the fighting styles of anyone he observes.
3. Is Black Widow Related to Taskmaster?
So we know that Natasha was trained to be an assassin at the Red Room. But then Dreykov orders Taskmaster to bring Natasha to the so-called ‘home.’ He then proceeds to take over the Red Room, manipulate the Black Widows, and train them to hunt Natasha and Yelena.
Apart from this information, nothing more is available to speculate their relationship further. However, some fan theories have been doing the rounds on Reddit lately.
But one particular theory that stood out the most is where the fan mentioned how Taskmaster could be Natasha’s father, Ivan. Even if it might be a stretch, we cannot ignore the possibility of it being true.
Take a look at the theory on Reddit.
The theory also talks about how there is a character named “Ivan Petrovich Bezukhov” in the comics who is Natasha’s foster father. And then there is Red Skull’s dialogue, “daughter of Ivan.” What is Marvel planning with this? Well, to fully know the truth, we will have to wait till July 9th, 2021, when the movie will be released on Disney plus. Until then, stay safe!
4. About Black Widow
Black Widow is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is intended to be the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Directed by Cate Shortland and written by Eric Pearson, the movie stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff alongside Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz.
At birth, the Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanova) is given to the KGB, which grooms her to become its ultimate operative. When the U.S.S.R. breaks up, the government tries to kill her as the action moves to present-day New York, where she is a freelance operative.