For the longest time, Marvel Studios have attempted to keep the identity of Black Widow villain Taskmaster under wraps, and for almost the entirety of that duration fans have been convinced that it’s O-T Fagbenle’s Rick Mason, something the actor has either directly or indirectly hinted at himself on more than one occasion.
If that does turn out to be the case, then let’s hope it’s not positioned within the context of the narrative as a major game changing reveal, because not a lot of people are going to be surprised. It remains to be seen just how it’ll be handled, of course, but a new fan theory offers up a much wilder line of inquiry by explaining that Taskmaster could be a clone of Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes.
While there are certain story elements established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that don’t make it sound completely insane, it’s one of the most far-fetched theories we’ve heard surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s long-awaited solo debut. Of course, the Russian connections are there for all to see, and Bucky was the only successful survivor of the Winter Soldier program, while Isaiah Bradley’s role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also made it clear that governments aren’t above using super soldier blood to conduct inhumane experiments, but cloning might be veering a little too far into sci-fi territory for what’s supposed to be the MCU’s version of an espionage thriller.
As ScreenRant explains:
It’s important to remember that Black Widow will take the audience a few years back in the MCU timeline as it’s set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and it’s unknown how long Taskmaster has been operating. Given the skills they have shown so far and the fact that they operate in Russia, it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility that they are actually a clone of Bucky Barnes. Following the failure of the rest of the Winter Soldier subjects, HYDRA’s plans could have gone towards making more soldiers like Bucky rather than replicating what they did to him in other subjects. Stranger things have happened in the MCU, and it wouldn’t be surprising if cloning is already a thing, especially one that HYDRA and other enemies have been secretly using. Cloning Bucky would have also allowed them to improve the serum and the Winter Soldier’s skills without risking losing their best weapon.
Of course, the much more likely scenario is that Taskmaster is tied to the super soldier and/or Winter Soldier program in much more straightforward fashion, especially when Ray Winstone’s Dreykov has been teased as the real big bad pulling the strings all along, and he’s exactly the sort of actor you could buy as a nefarious villain experimenting on entire generations of operatives to get the desired results. The good news, though, is that we’ll finally be finding out for sure when Black Widow arrives at long last in just five and a half weeks.