When it comes to their roster of big name heroes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t tend to deal in shades of grey. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and that’s pretty much that. If anything, that only makes the popularity of these characters all the more impressive when you consider how many of them are cut from a very similar cloth.
Tony Stark, Thor and Peter Quill all have some pretty serious daddy issues while Stark, Bruce Banner, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man are all bordering on genius-level intellect and forced into action through loss whether it be of their loved ones, careers or the ability to continue leading a normal life.
Out of all of the major Avengers, only Bucky comes anywhere close to being described as an antihero, and even then he’s only committed evil deeds after being brainwashed by the real villains. Complex protagonists are very thin on the ground in the MCU, but a new fan theory claims that Black Widow‘s Taskmaster could potentially play a recurring role in the franchise as someone with murkier motivations than most. Presuming he survives past the end credits, of course.
As fans will know, Taskmaster’s comic book history has seen him employed by the government before striking out on his own in arcs that involved the Thunderbolts and a secret Skrull invasion, both of which have been rumored for the big screen treatment. The former villain eventually joins the good fight, but given his reputation, he struggles to gain the trust of his peers and eventually resigns himself to being an antihero.
As ScreenRant explains:
Taskmaster could break with MCU villain tradition and not only survive the events of Black Widow, but grow beyond them – and potentially be redeemed as a force for good. The conflict within the character – who enjoyed his time as a hero in the comics, before being reduced back to criminal status by heroes who couldn’t believe he had reformed – is ripe for big-screen adaptation. His conflict with Deadpool on the page also leaves an opportunity to appear alongside the Merc with a Mouth if Ryan Reynolds ever makes his “explosive” debut in the MCU.
The character’s propensity for training henchmen in the source material means that he could be brought back in other MCU movies, although the MCU version does not seem to be following this version of the character. Rather, Taskmaster in the MCU seems to have a grievance with Black Widow and her cohorts, and leads his own well-trained squad of mercs.
If Taskmaster survives to the end of Black Widow, which has been widely speculated to happen, his internal conflict and desire to make up for his past transgressions could lead to him becoming one of the more interesting and morally complicated supporting players at the MCU’s disposal. Not to mention he’s also had plenty of past encounters with incoming names like Moon Knight and Deadpool.