Black Widow- Taskmaster & the Multiverse

When Marvel Studios announced that their first film in the much-hyped Phase Four, the post Endgame era, would be a Black Widow movie it raised a few eyebrows. For some, it seemed a little late, even before we take the events of Endgame into consideration, and that doing a Black Widow movie now seemed to miss the window of a prime release. Now once you add in the fact that she’s died (#asoulforasoul) and it would appear that that window is all but closed. How would audience members respond to seeing a movie set before both Infinity War and Endgame with a main character who will not be able to move forward in the larger MCU narrative? We all know that Widow kicks ass but after this movie, she won’t be kicking much of anything anymore besides the bucket (#toosoon). 

Yet, we live in a world where the first and possibly only Black Widow movie is two short months away and Marvel has promised us that it’s important. In fact, I’ve read that Black Widow will change the way that we view Infinity War and Endgame and that’s some pretty huge hype. Those are two movies that have already delivered massively on their promises and now we can possibly alter how we see them? Stuff like that always makes me nervous. It’s like eating your favorite lunch for years only to find out that the cold cuts are actually made from animal hair, not meat. That’s not a great reveal, it’s actually making me gag currently, and it’s going to change how you feel about that lunch forever. I trust Kevin Feige with my unborn children, don’t tell my wife, but I worry that this change will turn Infinity War into that unwanted hair sammy. Revisionist history is always a gamble.

With the final trailer for the film released earlier today, I can honestly say that the hype for Black Widow is real. This final trailer gave off some serious Bourne Identity vibes and I think this could be the Marvel espionage movie we’ve been waiting for. Perhaps a little too late but it certainly looks like Marvel and Feige are giving Natasha the sendoff she not only deserves but has completely earned. But what about the impact moving forward? We’re more likely to see the Astros receive standing ovations in each stadium they visit this baseball season then we are to see Marvel kick off Phase Four with a movie that doesn’t matter. That’s just silly talk. We know something big is coming the larger question is what?

Let’s take a moment and look at what the MCU has mapped out for Phase Four because things are looking like they could get rather, uh, Strange. As in Doctor Strange… I’m aware that this transition wasn’t even remotely smooth but you’re still reading so what does that say about you? Seriously though, we know that Wandavision, Loki’s upcoming series, and Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness all have to deal with… the multiverse! That’s a huge deal and a good chunk of this upcoming Phase Four. If Widow is, in fact, going to change how we perceive things, is it in the realm of possibility, or out of the realm (?), that that change comes directly from the multiverse? 

None of the film’s trailers have given us any implications that this is even remotely possible, there has been a thread throughout that has raised some eyebrows. How is Taskmaster able to fight like all of the Avengers? Watch him in the three trailers we’ve seen. At different times he’s fought like Cap, Hawkey, Widow, and T’Challa. We know from the comics that Task has the ability to mimic and emulate the physical abilities of others, and we see him in this latest trailer studying footage from Iron Man II,  and I think there’s a strong case to be made that he is a survivor of the Winter Soldier program. A leftover from those Zemo supposedly killed. Maybe Zemo kept one alive to eff with the universe or perhaps he didn’t even know of this secret soldier Popsicle. Perhaps this will even play into the upcoming Falcon and the Winter Soldier giving Phase Four even more connective tissue. 

That is my logical explanation and the one that I’m leaning toward yet there’s something tickling the back of my brain with a feather duster when it comes to Taskmaster, and maybe it’s because there’s a possibility that he’s from the multiverse. He’s certainly a character that’s meddled with the multiverse in the comics (either Spider-Men I or Spider-Men II… I forget things sometimes). Maybe this version of Taskmaster could be one world’s version of Captain America or a super-soldier made from all the Avengers. This would explain his fighting style and could lead to a massive reveal when his mask is removed. Suddenly Widow goes from in between movie to HOLY CRAP game changer. And it’s not like the multiverse is coming out of nowhere. Far From Home used the multiverse as the foundation of Mysterio’s scam and while it amounted to a whole bunch of nothing it may have been there to plant the seed for Phase Four. 

Perhaps though Taskmaster is just an unfrozen leftover from the Winter Soldier program. That doesn’t mean we should discount the multiverse as the underlying threat or issue within the film. Who knows, maybe Taskmaster is working to open or expose the multiverse to the broader MCU, again very comic-like, which could lead to some interesting developments. Developments like the Widow we see in Infinity War and Endgame not being our Widow. Whatever the end battle is maybe it leads to our Widow switching places with another Widow of the multiverse. Maybe our world depends on her leaving it? That could explain her blonde hair come Infinity War and negate the theory that she dyed it to be an undercover Avenger with Cap or maybe dyes it after this movie to honor her sister who could possibly not make it. 

The thing with the multiverse is it opens the door to all types of shenanigans, and I’m not talking about the restaurant with all the crazy crap on the walls. What if, Black Widow is the first Marvel movie to take place on a different earth?! What if this whole thing is a misdirect and we’re not even watching a movie with our Widow? Think back to Endgame, Natasha very famously states how being an Avenger gave her this incredible family. Something she never had prior to this. The trailers are implying that there is a serious Romanoff reunion taking place and maybe that reunion is only possible because this isn’t our earth. I’m okay with that because it’s given us David Harbour as the Red Guardian something which has already enhanced the MCU greatly and gives even more Harbour goodness this year. But if this is a different earth maybe this Natasha enters our world at the end, or gives us hope that she can return, and we suddenly have the chance to get Black Widow back. 

At the end of the day, we can’t ignore the fact that Kevin Feige chose Black Widow to jumpstart Phase Four for a reason. Nothing in the MCU is done by accident and this has to be more than giving us a Black Widow movie a little late in the game. This is a very deliberate choice and considering the direction the MCU seems to be heading with Wanda and Doctor Strange, it would make sense for this to be multiverse related. All things considered, something strange is going on here and in two months we’ll know if it’s multiverse strange (phd) or something else altogether. Either way, it looks like the MCU is about to go through some serious changes and those changes start with Black Widow.

 

Have thoughts on the latest Black Widow trailer? Theories? A rebuttal? Sound off in the comments below. If you’d like to discuss these theories with yours truly more in-depth you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. We’ve got two months to kill, why not kill them together.

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