Murphy's Multiverse -

Connecting Imaginary Dots: The Taskmaster(s), The Dark Room and The Future of the ‘BLACK WIDOW’ Franchise

If you’ve never read an installment of Connecting Imaginary Dots, allow me to explain the idea. Connecting Imaginary Dots was the title I came up with for my speculation pieces when I was writing at MCU Exchange. These types of pieces basically allow me to unload a bunch of junk that’s circulating in my brain in a way that should never be confused for things I actually expect to happen. I basically take a bunch of facts that are almost always entirely unrelated and do my best to connect the dots with by stretching my imagination. In the past these types of pieces have resulted in me theorizing that the Spider-Man sequel which became Far From Home might end up being a team-up outing of Spidey and Hulk in the Savage Land; however, I also wrote one theorizing that Sterling K. Brown would be playing the father of Erik Killmonger in Black Panther LOOOOOONG before anyone else was considering it and one in which I theorized that Annette Bening was actually Mar-Vell when everyone else still thought Jude Law was playing the character. The bottom line is this: these are fun spec pieces that allow me to just be a fan. With that out of the way…

This piece is probably as convoluted and out there as any Connecting The Imaginary Dots piece I’ve done since I decided that Spidey and Hulk were headed to the Savage Land, but it’s in my head and I’m going to get it out.

Family. The less than subtle theme of this May’s Black Widow has been built up through the trailers and has led us to believe that Nat’s reunion with her Russian family will take her on a bit of a redemptive arc. The film is also setting up Taskmaster as the main antagonist and, often times in film, the antagonist’s arc is a dark reflection of the hero’s. I’m beginning to wonder that as Nat’s reunion redeems her, if we might see a family separated and out for revenge.

There are a lot of dots here, so I’ll lay them out now:

  • Last March, I revealed that Ned Benson’s script work on Black Widow introduced a new character to the mix. The studio was searching for a “diverse female” to play a small supporting role. A number of actresses ranging from Storm Reid (15 years old at the time) to Hannah Quinlivan (25 at the time) were up from the role.
  • 16 year old Liani Samuels was cast in Black Widow as Anya. I believe, but cannot confirm, that she appeared in yesterday’s final trailer.
Is that Samuels front and center? I don’t know.
  • The final trailer revealed that Taskmaster is now in charge of the Red Room and training an entirely new kind of Widow who have no control over their actions. He is essentially the Headmaster of the Red Room.
  • Mark Waid’s run on Black Widow, which began in 2016, introduced the Headmistress. The Headmistress oversaw the Red Room when Natasha was trained. With the help of her daughter, known as Recluse, she has developed the Dark Room: a new, more violent Red Room that would train child assassins and would have no ties to any country. The Headmistress ultimately killed herself, leaving her daughter to become the new Headmistress and out for revenge against Natasha.
Image result for marvel dark room academy
  • Marvel Studios filmed part of Black Widow on location in Norway. I believe a shot of the landscape appeared in yesterdays final trailer:
  • Avengers Academy #1 introduced a character known as Finesse. Over time and because of her abilities as a polymath, she became suspicious that her father was Taskmaster. This has never been confirmed or denied.
  • This is a big one that has to be marked as a rumor: I was told that Black Widow would feature two Taskmasters: the first one male and the second one a female. This is an unconfirmed rumor and only here because it supports my wild speculation.

With the dots all laid out, here’s what I’m staring at:

Samuels’ Anya is Taskmaster’s daughter. Marvel Studios specifically wanted a non-white actress for the role because they were casting her as the daughter of Fagbenle’s Mason/Tasky. Her character is is an amalgamation of Recluse and Finesse. Marvel Studios has a lot of great characters and they’re not going to get to them all, so they’ve brought the two together to make an intriguing new character. Recluse is part of the Dark Room Academy where she is trained by her father. At some point during the climax of the film, her father is killed by Nat, or maybe Yelena. When she find out, she swears revenge, becomes the new Taskmaster and will be the face under the mask going forward. Anya’s loss sets her on the very path Nat is trying to step off of. Of course that means she’s not going to get revenge on Nat so, like I said, maybe Yelena…but you guys all think she’s dead! Which is really weird because this series of screenshots pulled from the trailers tells a really different story: one in which she is alive (note she is wearing the same white outfit without the vest when she’s on the table) and being prepped for some sort of medical procedure:

But all that is another story…

The bottom line is this: I look forward to more Tasky shenanigans and a couple more Black Widow solo films starring Florence Pugh.

How crazy and convoluted is this conjecture? Let me know in the comments!!

What's your reaction?

Comments

  • Nathan

    Is there anything in the casting details of Anya that might indicate she has any more of a role than any of the other Widows we’ve seen so far in trailers?

  • MC Nedelsky

    Some great work here! Man, the people who came up with imaginary dots idea are really clever... ;) In all seriousness, JP, you are doing really spectacular coverage and commentary unlike I see elsewhere with absolutely the best reporting on rumours and leaks that exists. I'm glad it still has a home. Two small thoughts on the continuation of a Black Widow/Taskmaster legacy. In addition to Recluse and Finese, there is the recent Nadia Van Pym character who was raised in the Red Room (but was obviously mostly created to echo the MCU), and also Ava Orlova, the "red widow," who was actually created in a YA novel but then appeared in a few comics. She is a teenage girl as well (plus there is a new mysterious Red Widow in the Avengers comics). I've always assumed Eva Green will be female taskmaster...somehow.

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