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Will We See Taskmaster In The MCU Again?

Warning: Contains major spoilers for Black Widow.

In the film "Black Widow," which broke records when it was released last week, the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced the Taskmaster, a cult-favorite comic book villain ... who, on film, turned out to be quite a controversial departure from the origins of the character on the printed page. 

Here's the difference: in the source material, Taskmaster is Tony Masters, a skilled assassin who mimics others' fighting styles through natural "photographic reflexes" that he's had since birth. In the MCU, though, the final stages of "Black Widow" reveal the Taskmaster to be Antonia Dreykov (Olga Kurylenko). She's the grown-up version of a little girl who became collateral damage in the final mission of Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) before she joined up with S.H.I.E.L.D. — namely, Natasha used Antonia to lead S.H.I.E.LD. to her father, General Dreykov, the man in charge of the horrifying Red Room, before (seemingly) having them both killed.

The Taskmaster proves to be a formidable enemy for Nat. Like the other women at the Red Room, she's highly trained in the killing arts. More than that, as Dreykov insinuates, he's made sure that she's been taught all the fighting styles of Nat's "other family," the Avengers. This makes Antonia — who has been abused and manipulated by her evil father, who seems to have an overriding need to control women — an even tougher opponent. 

Given the character's fate at the end of the movie, fans can't help wondering now if they'll see her again. Because Black Widow herself is gone, there's no chance Nat will return. However, the newest installment in the MCU seems to go out of its way to ensure that some of its other characters, including the Taskmaster, Yelena, and "dad" Alexei Shostakov, live to fight another day.

A reappearance would, of course, be up to Marvel—but actress Olga Kurylenko would love it

At the end of "Black Widow," Antonia Dreykov is freed from the mind control that she experienced as part of the same Red Room protocols that Nat and her "sister" Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) once dealt with. She leaves with the rest of the Widows, presumably to find and free the hundreds of other trained assassins from the Red Room that have been revealed to exist around the world through Nat's confrontation with Dreykov. Basically, she's alive and well, and thus perfectly able to appear in another Marvel movie.

Actress Kurylenko found her character's ending to be quite appropriate. "I thought it was a touching scene because we were fighting each other and the moment the spell is gone, two heads come close, and it's just so beautiful. It's very tender because we're from the same team where we should be fighting together. It's the recognition that I'm the same as you," she told Esquire. "In the end, it's really nice how all the women come together."

Although the door is now open for another appearance, it's hard to say whether that will happen. Kurylenko pointed out that the studio "could do whatever they want...make her appear or disappear, so I wouldn't be able to confirm." However, she did say that she enjoyed playing the character, because Antonia has such a great background story. "There was no time to show it all in this film because the story went into the other direction. But there's so much that, of course, it could be developed," she said. And she also confirmed that she'd be up for a return performance. "Of course, I would. It'd be really cool. I'd love to," she told the publication, wondering if anyone would even believe her if she said the opposite. 

It looks like the ball, as ever, is in Marvel's court. The MCU's always been good at picking up loose threads, though, so the answer of whether Taskmaster will be back is a definite "maybe."