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Spoiler alert for Black Widow! Don't read on if you haven't seen Marvel's latest.
Marvel’s first Phase 4 film Black Widow is finally in theaters, and available to stream after multiple delays due to the pandemic. Fans are loving Scarlett Johansson’s send-off movie, and one of the only low points is known ScarJo won’t be returning as Black Widow. The film features Taskmaster as the big obstacle in the way of Natasha and her family’s mission, and some fans had a problem with the reveal of the villain’s identity. Now, the Black Widow writer has clapped back at a hater over the Taskmaster Twist in Black Widow.
Black Widow writer Eric Pearson received hate mail from fans who were upset about Taskmaster being revealed to be Dreykov's daughter, instead of the character Ton Masters from the comics. For comic book fans, this is a possible point of contention for the movie, and some have responded by sending hate mail in the form of DM’s to the writer. Pearson has responded to these messages, telling Comicbook.com:
I got one. I made the mistake of looking in direct message requests and someone said, 'I don't mean to be out of line, but Taskmaster was the biggest betrayal of my life.' I got mad for a second and then I was like, 'Well, you've had a pretty good life then.' If that's the worst thing that's ever happened to you, then you should be psyched because someone in a movie wasn't who you wanted them to be.
Eric Pearson says he made the mistake of checking his DM’s and describes the first message he saw. Someone messaged him and said the Taskmaster reveal was “the biggest betrayal” of their life, which got a reaction from the writer. Pearson seemingly points to entitlement of said fan, pointing out that if that’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, then life must be pretty great.
Black Widow is also available on Disney+ for an additional charge. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
Hardcore fans were upset Tony Masters wasn’t Taskmaster in Black Widow and took offense that Dreykov's daughter Antonia was one of Marvel’s best fighters. Eric Pearson has his own feelings about the comment, and maintains that fans are objecting to a choice that was actually one of the most important details in the film’s narrative. As Pearson goes on to say:
Taskmaster was going to be involved and there was versions before I came that was Tony Masters. I kept thinking, I was like, 'Can this guy somehow not just be a goon?' Because Dreykov in the Red Room is the thing that's tied into Natasha personally in her past of giant, nefarious, that as we learned, the spy station, that is circling the globe in the atmosphere. Why is there this guy? Why would this guy be an arm of them? That's what I kept trying to be... Trust me, I looked very, very far for how do we get this Tony Masters guy to believably be an agent of the Red Room? And then just leaned more towards other things were making sense, other parts of the puzzle were adding up.
Eric Pearson says that early on, Tony Masters was Taskmaster, but he was trying to find a way to make him more than just a guy who fights really well. Taskmaster being revealed to be the daughter of Dreykov, who Natasha thought she had killed, was narratively more effective than just having a goon that’s just there to be an imposing foe.
Taskmaster ultimately fits into the Black Widow’s focus on the Red Room. The choice created some added emotional tension in the story and highlighted some of the regrets Natasha felt about her past. Eric Pearson says he tried very hard to see how Tony Masters could fit in the story, but in the end, it wasn’t believable that he would be an agent of the Red Room. Pearson leaned into parts of the stories and characters that made sense to tell a cohesive story about Natasha Romanoff.
Black Widow featured a few changes to Marvel’s original source material. Eric Pearson has also stated how he felt super guilty about Black Widows post-credit scene. The Black Widow will return, and Florence Pugh is set to take up the mantle, so Natasha Romanoff legacy will continue to impact the MCU.