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Warning: SPOILERS for Black Widow are ahead!
It almost feels like a crime to hide someone like Olga Kurylenko behind a helmet, especially when you hire an action star like her for a film that just happens to be Marvel’s Black Widow. Making up the latest mind-blowing reveal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kurylenko is the official actor behind Antonia Dreykov, the woman we now know as Taskmaster. And while we do get to see her face for a couple of scenes in director Cate Shortland’s big MCU outing, there was one big Taskmaster fight that would have shown us more of the actress' face. The only problem was it was trimmed down.
While there were scenes of Black Widow that did allow Olga Kurylenko to physically inhabit her character, we don’t see too many of them in the film. That’s mostly because of the intense stunt work for Taskmaster, which required several doubles to step in to portray an adversary that can copy anyone’s fighting skills. However, one scene that almost saw another helmet removing moment, coincidentally, was her fight against fellow Quantum of Solace alum/Red Guardian himself, David Harbour.
As we see Taskmaster and Red Guardian fight in one of the ominously sparse hallways of the Red Room complex, the final result in Black Widow is apparently truncated. I learned this firsthand while speaking with Olga Kurylenko during a press day for the film, as I was curious if these one-time James Bond franchise participants had a chance to reflect on how they both landed the same two major film series. This led to the big revelation about their trimmed fight scene, and Ms. Kurylenko’s reaction, seen below:
I did scenes with him, yes. We had moments of that fight that I did, because there were … look, there were obviously, as in every film, more scenes filmed, and then in editing it goes. There were scenes that didn’t end up in the film, just because the film is 2 hours and 15 minutes. So there was more to it. … 3 hours would have been a little too long. There was a moment where the helmet was off.
On the one hand, there’s no official mark on how much was cut from Olga Kurylenko’s Black Widow role, and the only portion we do know for sure was trimmed was the big hallway fight with Red Guardian. Which is interesting because, as we’ve seen in Marvel’s past, hallway fights are kind of one of the studio’s specialties; albeit more so on the TV side of the house. The point still remains that there’s no telling how much more of Antonia Dreykov we may have been able to see in Black Widow.
That won’t stop people from speculating, especially in a post-Zack Snyder’s Justice League world. But as even Olga Kurylenko herself admitted that the editing process of any film is going to see moments left on the cutting room floor that could have lingered longer than anticipated. It’s practically the rite of passage that determines whether your action-packed blockbuster needs to slim down to keep the momentum going, or if it needs a nice comedic gag about Scarlett Johansson’s infamous fighting pose to tie the whole film together. In the end, Black Widow didn’t undergo anything less routine than the usual discussions of what should stay in, and what should be cut out, in order to optimize the movie magic.
With the possibility of Black Widow sequels hanging in the air, and Olga Kurylenko’s Antonia Dreykov/Taskmaster surviving the film, who knows what the future could bring? There’s a distinct possibility that while a return to this world may not see Scarlett Johansson in anything other than archival cameos, Ms. Kurylenko could flex her action muscles in future installments.
Rest assured that if you’re an Olga Kurylenko fan, the fact that she’s entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a promising prospect. And if you, for some reason, haven’t seen her huge reveal in Black Widow, you can enjoy the big moment in theaters. Though there’s also the option of catching the film through Disney+ Premier Access, but you’ll need to be a member of the Disney+ family. Check out the Disney Bundle, which offers new subscribers access to this platform, as well as ESPN+ and Hulu, for one convenient monthly fee.