How The 'Black Widow' Screenwriter Created That Surprise Twist With Taskmaster

Black Widow had a blockbuster (by pandemic standards) opening weekend, with millions of Marvel fans around the world catching the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film in theaters or via Premier access on Disney+.

That also means that millions are also in the know about the backstory of the formidable Taskmaster, a warrior who ruthlessly goes after Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and can emulate the fighting styles of more than one Avenger.

/Film talked with Black Widow screenwriter Eric Pearson about his inspiration for creating the MCU's version of Taskmaster. Read on to learn how he approached the character.

Warning! Major spoilers for the movie follow below.

In the last act of Black Widow, Natasha finds out Taskmaster is none other than Dreykov's daughter, Antonia (Olga Kurylenko).  Natasha thought she killed Antonia years ago when she first tried to kill Dreykov. The connection between the two makes Taskmaster more than just a generic villain — she is not only an embodiment of the red on Natasha's ledger, but a revelation that truly surprised the Avenger.

A Secret From Natasha’s Past

"One of the great fears for Natasha Romanoff is, 'Oh, I thought something that wasn't right,'" Pearson told /Film in an interview. "She knows everything. She's in control. She's very meticulous that way. It's how she wants to live her life. The idea that there's a secret is a problem. The idea that there's a secret from her past is a bigger problem. The idea that there's a secret from her past that is hidden and reaching out with a Terminator-like aggression."

Natasha and Taskmaster having this connection wasn't Marvel's initial plan for the character, Pearson explained.

"We always talked about Taskmaster being this straightforward physical villain. And then the idea of looping it into the greatest shame of [Natasha's] past, that's how I constructed it — I wanted Taskmaster to matter the most to [Natasha] as a character and fit our story that way."

That connection causes Natasha to do everything she can to save Antonia/Taskmaster, even though Dreykov has programmed her to do nothing but try to kill her. Natasha succeeds in the end, and Antonia ends the film free from her father and in the care of the other Black Widows. Natasha was able to clear at least some of the red on her ledger, which makes for a bittersweet ending, knowing her sacrifice in Endgame.

Black Widow is currently in theaters and available on Disney+ via Premier Access.