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“Not every character needs to be gender swapped”: Marvel Confirms Thunderbolts Will Have Same Female Taskmaster From Black Widow, Fans Say There’s No Actual Reason to Swap Gender For This Character

Taskmaster in thunderbolts

Thunderbolts‘ official line-up has stirred some confusion and disappointment amongst many. Besides the contentious absence of Baron Zemo in the mix of the anti-hero ensemble, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have now met with a confirmation they dreaded the most — the return of the 2021 Black Widow version of Taskmaster, played by Olga Kurylenko.

Comics to the mcu
Taskmaster in Black Widow (2021)

Read also: MCU Officially Reveals First Look at Thunderbolts Casts With Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova as Leader of Marvel’s Suicide Squad

To say the reception for Antonia Dreykov’s Taskmaster was lackluster at best would be an understatement. Many believed that the deviation of the villain/anti-hero from the source material was the biggest blunder Marvel Studios could ever make. The egregious portrayal of Taskmaster deeply disheartened the long-time fans of the franchise, as well as the enjoyers of the fictional character.

The Return Of Taskmaster In Thunderbolts

MCU's rendition of Taskmaster
MCU’s rendition of Taskmaster

When reports and rumors were surfacing that Taskmaster is set to be a part of the anti-hero team in MCU’s Thunderbolts, fans were on their knees, begging for Marvel to introduce Tony Masters as the rightful mantle-bearer of Taskmaster in place of the Black Widow variant. Unfortunately, following the D23 Expo announcement and Disney’s press release, the bitter reality of the situation has washed over many fans.

At Disney’s D23 Expo, the official line-up confirmed that Olga Kurylenko would return to reprise the role of the assassin and will be seen working alongside other characters such as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Ghost, Red Guardian, Yelena Belova, Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier, and of course, the U.S. Agent.

Thunderbolts cast
The cast of Thunderbolts

Read also: MCU’s Thunderbolts Fuels ‘M-She-U’ Controversy, Will Reportedly Have Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova Instead of US Agent or Winter Soldier as Leader

Fans are quite underwhelmed, following the much-anticipated team-up reveal. When Black Widow first made its release, people were expecting a concrete MCU adaptation of Taskmaster. Instead, what the world received was a gender-swapped revamp of the villain which did not make much sense.

In the 2021 film’s climax, fans were given the twist that the person under the veil of Taskmaster was none other than General Dreykov’s daughter, Antonia Dreykov.

Taskmaster in the comics
Taskmaster in the comics

This reveal failed to amuse many, as to most people, Tony Masters was the “real” Taskmaster. The MCU rendition, according to many fans, butchered the integrity of the comic-book character, reducing Tony’s identity to a depthless, bland, lukewarm personality in the film. Many believed that the gender swap was redundant and unnecessary. Such opinions are scratching the surface of the online sphere yet again, owing to the Thunderbolts cast reveal.

Fans Are Wary Of Antonia Dreykov’s Taskmaster

Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster in Thunderbolts
Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster

Taking to Twitter, fans expressed their brutally honest opinions on MCU’s Taskmaster. Many believed that Marvel Studios missed the perfect opportunity of introducing Tony Masters, the fan-favorite mercenary in the much-awaited premise of the film that is set to conclude Phase 5. Some others, on a much positive note, believe that now, no longer under the shadow of General Dreykov, Antonia can be truly fleshed out as MCU’s definitive Taskmaster.

A few believe that the character’s return will be “complete garbage” and have voiced strong denunciation. Another part of the fandom claim that they would find MCU’s take on the mercenary/assassin digestible if they gave her “more personality” in Thunderbolts.

Take a look:

Read more: Marvel’s Rumoured Thunderbolts Line-up Leaks Online, Could See Major Villains Return To The Big Screen

Besides the barrage of the opinionated few, fans are also confused over the inclusion of Bucky Barnes’ Winter Soldier into the anti-hero/villain mix. Others are majorly upset over the absence of Baron Zemo in the awaited endeavor. While the inclusion of Black Widow’s Taskmaster in Thunderbolts has angered many, it would be interesting to see why exactly Marvel decided to bring her back, despite the onslaught of criticism it faced back in 2021.

Would the world witness a possible redemption arc for Antonia Dreykov’s villain? Or is the Marvel character set to lead another narrative blunder? All will soon be revealed.

Thunderbolts, directed by Jake Schreier, will see its theatrical release on 26 July 2024.

Source: Twitter

Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Always having had a deep fascination for content creation and pop-culture, Debdipta joined as a writer at FandomWire in 2022. Currently pursuing an undergraduate Mass Communication degree, Debdipta enjoys the intricacies of cinema and film-making, with a year of screenwriting experience to account for. Besides her knack for writing, she's also an avid reader, a connoisseur of music across all genres, and a die-hard fan of Charlie Kaufman.