This morning we got our first look at at what will be first entry in the marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4. Black Widow will finally put Scarlett Johansson’s character in the spotlight, and fans seem really excited for the new movie, except for one thing. Nobody seems thrilled with the MCU’s Taskmaster.
While not specifically called out by name in the new trailer, we catch a glimpse of the character above, who seems, without question to be the villain that we already knew was going to be a big part of the Black Widow movie.
The issue for fans, is that the character of Taskmaster is usually given a very different look, something like the image below.
Concept art for the character that we had previously seen had shown a version of Taskmaster that wasn’t quite the classic look, but was much closer to it than this is.
Clearly, the character has gone through a pretty significant change. The comic Taskmaster look maybe a bit over the top, but that look is part of what fans of the character love about him. Many are less than thrilled with the somewhat more generic version of the character. Taskmaster has apparently traded in his skull mask and while he’s still covered from head to toe, you wouldn’t even know this character was Taskmaster unless you were being told so.
Comic book movies have taken liberties with traditional comic book outfits before. The X-Men movies were so embarrassed by the characters’ traditional design that they made jokes about it. However, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has largely stayed true to original designs. Even characters who went without classic costumes, like Zemo, are getting them eventually.
However, it seems like Taskmaster may have been a bridge too far in the costume department. Perhaps the realistic skull mask was thought to be too corny in a franchise that brings the Marvel Universe as close to reality as possible. So instead, we get this.
One area where the MCU has been more than willing to change the comic books is in making a character’s origin story different than what fans are familiar with. Perhaps that’s why Taskmaster has changed. The classic outfit might not make any sense with the character that we’re going to meet here.
Of course, while this outfit might be designed to feel more “real” that the classic look, there are those that point out that it actually looks a lot like another, far less realistic character.
The real reason for the new Taskmaster design is likely far more simple. China is the second largest box office in the world, and the nation has rules against the depiction of many supernatural concepts, like ghosts and skeletons, for religious reasons. Shanghai Disneyland has a Haunted Mansion like attraction, that doesn’t contain a single ghost or skeleton.
Whatever the reasons for the change, I would guess most fans will ultimately be forgiving if the character is otherwise done well. We’ll find out in May of 2020.