Black Widow Theory: Could Rick Mason Be Taskmaster?

With the Black Widow film delayed, we thought we’d dive into a possible theory surrounding Rick Mason.

The first entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four is almost upon us with Black Widow, but we’ll need to wait a little longer for its release. That doesn’t stop us from creating theories surround certain characters in the movie. In fact, we’ve heard next to nothing about one individual who is meant to be on Team Natasha. Who are we talking about, you might ask? Well, it’s Rick Mason who is the subject to our newest theory.

From what we know of Rick Mason so far is he will be a supporting character with ties to S.H.I.E.L.D and may be Nat’s potential love interest. He will also be portrayed by O-T Fagbenie, but there’s little we can say about him. Could it be that this guy might be the villain, Taskmaster?

Who Was Rick Mason In The Comics?

In Marvel Comics, Rick Mason is the son of Spider-Man villain, Phineas “The Tinkerer” Mason. His main alias was The Agent as he served as a freelance mercenary who worked with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., and Luke Cage, amongst others. Over the years, he was a hired gun to take out the likes of several individuals including a CIA mole known only as Vitamin.

Enter The MCU’s Version Of Rick Mason

Rick Mason
[Credit: Entertainment Tonight]

At the moment, we know very little about the Rick Mason of the MCU. However, we do know that he is no relation to the version of Phineas Mason who appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming as a goon of Adrian Toomes.

As we stated in our introduction, the version of the Rick Mason character in the MCU is very different to the comics. Yes, he’s still associated with S.H.I.E.L.D. but it’s currently unknown if he is a mercenary working under Fury. All we know is his link to Nat is through S.H.I.E.LD as she too served the organisation before she became an Avenger.

Mason is also African-American by the looks of it while the unrelated Phineas Mason from Homecoming is Caucasian. So what does any of this have to do with Taskmaster? Well…

Little To No Promotional Material

Rick Mason
[Credit: Marvel Cinematic Universe Fandom]

One of the reasons why we think Rick Mason is Taskmaster is there is little to no promo material relating to the potential love interest except for the image above which is from the final poster. He doesn’t even appear in any of the trailers for the film.

If he is a mercenary like his comic book counterpart, he would need to know other people’s fighting styles in order to imitate them. After all, Taskmaster’s abilities include being able to copy the abilities of others. We got a glimpse of this in the first Black Widow trailer where he is wielding a bow and arrow. This is a nod to Nat’s BFF, Clint Barton/ Hawkeye.

During the final trailer, Taskmaster is seen imitating T’Challa/Black Panther. He even has clawed gloves like the King of Wakanda. During his battle with Red Guardian, the villain is copying his moves of him and those of Captain America. There is a chance he might have copied Spider-Man too.

If Rick Mason Is Taskmaster Why Is He The Villain?

The MCU has always an issue with the way they right the villains. The only two worthwhile adversaries we can really vouch for are Killmonger and Loki. If they make Rick Mason an enemy to Natasha and her surrogate family, they would need to have a compelling reason why.

For all we know he could be a scorned love interest whom Nat had zero affection for. He could even be under Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross’ payroll to capture the former Red Room operative. Remember, the film takes place after Captain America: Civil War but before Avengers: Infinity War. This mightn’t have anything to do with Mason’s role. Though, it’s important to point it out because he could connect to future stories if he survives.

Another option comes from a comment Yelena makes in one of the newer trailers. Taskmaster is the leader of the new incarnation of the Red Room. Could Mason as Taskmaster be trying to lure Nat back into the organisation she is trying to bring down? We know from her backstory that upon graduation, she is sterilised so she couldn’t bear children. We also see something similar happen to her sister figure in the trailer. However, it looks likes it’s not Yelena at all as there’s a line around the top of her face that could be a mask.

He might also not be after Nat. It’s possible his target is actually Alexei and the only way to get to him is through the woman Shostakov considers to be like a daughter. There might even be a grudge between the pair for a reason unknown to us.

A Secret Red Room Agent?

Okay, so this next thought is a little far-fetched but we need to follow the clues. What if the Red Room isn’t just training women Black Widows but a male version too? What if Mason is brainwashed into doing their bidding and he’s Taskmaster without realising it? We know Thunderbolt Ross is involved in the film, but it’s currently unknown to what degree.

If Rick doesn’t know what he’s doing then there might be room for him to play both sides. If our theory is correct, he’ll serve as an ally to Natasha but working for the Red Room and/or Ross. Or it might be in reverse. In saying this, it might explain why there’s very little material featuring the former S.H.I.E.L.D agent so that it’s a surprise to the audience when it happens.

cjhawkings

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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