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Antonia Dreykov (Russian: Антония Дрейкова), also known as Taskmaster, is the daughter of General Dreykov, who possesses uncanny photographic reflexes that allow her to mimic the fighting techniques of other individuals. Having been gravely injured during an assassination attempt on her father, Antonia had her mind and body controlled by a chip, turning her into Taskmaster. Becoming the Red Room's commander, Taskmaster had been ordered by her father to track down Yelena Belova, who had taken their Red Dust and could free the other Black Widows. This put Taskmaster on a collision course with the person who nearly killed her years earlier, Natasha Romanoff. However, as Romanoff had successfully killed Dreykov and destroyed the Red Room Academy, Taskmaster was exposed to the Red Dust, freeing her mind from Dreykov's control and allowing her to then escape in order to rebuild her life.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early Life
- 1.2 Red Room Assassin
- 2 Personality
- 3 Powers and Abilities
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Facilities
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Behind the Scenes
- 9 References
- 10 External Links
Raised by General Dreykov
Antonia Dreykov was born to General Dreykov, leader of the Red Room. Unlike many other young girls, whom Dreykov would encounter throughout his life, Antonia was not forced to go through the Red Room Academy and be trained to become a skilled assassin and a member of the Black Widows. Instead, Antonia was actually allowed to attend a school while living in Budapest, and maintained a close relationship with her father.
Following a day at school, Antonia Dreykov had gone to visit her father at his office in Budapest, where she happily ran up the stairs to greet her father, who was still working at that moment. However, not long after she had arrived, a bomb was detonated in the office, causing a massive fireball, caused by Black Widow and Hawkeye, who were attempting to assassinate Dreykov.
Despite being right in the middle of the fireball, Antonia and her father barely survived the explosion, with Antonia's face becoming severely disfigured by the flames, much to her father's disgust. Believing her targets dead, Romanoff was haunted by the apparent death of Antonia for years. In order to save Antonia's life and stop her agonizing pain from the damage that she had sustained, Dreykov had inserted a chip into the back of her neck, nulling her senses and giving Dreykov complete control of her.
Transformed into Taskmaster
Having survived the bombing that Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton had arranged, Antonia had her emotions and senses disrupted by the chip that Dreykov had inserted into her head. With her under his complete control, Dreykov put his daughter through the Red Room, where he discovered that she had a skill for mimicry, and could recreate her enemies' movements by simply studying them closely enough. Over the years, Antonia would successfully complete her training at the Red Room Academy, becoming Dreykov's finest assassin.
However, as Dreykov remained disgusted by the burns covering his daughter's face, he provided her with a Taskmaster Suit, including a mask to hide her burns, which also provided her with a HUD display, to assist with combat. Antonia was given the code name of Taskmaster, becoming the head of the Black Widows, under Dreykov's command, who would only send her on the most important missions. To become the superior assassin, Taskmaster would watch footage of the Avengers in combat, studying their fighting styles, in order to mimic them in combat.
Red Room Assassin
Given Her Next Assignment
Having learned that Yelena Belova had come across the Red Dust during a mission to assassinate Oksana, and had subsequently escaped with it, General Dreykov chose to recruit Taskmaster to get the Red Dust back. While Taskmaster had been preparing for her next mission by watching video footage of the fight between Hawkeye and Black Panther, she was interrupted by Lerato, who installed new information into Taskmaster's helmet about the mission.
Taskmaster was deployed in Norway to intercept Natasha Romanoff's transportation of the Red Dust. Taskmaster first attacked the spy by blasting her vehicle off the road with an explosive projectile and proceeded to approach her, but raised her shield to deflect sudden gunfire, then hurled it at the spy and wedged it in her car window before the latter could shoot again in order to obscure her vision. She then retrieved her shield and flipped off of Romanoff's car while blocking more gunfire, until she decided to disarm her of her pistol with a kick.
After attempting to throw her shield at Romanoff again, the spy attempted to subdue her with her traditional head-scissor throw, but Taskmaster used the same technique against her, resulting in the both of them lying on the ground. Taskmaster kip-upped into a fighting position nearly identical to Romanoff, much to the latter's bewilderment.
As Taskmaster attempted to collect the Red Dust from the crashed car, Romanoff used a grappling hook to tie a wire around her leg, launching Taskmaster into the air. However, Taskmaster then proceeded to use her sword to cut herself free, leaping down behind Romanoff, just as she was attempting to take the Red Dust for herself. Although Romanoff was able to use the shield to defend herself, Taskmaster was able to kick her off the bridge, before discovering that the Red Dust had been taken.
Taskmaster eventually managed to track down Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova in Budapest, where she and her team of Black Widows ambushed them and began chasing them through the streets. With Romanoff and Belova using a motorbike to drive through the streets, Taskmaster chased them in an armoured car, plowing through the other cars in an attempt to catch up. Eventually, Romanoff and Belova got away from Taskmaster, crashing their motorbike in the process.
With Romanoff and Belova managing to steal a car, Taskmaster continued to chase them down, as she managed to drive behind them, before getting out of the roof to get a better look. Taskmaster had then armed herself with her Bow and Arrows, as she used her HUD to line up the perfect shot, before shooting an explosive arrow underneath their car, which caused Romanoff and Belova to crash, rolling their car down a flight of stairs and into train station.
Taskmaster proceeded to get out of her armoured car and followed her targets into the train station, witnessing them pulling themselves out of the crashed car and attempting to flee. As Taskmaster then observed Romanoff and Belova leaping down the stairway, she proceeded to launch her shield after them, which was thrown perfectly down the stairs, and barely missed her targets, becoming embedded in a support beam, while Taskmaster still continued to follow her targets.
Getting to the bottom of the stairs, Taskmaster had then lost sight of her targets, but observed a trail of blood, left behind by the wounded Belova. Taskmaster followed this blood trail, which led her to a manhole cover, which she assumed they had used to get away. Taskmaster then stepped through the manhole, and chased down Romanoff and Belova, only to discover that this had been a deception, and Romanoff and Belova had been able to find another way to escape from Taskmaster.
Capturing the Targets
Taskmaster was contacted by Melina Vostokoff, informing her that Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova had come to her home to seek information against the Red Room, as well as attempting to learn Dreykov's location. Following Vostokoff's lead, Taskmaster led her team of agents into Vostkoff's home, where they found swiftly found and captured Red Guardian, who had been swiftly subdued with multiple tranquilizers being shot directly into his chest.
With Taskmaster arriving onboard her Aircraft, she stepped inside the home, where she discovered that Vostokoff had already managed to subdue both Romanoff and Belova, having taken them off guard and used her Widow's Bite to electrocute them both. Once Taskmaster entered, Vostokoff stepped forward, suggesting that they bring Romanoff, Belova and Red Guardian back to the Red Room Academy, where they could be interrogated and then executed by Dreykov.
Having successfully captured her targets, Taskmaster had taken them back to the Red Room Academy, where she put Red Guardian and Natasha Romanoff into their cells. Taskmaster had then returned to General Dreykov's office, where he was greeted by Melina Vostokoff, as Taskmaster stood by while Dreykov and Vostokoff discussed what would happen to Yelena Belova, who was due to be killed during their experimentations on her mind controlling.
However, during the discussion, Taskmaster had then witnessed Dreykov removing the Photostatic Veil from Vostokoff, revealing her to actually be Romanoff in disguise, as part of her attempt to assassinate Dreykov. Although Taskmaster responded by immediately drawing her gun, she was ordered to stand down by Dreykov. Taskmaster then stood by, as Dreykov and Romanoff discussed her past, including the death of Romanoff's mother, which Dreykov showed no sympathy for as he mocked her.
In response, Romanoff asked Dreykov if he felt anything when his daughter was seemingly killed when she and Clint Barton had bombed Dreykov's Office, unaware of her survival. As the result, Dreykov then turned to Taskmaster, and ordered her to remove her helmet, revealing her identity and horrifically scarred face to Romanoff, who was shocked at the revelation, while Dreykov explained how they were able to survive the explosion, and how she turned into the Red Room's most skilled assassin.
Seeing Romanoff's reaction to Taskmaster's identity, Dreykov had mocked her by asking if she intended to apologise to her, noting that it would not make her feel better. Dreykov had also admitted that he was disgusted by his daughter's burns, which was why he kept her identity hidden behind her helmet. Knowing that Red Guardian was working with Vostokoff and Belova to sabotage the Academy, Dreykov sent Taskmaster to assassinate them, as Taskmaster left Romanoff and Dreykov alone.
Battling Red Guardian
Following the orders of Dreykov, Taskmaster went to confront Red Guardian and Melina Vostokoff, who had managed to get out of their cells, and were discussing the next step of their plan to bring down the Red Room Academy. While Vostokoff left them alone, Taskmaster faced Red Guardian, who got ready to fight, while Taskmaster drew her claws, based on Black Panther's designs, and they began to fight.
During their clash, Taskmaster threw her shield at Red Guardian, who managed to block it, before Taskmaster drew her knife and began slashing at him, using tactics copied from Winter Soldier. Despite Red Guardian's superior strength, Taskmaster was able use his tactics against him, throwing Red Guardian through a glass wall, before reclaiming her shield and continuing the fight, striking Red Guardian repeatedly, and throwing her shield at his back.
With Red Guardian struggling to get back onto his feet, Taskmaster walked up behind him and got him into an arm lock, before drawing a hidden blade from her suit, which she attempted to stab into the back of Red Guardian's neck. However, before she could deliver the final blow, Taskmaster was unexpectedly tackled by Vostokoff, who threw Taskmaster into one of the cells and locked her inside, leaving Taskmaster furiously punching at the protective glass, angered by the defeat.
Taskmaster was left inside her cell by Melina Vostokoff, as she witnessed the Red Room Academy beginning to fall out of the sky and explode. However, Taskmaster was eventually discovered by Natasha Romanoff, who told Taskmaster that she could not allow her to die in the academy, despite knowing that Taskmaster would attempt to kill her. Ignoring the way Taskmaster furiously punched at the protective glass, Romanoff opened the cell door and allowed her to walk free.
Taskmaster had then stepped out of her cell, and prepared to attack Romanoff, determined to finally get her revenge for the bombing that had scarred her face and destroyed her life. However, before Taskmaster could attack and kill Romanoff, an explosion caused the ceiling between them to collapse, which in turn destroyed the floor underneath Taskmaster, causing her to fall to the level below, while Romanoff was then able to make her escape from the exploding academy.
Freedom from Control
With the Red Room Academy falling from the sky, Taskmaster eventually caught up with Natasha Romanoff, who had just saved Yelena Belova from falling to her death, as they both floated towards the ground with a parachute. Determined to kill Romanoff, Taskmaster had leapt off the academy, and dived towards her, armed with her sword, as Romanoff then let go of Belova as she prepared to fight against Taskmaster in mid air, using some of the falling debris from the academy to attempt to slow her fall.
Taskmaster dived directly at Romanoff, causing them to smash through a falling glass wall while Romanoff punched at her and avoided her sword. As the pair grappled in mid air, Romanoff was able to pull Taskmaster's parachute just in time, as the pair awkwardly crash landed on the ground. Getting back onto her feet, Taskmaster had then armed herself with her sword and prepared to kill Romanoff, as the pair grappled for control over the sword, with Romanoff managing to take it from Taskmaster.
Although Romanoff still refused to kill Taskmaster, dropping the sword on the ground, due to the guilt she felt for almost killing her in Budapest, Taskmaster remained determined and furiously grabbed Romanoff by the throat and attempting to strangle her. However, Romanoff was able to break free from Taskmaster's grip, and managed to get behind her, pressing buttons on Taskmaster's suit, which caused her helmet to come off, before Romanoff threw Taskmaster down to the ground.
However, before Taskmaster could strike at Romanoff again, Romanoff broke final vial of Red Dust, causing the powder to hit Taskmaster in the face, freeing her from her mind control. Taskmaster then froze in mid punch, staring in shock and amazement at Romanoff, having finally regained control of her mind again. Dropping to the ground, Taskmaster reached out to Romanoff, questioning if Dreykov was dead, which Romanoff confirmed, as he had been killed in an earlier explosion.
With Dreykov dead and the Red Room destroyed, Taskmaster was unsure what she would do next. They were then rejoined by the surviving members of the Widows, who had also been freed from Dreykov's mind control. Having been given the opportunity to build new lives for themselves, the Widows took Taskmaster into their care, with Lerato helping Taskmaster onto her feet, and bringing her onboard the plane they used to escape before the authorities had arrived.
Prior to her injuries sustained in the Budapest Operation, not much is known of Antonia's true personality. Once her father Dreykov subjected her to the Red Room, Antonia was devoid of all personality and repurposed into what he saw as his "greatest weapon." When freed from Dreykov's control, Antonia begged Romanoff to know if Dreykov was gone, showing she loathed being controlled by her own father.
As Taskmaster, Antonia was a very lethal and relentless operative, who carried out tasks on Dreykov's orders with exceptional proficiency, stopping at almost nothing to finish her mission. An experienced fighter, she proved more than capable against enemies that proved a threat to her mission, almost incapacitating Red Guardian until being tricked into a prison cell by Melina Vostokoff. Until freed by the Red Dust, Antonia stopped at nothing to kill Natasha Romanoff, despite having freed her from impending death during the Destruction of the Red Room.
Powers and Abilities
- Photographic Reflexes: By viewing how another person fights, Taskmaster is able to perfectly replicate his or her fighting style and movements. She is able to retain this information and use previously replicated fighting styles against different opponents, and can virtually predict her enemy's attacks. Taskmaster has been shown to copy the fighting styles of Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Black Panther, and Winter Soldier. While she can replicate a style, she cannot copy any innate powers, and she can still be hampered if she does not have access to the same equipment such as her version of Captain America's shield. She also doesn't copy the dominant hands of the individuals, as Hawkeye and Black Widow are left-handed, while she is a right-handed archer. This ability is thanks to the electronic chip implanted in her neck, and is augmented by the HUD in her helmet.
- Enhanced Strength: Taskmaster also has artificially elevated strength from the chip in her neck, which allowed her to send Black Widow and Red Guardian back long distances with her strikes. She could also throw her shield with enough force for it to embed itself into metal beams.
- Master Martial Artist: Having studied and copied the fighting styles of most of the Avengers during their battle at the airport, primarily Black Widow, Captain America, and Black Panther, Taskmaster became a master hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist. As such, she was able to fight Black Widow twice and the super-soldier Red Guardian. During her first duel with Black Widow, she effortlessly reversed the latter's head-scissor throw. While mimicking Black Panther, she utilized razor-sharp claws and his swiping techniques against Red Guardian.
- Shield Mastery: Having studied and copied the fighting style of Captain America, Taskmaster is highly skilled at wielding a shield in combat defensively or offensively, and throwing it with deadly precision. She used her shield to deflect gunfire from Black Widow, and she was able to accurately throw it down an escalator to reach her. Against Red Guardian, she used the shield's blunt edges to strike him. Like Captain America, she can stomp on the shield's edge to flip it into her hands.
- Sword Mastery: Taskmaster is highly skilled at wielding a sword in close-quarters combat, best demonstrated during both fights against Black Widow.
- Knife Mastery: Having studied and copied the fighting style of Winter Soldier, Taskmaster has advanced skill in using a knife in close quarters combat. This is seen during the fight against Red Guardian. She also attempted to stab Red Guardian with retractable blade in her gauntlet before being flung into a cell by Melina Vostokoff.
- Staff Mastery: As the Red Room's commander, Taskmaster is highly skilled in using a staff.
- Master Marksman: Having studied and copied the marksmanship of Hawkeye, Taskmaster has very accurate aim when using a bow, with additional features like an explosive device. She was able to overturn Romanoff and Belova's vehicle by ricocheting an explosive arrow from the ground to underneath their vehicle. Her skill extends to firearms, as she was later prepared to shoot Romanoff with her revolver until her father ordered her to stand down.
- Master Acrobat: Having studied and copied the gymnastic feats of Black Widow, Black Panther, Captain America, Winter Soldier and Hawkeye, Taskmaster can perform highly acrobatic feats during a fight. This can be seen in her fights against Black Widow and Red Guardian.
- Master Spy: She is highly skilled in espionage, stealth, disguise, infiltration, and demolitions, surpassing all other Widows.
- Master Assassin: Serving as Dreykov's personal enforcer, she is the best assassin in the Red Room, surpassing all other Widows. Therefore, she would only be sent on the most important and dangerous missions. She was often tasked with tracking and eliminating the defectors from the Red Room.
- Shield: Taskmaster carried a metallic circular shield similar to the one used by Captain America. The shield is magnetically attached to Taskmaster's gauntlets. The shield is made of a durable bulletproof material and shaped aerodynamically so that it can be thrown. Upon ambushing Natasha Romanoff to obtain the Red Dust, Taskmaster used her shield to block Romanoff's gunshots, before attempting to launch the shield at her. Taskmaster would later use the shield during her clash against Red Guardian, only to be defeated and have Red Guardian steal the shield.
- Sword: Taskmaster carried a collapsible single edged sword similar in appearance to a katana or ninjato sword. The sword is stored on the back compartment of the suit. Upon being tied up with Romanoff's grappling hook, Taskmaster drew her sword to cut herself free, before continuing to battle against Romanoff. Taskmaster would also use her sword, as she attempted to kill Romanoff following the destruction of the Red Room Academy, using it to slow her fall from the crashing base by grinding it through the debris. Upon landing on the ground, Taskmaster continued using the sword against Romanoff, until she was disarmed and had Red Dust thrown in her face, ending her brainwashing.
- Bow: Taskmaster carried a blue and orange foldable composite bow similar to the one used by Hawkeye, which was used to fire an explosive arrow to overturn Romanoff and Yelena Belova's vehicle. Taskmaster was able to use her helmet's HUD display to ensure that she would have the perfect shot with the bow.
- Explosive Arrows: Taskmaster carried explosive arrows like Hawkeye which was used to overturn Romanoff and Belova's vehicle, managing to get the perfect shot under their car, causing it to crash.
- Chiappa Rhino: Taskmaster had this revolver holstered on her right thigh. Taskmaster drew this gun on Black Widow to protect Dreykov, only for Dreykov to order her to put it away, due to his knowledge that Black Widow would not actually be able to kill him.
- Combat Knife: Taskmaster carried a combat knife which was used during her fight against Red Guardian.
- Suit: Taskmaster wore a tactical armored suit when operating on missions. The helmet is retractable and can be removed by a button on the right gauntlet.
- HUD: Taskmaster's mask has a heads up display which analyzes battlefield data. Using this HUD, Taskmaster was able to predict her opponent's movement patterns, which she used against Natasha Romanoff during their first confrontation, allowing her to able to overpower Romanoff with ease. Taskmaster would later use the HUD display to assist her with her aim while using her Bow to shoot at Romanoff and Yelena Belova's car, finding the perfect moment to shoot underneath the car and cause it to crash.
- Retractable Claws: Taskmaster's gloves contain retractable metal claws similar to those of Black Panther, which were used against Red Guardian.
- Retractable Gauntlet Blade: Taskmaster's left gauntlet contains a retractable blade similar which was used in an attempt to kill Red Guardian. However, Melina Vostokoff managed to attack and entrap Taskmaster before she could kill Red Guardian with the blade.
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- In the comics, Anthony "Tony" Masters, better known as Taskmaster, was a mercenary hired as a training instructor by various criminal organizations such as HYDRA and A.I.M., who had the uncanny ability to mimic the fighting moves of his opponents.
- Some of the people he has copied include (but are not limited to) Ant-Man, Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow, Bullseye, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Elektra, Falcon, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Iron Man, Moon Knight, Punisher, Shang-Chi, Spider-Man, and U.S. Agent. He also trained U.S. Agent, Crossbones, and Red Skull.
- Taskmaster is the ninth character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be depicted as a different gender from her counterpart in the comics, following Jeri Hogarth, the Ancient One, Fenris, Ghost, Mar-Vell, Morgan Stark, Gabriella Rosetti, and Flag Smasher.
- In the video game Captain America: The Winter Soldier - The Official Game, Taskmaster is a male, like his comics counterpart. He was a terrorist hired by Sin and King Cobra, who was brought into conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. after stealing nuclear warheads from Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.. He became an adversary of Captain America before he was taken into custody.
- In a deleted scene from Black Widow, Taskmaster is seen being arrested by the United States Armed Forces, under the supervision of Thaddeus Ross.
Behind the Scenes
- Andy Lister was a stunt double and the in-suit performer for Olga Kurylenko in the role of Taskmaster. Daren Nop, Amy Sturdivant and Eniko Fulop were also stunt doubles for Kurylenko in the role.
- An early draft for Black Widow did feature Taskmaster as Tony Masters like in the comic books, but his inclusion was scrapped as the film was meant to be a spy thriller with Dreykov as the main antagonist while dealing with the mystery of who Dreykov's daughter was, leading Eric Pearson to merge Taskmaster and Dreykov's daughter into the same character.