Anti-Heroes for Hire

Thunderbolts leak reveals one Marvel anti-hero’s MCU return

One of the MCU’s best fighters is coming back.

Marvel may already be finalizing its lineup for Thunderbolts. The highly anticipated team-up film, which was only announced just a few weeks ago, is set to bring some of the MCU’s biggest anti-heroes together. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is expected to lead the team, in what’s essentially the Marvel Studios version of Suicide Squad.

As of now, very little has been officially announced about the long-rumored crossover film. However, fans have already begun to speculate about which MCU characters may appear in Thunderbolts, and a brand new leak suggests that the film may bring back one underrated character from last year’s Black Widow.

The Leak — Marvel insider Daniel Richtman recently claimed that Olga Kurylenko is set to reprise her Black Widow role as Antonia Dreykov a.k.a. Taskmaster in Thunderbolts. Notably, Taskmaster was one of the MCU characters rumored to be in consideration for Thunderbolts when the film’s director, Jake Schreier, was hired to helm it earlier this month.

As always, such leaks are unconfirmed and should be viewed with a skeptical eye. However, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if Taskmaster does indeed end up being one of the core team members in Thunderbolts.

Olga Kurylenko made her debut as Taskmaster last year in Black Widow.Marvel Studios

Taskmaster’s Second Chance — Taskmaster has been both a member and leader of the Thunderbolts at various points in the comics, so it would make sense for the character to be part of the MCU version of the team. While Black Widow offered a very different version of Taskmaster than the one comic book fans have come to know, her skillset and ambiguous moral standing still make her a prime candidate for an anti-hero team.

Bringing Kurylenko back in Thunderbolts would also give Marvel the chance to explore her version of Taskmaster more deeply than Black Widow did. While that film did a good job of establishing Antonia’s prowess as a fighter, she wasn’t really given a personality. Her character was instead defined by the abuse and pain she’s suffered over the years, and her inclusion in the film allowed Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff the chance make up for some of the hurt she’d caused when she escaped the Red Room.

It’s also worth noting that Taskmaster isn’t the only Black Widow character fans believe will appear in Thunderbolts. Both Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova and David Harbour’s Alexei Shostakov have been rumored to be candidates, and if those two characters show up then it seems all the more likely that Taskmaster will as well.

Black Widow writer Eric Pearson is also, notably, attached to write Thunderbolts. His familiarity with Yelena, Alexei, and Antonia could play a role in how Marvel ultimately determines the character lineup.

What does the future hold for Olga Kurylenko’s Taskmaster?Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — There’s still a lot we don’t know about Thunderbolts, including who will be in it and what its actual plot will be. MCU fans shouldn’t take this leak as confirmation that Taskmaster will have a role in Thunderbolts. For all we know, the film’s final ensemble could end looking a whole lot different than fans expect.

But with San Diego Comic-Con only a few weeks away, Marvel fans may not have to wait too much longer to find out more information about Thunderbolts, including whether Taskmaster has a role.