Any notable actor that signs a contract with Marvel Studios is widely expected to show up in more than one project, even if Kevin Feige recently intimated that multi-picture deals could become less prevalent in the future. Black Widow may have seen Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff bow out after eleven years as a firm fan favorite, but the door is wide open for her surrogate family to return in some capacity.
Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova was announced for Disney Plus series Hawkeye months ago, and after the actress stole the show in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s theatrical Phase Four kickoff, fans are already desperate to see her again. Both Pugh and director Cate Shortland have heavily hinted that the Black Widow series may continue with Yelena in the lead, but David Harbour has now admitted that he’s already discussed a return with the powers that be.
“There is some chatter around certain things. We were pretty focused on just this. They also have a lot of stuff in the pipe that, it seems like in this particular phase, there’s a lot of different… There’s Eternals, there’s different elements to this universe that I think they’re branching out at this point… I knew I wasn’t involved in that branch. The discussions were, they didn’t really give a sense of what was up next. It was more just really focused on this movie, and some speculation of possibilities.”
There was early talk that the Stranger Things star was the worst part of Black Widow, which thankfully turned out to be unfounded. While his Alexei Shostakov is admittedly little more than glorified comic relief, the movie barely scratched the surface of his backstory as the one and only successful Russian survivor of the super soldier experiment, and a lot of his arc is based around his unhappiness that Steve Rogers became an icon for his efforts, but Red Guardian was sent to prison.
Realistically, you could easily imagine Red Guardian making a return to the fold wherever Yelena shows up post-Hawkeye, and those repeated Captain America references also present the ideal storytelling opportunity to have him cross paths with Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson somewhere down the line, especially when Harbour voiced his desire to see Alexei throw down with the star-spangled Avenger.