Thanks largely to the success of Stranger Things, David Harbour is a bigger star now than he’s ever been at any point in a career that dates back over 20 years. Up until Netflix’s nostalgia-fueled series became a global phenomenon, the actor was one of those familiar faces that showed up in countless projects in minor roles, but he’s now added the world’s biggest franchise to his arsenal following his recent turn as Black Widow‘s Red Guardian.
Harbour is no stranger to the comic book or superhero genres, having headlined the disastrous Hellboy reboot, was dropped by David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, and lent support in Seth Rogen’s forgotten The Green Hornet. His Alexei Shostakov is largely a comedic presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s feature length Phase Four kickoff, but there are hints of a hugely interesting backstory that don’t get explored anywhere near enough.
A loyal servant to his country and also Russia’s only survivor of the super soldier experiments, Alexei found himself sentenced to 25 years in prison for his troubles. Opposite number Steve Rogers was defrosted to save the world on multiple occasions, becoming a national hero and worldwide celebrity in the process; Captain America took the plaudits, all while Red Guardian arm wrestled convicts for fun.
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In a new interview, Harbour revealed his excitement at the sheer number of storytelling possibilities presented by Red Guardian’s MCU debut, with the timeline on either side of Black Widow ripe for further adventures starring the bearded behemoth.
They don’t let you say these things. I would love for there to be more Red Guardian, and I would love for you guys to love for there to be more Red Guardian because that always helps the cause. I love the character, there’s so many things you could do with him. There’s this gap of 25 years where we don’t know who was he, what is his version of events as opposed to the actual version of events?
What happens to him after this movie, and why isn’t he fighting Thanos? Where is he in that time, what happens then? And then post that, when Natasha dies, what happens then? It’s very interesting to me and I hope that there is interest on other levels, and maybe we’ll see some more.”
If Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova is set to factor heavily into the MCU from here on out, then there’s no reason why Red Guardian can’t follow suit, with the entire Black Widow family potentially making their presences felt long into the future.