Last year, there were rumors making the rounds that David Harbour’s Red Guardian was the worst part of Black Widow, with his grizzled comic relief reportedly failing to land. Looking at the early reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster, that doesn’t appear to be the case, and over the years the actor has proven himself as highly capable when it comes to playing world-weary figures that don’t mind getting their hands dirty if they have to.
Most general audiences won’t be too familiar with Alexei Shostakov, but the gist is that he’s the Russian Captain America. Another survivor of the super soldier program, Black Widow positions him as something of a father figure to Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova, one who suits back up for action when he and his surrogate family find themselves in the cross hairs of the folks behind the Red Room.
As the MCU continues to expand, there’s going to be more and more room for supporting characters from across the film and television slate to show up all across Phase Four and beyond, with Harbour admitting in a new interview that he’d love to dive deeper into Red Guardian’s history and motivations, including a potential showdown with Captain America.
“What’s funny about Alexei, you have this 25-year gap we don’t know about. We see him in Ohio and in the prison. And even before the prison, there was a time when he was the Red Guardian, he must have put the suit back on. There is this period of time where he has all these stories about his life. It’s questionable whether or not they’re real. I do think the classic Cold War thing is a really fun and funny dynamic between these two guys and the fact that they came up like nuclear warheads like in an arms race together. I think it’s a great concept that could be explored further. Kevin Feige’s in the room, did he hear?”
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While the chances of a prequel featuring a de-aged Harbour and Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers are slim at best, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was powered by a strong political undercurrent, and Hollywood is hardly averse to the idea of positioning the Russians as bad guys. Realistically, we could see Red Guardian and Sam Wilson’s star-spangled superhero cross paths in the future, especially if Captain America 4 were to incorporate more real-world politics as has been widely touted.