'Black Widow' Star David Harbour Wants Red Guardian vs. Captain America Origin Story

Marvel’s Black Widow introduces audiences to Natasha Romanoff’s makeshift family of assassins. Among them is Stranger Things star David Harbour as the patriarchal figure Alexei Alanovich Shostakov, who took on the mantle of Russian superhero Red Guardian. However, much of Red Guardian’s history remains a mystery, which David Harbour sees as a good opportunity to create some kind of Captain America and Red Guardian origin story.

During a press conference for the upcoming Black Widow, David Harbour talked about a massive gap in the character’s background that would allow for some kind of story to be told about Alexei’s earlier years as Red Guardian. Harbour said:

“What’s funny about Alexei is you have this big 25 year gap that we don’t know about, right? We see him in Ohio and then we see him in the prison. Even before the prison there was a time when he was the Red Guardian, so he must have put the suit back on.”

However, when it comes to Red Guardian, he likes to build himself up and impress others with stories that may or may not have happened. That’s something Harbour sees as an opportunity to tell a variety of stories:

“There is this period of time where he talks about, he has all these stories about his life and about what went on, and they are questionable whether or not they’re real. And I like the act of what is real and what isn’t real and how hard he had to construct these realities for himself and how durable those realities are.”

Red Guardian vs Captain America

Perhaps one of those stories could be a clash between Captain America and Red Guardian. Harbour thinks there’s a lot of potential in exploring how these two might interact with each other in the past. The actor said:

“I do think that the classic Cold War thing is a really fun and funny dynamic between these two guys. The fact that they basically came up as nuclear warheads like in an arms race together. I think it’s just a really great concept that could be explored further.”

Captain America being frozen until just before the events of The Avengers creates a bit of a continuity problem with having a Cold War setting for this meeting. But perhaps this could be one of those exaggerated stories from Red Guardian’s past. Another route could have Red Guardian coming to blows with Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier, perhaps making Red Guardian the de facto good guy in that scenario. After all, Kevin Feige is open to other prequel stories in the vein of Black Widow.

Red Guardian vs the New Captain America

Another possibility could be having Red Guardian face off with the new Captain America. When asked if there’s any team-up idea he’d like to see Red Guardian be part of, Harbour offered up the idea of working with Anthony Mackie. The actor said:

“I don’t know if it’s team up with but I really love the Falcon character. I love Anthony Mackie just as an actor too. And now that he’s wearing the Cap suit and everything, and the amount of complexity that Alexei has with Cap in general — whoever wears the suit, he hates that guy.”

We know there’s supposed to be a new Captain America movie with Sam Wilson taking up the superhero mantle after the events of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Could Red Guardian return as a villain in some capacity for that movie? Maybe there’s even a second season of the Marvel Studios series that could bring him into the fray. In fact, rather than having Red Guardian fight Captain America, how about forcing them to team up? Who doesn’t want to see Anthony Mackie and David Harbour at each other’s throats?

Black Widow arrives in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access starting on July 9, 2021.

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