Why Black Widow's David Harbour Thinks Red Guardian Is The MCU's 'Best Character'

David Harbour as Red Guardian in Black Widow
(Image credit: (Marvel))

After saying goodbye to Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha in the epic MCU culmination Avengers: Endgame, fans will get to travel back in time and learn more about the former Russian spy’s other found family in Black Widow. Among them is Stranger Things’ David Harbour, who is playing Alexei Shostakov a.k.a. Red Guardian. The actor just made a bold statement about his debut in the Marvel universe. In his words:

I think I’m biased, but I think it’s the best character in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mean, he is a narcissist, so it’s very appropriate that I’m playing him and that I think that. But he’s just got so many layers. On one level, he’s your classic superhero badass character, but then when you meet him, he has this need to be liked, and he wants to be thought of as funny and a big shot — which he isn’t.

Checks out. Sounds like David Harbour’s Red Guardian is going to be a major scene stealer in Black Widow. The actor teased a bit about the new character – calling him a layered narcissist, who just wants to be liked. And knowing the talent of David Harbour, this is going to make for some hilarious scenes between him and the rest of the Black Widow “family."

Red Guardian is a Russian agent who was created in response to America creating a super soldier out of Steve Rogers. Just like the Russians and Americans both made nuclear weapons, during the Cold War the Soviets turned Alexei Shostakov into the Red Guardian. It seems as though Alexei has a much more complicated relationship with his superhero identity than Chris Evans’ Cap did, and we cannot wait.

In David Harbour’s recent interview with EW, the actor also admitted that he still would have probably signed up for a Marvel role even if it wasn’t as great of a character as he says. Here’s what he said:

Had they offered me a crappy part in a mediocre movie, I probably would’ve taken that too. But the fact of the matter is the script was really damn good, and the part is extraordinary.

David Harbour is coming off a disappointing movie role in last year’s Hellboy, which was one of 2019’s biggest bombs. He recently said the movie “has major problems” – even if he is personally proud of the work he did on it. The actor is still loved for playing Hopper on Netflix’s Stranger Things, which is set to come back for season four next year. His character was recently teased to be alive after all (and we have theories)!

Along with David Harbour, 2019 breakout star Florence Pugh will be playing Natasha’s “sister” Yelena Belova. Pugh turned heads with her roles in Fighting With My Family, Midsommar, and Little Women, which earned her an Oscar nomination. Rachel Weisz is also on board as Melina Vostokoff after a recent role in The Favourite, also honoring her with a nomination from the Academy.

Black Widow follows Natasha after the events of Captain America: Civil War. David Harbour describes the upcoming movie as something of an indie family dramedy between the big action set pieces. It’s the first Marvel movie in Phase Four and it’s hitting theaters on May 1.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.