Black Widow’s David Harbour Discusses Red Guardian’s Captain America-Like Origins

David Harbour's Black Widow poster

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a well-oiled machine, withe every single installment in Phase Three resulting in critical and box office success. The next slate of movies has been delayed a number of times over the past year, with Cate Shortland's Black Widow currently set to arrive in May of 2021. While the wait for Scarlett Johansson's long overdue solo flick has been made even longer, actor David Harbour helped satiate the rabid fandom by speaking about Red Guardian's backstory and connection to Captain America.

David Harbour became a household name thanks to his standout performance in Netflix's Stranger Things. Fans are eager to see him make his Marvel debut as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian in Black Widow, who is a member of Natasha's first chosen family. The 45 year-old actor recently spoke about his character's backstory, saying:

He grew up in the Soviet Union during the arms race. He was a soldier. He was chosen for this program as the Americans were developing weapons and, of course, Captain America. The Russians were slow to catch up, but they wanted to fight back with their own version of Captain America. He was shot up with a super-strength serum and trained in a certain way. But he didn't become as famous as Captain America – nobody really knows who he is.

I mean, how cool is that? It looks like Red Guardian has been given his own dose of the super-soldier serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America in The First Avenger, so we should expect some badass action from David Harbour. Unfortunately, he didn't get the same notoriety as Chris Evan's signature character, which should make for an interesting character.

David Harbour's comments come from Black Widow: The Official Movie Special Book (Via CBM) offers a glimpse into what audiences are in for once Black Widow finally makes its way to theaters. Set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, Cate Shortland's Marvel debut will reveal more about the title character's dark history. What's more, it's expected to offer new context into her sacrifice in Endgame.

Scarlett Johansson's tenure in the MCU is currently available on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

Later in his same comments, David Harbour went on to explain the family unit that Marvel fans will get to know throughout the course of Black Widow's runtime. Because while we'll be treated to a trio of new characters, their bond goes back decades. As he put it,

The connection to him and Black Widow is that they were set up as a spy family in America in the '90s. So, Rachel Weisz's Melina, was sort of the mom, Alexei was the dad, and Natasha and Yelena were their kids. We see that in the beginning of the movie, and they sort of function as a family. They knew each other from long ago and then they lost touch for almost twenty years. He took her from the Red Room and also put her back into the Red Room because he believed in this cause.

How intriguing. It looks like Red Guardian is at least partly responsible for Black Widow managing to escape the clutches of the Red Room before eventually joining S.H.I.E.L.D. prior to The Avengers. We've seen glimpses of her time as a young assassin, and fans are eager to get a fuller picture of exactly what went down prior to Natasha becoming a superhero.

On top of learning about the title character's history, Marvel fans are eager for Black Widow to provide a proper goodbye to Natasha. Her death in Avengers: Endgame was beautiful and tragic, but she wasn't given a lakeside funeral like Iron Man. A solo movie will offer a chance to give her a sendoff, while also possibly opening up a new franchise in the process.

Black Widow will arrive in theaters on May 7th, 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your trips to the movies next year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.