Did Red Guardian Fight Captain America? Black Widow’s David Harbour Reveals the Truth


ComicBook.com 10 July, 2021 - 11:45pm 20 views

Is Red Guardian a super soldier?

AlexeiRed Guardian. Alexei is known most famously as Red Room's answer to Captain America. He's a Super-Soldier spy who has lived a lifetime of triumph during the Cold War. marvel.comRed Guardian (Alexei) | Characters

How did Red Guardian get his powers?

The latest Red Guardian is Nikolai Krylenko/Vanguard, brother to Laynia Petrovna; whose powers are derived from his mutation. wikipedia.orgAlexei Shostakov as Red Guardian

Black Widow star David Harbour says there might be some truth to Alexei Shostakov's war stories about battling Captain America — from a certain point of view. As the Red Guardian, the Soviet Union's first and only super-soldier, Alexei boasts of a bout with Captain America (Chris Evans) he says happened in 1983 or 1984. But the first Avenger was on ice from 1945 until 2011, and Alexei snaps the wrist of Ursa (Olivier Richters) when the Russian gulag inmate accuses Alexei of lying about his Cold War-era fight with his "great adversary" in the "theater of geopolitical conflict."

"I will say they are absolutely true, 100 percent," Harbour told Inverse with a "whiff of playful sarcasm" when asked about Alexei's war stories. "Part of the fun thing about Alexei is that I wasn't interested in reality. He doesn't even know that he's lying."

After being jailed by Dreykov (Ray Winstone) and spending decades in prison, Black Widow catches up with a past-his-prime Red Guardian in the year 2016. When he's reunited with his adoptive daughters Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), he can't help but talk about himself — and the time he pushed Captain America out of a window, escaping from his fight with the star-spangled superhero over nuclear codes.

"Sometimes as an actor, I'll have to know the reality because I'll know [if] the character is lying," Harbour said. "But Alexei simply believes this stuff is true."

Director Cate Shortland wouldn't reveal if ever there was a Captain America vs. Red Guardian showdown that doesn't align with the MCU timeline, agreeing with Harbour that Alexei believes his stories to be true.

"There's a thing, confabulation, where people actually just believe their lies to such a degree that even when confronted with reality, they can't process it," Harbour explained. "It doesn't make sense [to them]. I think Alexei is very much the same way. He lives this reality completely independent of what other people have seen or heard."

Alexei's story as told in Black Widow may not be true, but the actor hopes to return to the MCU and potentially battle his comic book adversary.

"What's funny about Alexei, you have this 25-year gap we don’t know about. We see him in Ohio [in 1995] and in the prison [in 2016]. 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," Harbour said during a Black Widow press conference in June. "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. Is [Marvel Studios President] Kevin Feige in the room, did he hear?"

Marvel's Black Widow is now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney+ Premier Access.

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Black Widow's Real Breakout Character Is Alexei | CBR

CBR - Comic Book Resources 11 July, 2021 - 07:00am

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been expanding, increasing its roster of heroes and villains as Phase 4 of the universe enters full-swing. And while Yelena (Florence Pugh) is an exciting new prospect for the MCU to focus on, and Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko) presents a host of possibilities going forward, the real unexpected gem of Black Widow is the utterly ridiculous but surprisingly somber Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) -- aka Red Guardian, who ends up with one of the most surprisingly affecting arcs in the film.

Red Guardian has been reinvented for the MCU, repositioned as a father figure to the young Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena. Spending years together in America deep undercover, Alexei is revealed to be the Russian equivalent of Captain America -- having been given a variant of the Super Soldier Serum that gifted him with enhanced strength and endurance. He was even positioned to become a superhero like Captain America, with his Red Guardian persona teased to be a potential game-changer for the Soviet Union.

But in the end, he was instead locked away for the secrets he possessed, spending over a decade rotting away in a forgotten prison. It's only when his adopted daughters return to recruit him for their mission in bringing down the Red Room once and for all that he gets a taste of freedom again.

But as Black Widow progresses, the weight of everything he didn't get to experience isn't lost on him. Instead, Alexei finds himself asking questions about himself and the cause they fought for. And, in one particularly bittersweet sequence, Alexei gets sentimental with Yelena, recalling how her favorite song when they had been undercover was "American Pie" by Don McLean -- even singing it sadly by memory while trying to explain to her why he raised her as he did.

By the end of Black Widow, Alexei has thrown himself into the mission his family has taken on -- even effectively reclaiming the Red Guardian mantle and holding his own with Taskmaster long enough for the Black Widows to bring about the collapse of the Red Room and the release of the other women trapped in the clandestine spy program. He even makes his escape along with them, ensuring that Alexei can return for further adventures in the MCU.

But through his reunited time with his family, it's clear that Alexei is reconsidering everything he ever believed in and fought for -- especially in light of what it did with his family. While he acts jovial and boisterous in the prison, and when he speaks of Russia's great history, he only seems to find peace when he opens up and allows his own emotions to really surface. Alexei -- on top of being consistently entertaining with his antics and imposing in a fight -- offers the MCU the chance to show how such an absent and cruel parent can realize their mistakes, and instead of being instantly forgiven or positioned forever as a villain, can actually have the ability and self-awareness to try and make up for their mistakes.

With Yelena (rightfully) poised to play a major role in the future of the MCU -- and the post-credits sequence even teasing her next target -- it would be fascinating to see how she deals with the continued presence of someone like Alexei in her life, and if someone like that could genuinely change for the better.

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