Even though the recently released Black Widow is Scarlett Johansson’s last outing as Natasha Romanoff, this doesn’t hold true for the other new characters who have made their debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the film. While the post-credits scene of the film sets up the future of Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova and possibly of the remaining Black Widows in the MCU, many are now wondering what’s next for David Harbour’s Alexei Shostakov a.k.a. The Red Guardian. Well, the question can be answered by a solo Red Guardian film and both Harbour and Black Widow’s director, Cate Shortland, are totally invested in the idea.
In a chat with The Wrap, Cate Shortland shared that many amazing scenes starring David Harbour as the Red Guardian never made it to the final cut of the film. But all of it is pure gold and so funny that Harbour’s Alexei deserves another movie, this time a solo exploration of the character.
In Black Widow, David Harbour’s Alexei is introduced as the Soviet Union’s only super-soldier who has been rotting away in prison after he had a falling out with General Dreykov, the leader of the Red Room. Years later, he is rescued from the prison by Natasha and Yelena who want him to tell them the location of the Red Room. They reunite with Melina (Rachel Weisz) only to be captured and taken to the Red Room headquarters, which Natasha and Yelena succeed in destroying after freeing the other Black Widows and killing Dreykov. By the end of the film, while Natasha apparently surrenders to General Ross, Yelena, Melina, the Red Guardian, and the remaining Black Widows leave together to start a new life.
The post-credits scene in the film sets up Florence Pugh’s appearance in the upcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye and probably in future MCU films as well as it is highly possible that she will be carrying forward the mantle of Black Widow. But while we already know a lot about Yelena and her story is going to continue, Black Widow didn’t focus much on David Harbour’s Red Guardian.
David Harbour, who is currently filming Stranger Things Season 4, shared that when it comes to his character in Black Widow, the focus was more on his relationship with his undercover “wife” Melina. But they had immense fun while shooting the film as they improvised a lot in many scenes and Shortland let them as she saw “our voracious, you know, appetite for these characters and for this world.” As for returning for a solo Red Guardian film or Disney+ series in the future, Harbour is more than willing as people want to know his character better.
David Harbour echoed similar sentiments in a chat with Variety, sharing that there are “so many things you could do” when it comes to telling the exclusive story of the Red Guardian, whether it is set before or after the events in Black Widow. He even highlighted a few potential plotlines that can be explored:
“What happens to him after this movie, and why isn’t he fighting Thanos [in Avengers: Endgame]? Where is he in that time, what happens then? And then post that, when [Natasha] dies, what happens then?” It’s very interesting to me and I hope that there is interest on other levels, and maybe we’ll see some more.”
And those are not the only questions that fans want answers to. During his time in the prison, Alexei is seen bragging about engaging in a battle against Captain America in the early 1980s, which should be impossible given that Steve Rogers was frozen at the time. While this could be a plain lie, it is also possible that Alexei fought a different superhero as after The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, we know that the U.S. military continued experimenting with the super-soldier serum. So, even though Steve was in the ice, it is still possible that Alexei fought another super-soldier, which would be pretty cool to witness in a solo Red Guardian film starring David Harbour, right?