David Harbour will bring a classic comic book character to life in Marvel’s Black Widow.
On the heels of Marvel Studios officially announcing Black Widow, the studio has provided some additional insight into the plot, including details on the characters. Fans have been particularly anxious about who Stranger Things star David Harbour is playing. And they’ll be happy to know he’ll portray a notable Marvel Comics hero.
Marvel Studios confirmed that Harbour will play Alexei Shostakov, who is also known as the Red Guardian. While speaking with IGN, Harbour revealed that Shostakov will be Captain America’s Russian counterpart, just as he was in the comics. He also confirmed that he and Natasha Romanoff have a history. And the fact that Black Widow is set after Captain America: Civil War has an impact on their relationship:
“There is some complexity as a result of that. She is a Russian operative, in a sense, so they have some history together themselves. But there is a dynamic that involves where she’s gone beyond in terms of joining the Avengers and his reactions to that. But they’ve known each other for a while, and there’s a complex history there that does get informed by the other movies. This movie happens right after Captain America: Civil War and so those events do factor in.”
Shostakov made his Marvel Comics debut in the pages of Avengers No. 43 in 1967. Created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, he was the second character to use the Red Guardian moniker, following Aleksey Lebedev, the Golden Age version of the character.
This second iteration was introduced as a Moscow native who was the husband of Natasha Romanova, who would become Black Widow for the Soviets. Shostakov, on the other hand, was tapped to become Russia’s answer to Captain America. Red Guardian and Black Widow’s relationship became somewhat strained after Natasha defected to the United States and joined the Avengers. As a result, Red Guardian came into conflict with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on several occasions, but still showed signs of having a more heroic nature.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shostakov may not be too thrilled that Natasha is an Avenger. And following the events of Civil War in which she ultimately sided with Steve Rogers, things are bound to be tense between the former comrades. We’ll just have to wait and see when Black Widow hits theaters on May 1, 2020.