Red Guardian is a character with a complicated and convoluted comic book history; he's died and been resurrected on multiple occasions, and was originally introduced as Natasha Romanoff's ex-husband. In the Black Widow movie, he's going to serve as a father figure to the hero, and appears to be a washed-up, Captain America wannabe.
Talking in the Black Widow: The Official Movie Special Book (which is now on sale from Titan Books), actor David Harbour shared plenty of new details about what fans can expect from Alexei Shostakoff.
"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 actor reveals. "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."
"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."
Harbour would go on to say that Red Guardian has been keeping an eye on Natasha through the newspapers, and knows that she eventually became an Avenger. He also teased a powerful reunion between them, once again emphasising that a family dynamic will be a big part of Black Widow.
What are you most excited to see from Red Guardian in the Marvel Studios release?