The original script for Black Widow didn’t include Red Guardian donning his old Soviet superhero suit, according to star David Harbour.
The original Black Widow script didn’t include Red Guardian’s old costume, according to star David Harbour. The Soviet super soldier is a central part of the story, and his frequent boasts about his glory days are used throughout the movie as comic relief. In the finished film, Alexei finds and dons his old Red Guardian costume for the third act, but that wasn’t initially part of the Black Widow plan.
Throughout Black Widow, bits and pieces of Alexei Shostakov’s story are revealed. He had a stretch of propaganda-fueled glory as the Soviet Union’s first and only super soldier, then was sent on a deep-cover mission in America. After returning, Alexei was imprisoned by General Dreykov for reasons that are never made entirely clear. In fact, a lot of the details of Red Guardian’s past are left unclear by the end of Black Widow, including how he actually obtained his superpowers.
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Regardless of his exact origins, Red Guardian returns to action in Black Widow to help Natasha and Yelena end the Red Room once and for all, putting on his old outfit along the way. However, according to Harbour, that classic costume wasn’t part of the film’s original plan. Speaking recently with Insider, the actor revealed that the suit was one of several additions made to the script after early rehearsals. Harbour explained that a lot of the overall family dynamic between Alexei, Natasha, Yelena and Melina was added in after the stars started working together, including the dining room scene where Red Guardian appears in his old getup. Read Harbour’s full quote below.
“We had a week of rehearsals before filming started, which is such a luxury. We sat around and talked about the script. Like the first draft that I got the Red Guardian costume wasn’t there. They put that bathroom scene in later. The dinner scene, there’s a lot of us just messing around. Me grabbing food right in the middle of Scarlett’s shot. They were developing the movie as we went. So there was a strong beginning, middle, and end but we were putting stuff in along the way.”
Alexei’s comics-accurate Red Guardian suit is one of several such throwback outfits in MCU Phase 4. WandaVision saw retro costumes for Vision and Scarlet Witch, and Loki brought back the trickster god’s original Marvel Comics look via Richard E. Grant’s Classic Loki variant. It’s always fun to see the old-school Marvel costumes brought to the live-action movies, and it works especially well for a comic relief character like Red Guardian.
There are currently no announced plans for Harbour’s Red Guardian to return in future MCU movies or shows, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova is set up for a return in Black Widow’s post-credits scene, likely in the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+. Bringing Yelena back could open the door for Red Guardian and Melina to return as well, hopefully in some more classic comics outfits. After the huge success of Black Widow, it would be great to see more of the film’s new characters come back.
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