In the upcoming Black Widow movie from Marvel Studios, David Harbour will play Alexei, who also takes on the llittle known persona of Red Guardians. Hardcore fans of Marvel Comics will be familiar with the character but Harbour himself admits the character was "briefly" featured in the books. Still, this gets the actor more excited for the role as he gears up for a Marvel Cinematic Universe debut.
"That's the great thing about him is not a lot of people know about him," Harbour told ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic-Con. "I think that's one of the really fun things about this character is there's an openness to our interpretation. I mean, the one thing that we do know is that he is the counterpart to Captain America on the Russian Soviet side, but in that way, we have a lot of play with who he is. And we are playing with him."
One thing which Harbour is particularly excited for is the complexity of the character, something he also teased during the Hall H panel by Marvel Studios. "he is really rich and initially, when I heard the pitch, I thought, she was talking to me about it, she was like, 'So, he's this and he's this' and I was like, 'Oh yeah, I got it.' You know, when you watch a movie and you're like, 'Oh, I got that guy,' and then this and then he's this and then this happens and you're like, 'Whoa, like, oh wow." "So, he spins and he twists and he turns in ways that make sense, but in ways that I don't expect characters to go there. I expect characters to be a color, a flavor, and we kinda know 'em and we kinda get 'em and this guy is really rich and, so in that way, I really am blessed to play this super three dimensional character."
Black Widow will take place prior to the events of Avengers: Endgame but the exact point in time during the Marvel Cinematic Universe's history has yet to be revealed.
"It's great because you get to go back a little bit in time with [Black Widow]," Harbour says. "You get to really explore these events and that was one of the things that was very interesting to me in the movie because you know the events of Endgame and so you get to explore how she got there, how she got there to make that choice, I think, so I think that's part of the interesting thing of her narrative is we get to go back and explore this period of time between Civil War and the events of that particular arc and delve into her."
As it turns out, the Avengers were never Natasha Romanov's only friends. "One of those things is [Natasha and Alexei's] relationship," Harbour notes. "We've known each other for a long time and that relationship plays into all the stuff that's come beyond and the great thing about knowing the end of an arc is that you get to go back and either foreshadow or play against or whatever and in that way, it's very joyful for the fans to see these emotional moments or these prepped characters beats come in at times."
Red Guardian first appeared in The Avengers #43, published in August of 1967. The character was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. In comics, Alexei Shostakov was born and Moscow and married to Natasha Romanov.
Black Widow is set to hit theaters on May 1, 2020.