Black Widow Director Explains That Captain America Reference

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Black Widow Captain America

After two long years away from the big screen, Marvel Studios is officially back in action with the release of its 24th theatrical movie Black Widow.

The global pandemic delayed this movie more than a year from its original release date in May 2020, extending its promotional tour timeframe to a whopping 19 months. Thankfully, Marvel and the team behind Black Widow have done an exceptional job not only keeping the plot of the film under wraps, but finding new ways to keep the excitement and anticipation high for its debut.

Much of this has been thanks to chats with the cast and crew who brought Black Widow to life, which have picked up in volume now that Marvel is releasing Scarlett Johansson's first MCU solo movie to the public. From teases about references to Natasha Romanoff's previous outings to hints of where new characters were during the Infinity Saga, the cast and crew are giving fans plenty to think about.

In the latest round of chats surrounding this movie, members of the cast and crew teased a potentially thrilling fight in the MCU's past.


Captain America Red Guardian

Black Widow director Cate Shortland and star David Harbour spoke to Inverse about the chances of Harbour's Red Guardian having fought Chris Evans' Captain America in the MCU timeline.

While Harbour jokingly said that the rumors of this fight "are absolutely true, 100 percent," he admits that his character believes it to be true whether it happened or not. He described part of "the fun thing about Alexei (Shostakov)" being that he "wasn't interested in reality" and that the character "doesn't even know that he's lying."

Shortland kept her real answer under wraps, only admitting that she wants to "see Alexei and Captain America together" and that she "know(s) what would happen" if they really fought. She implied that Captain America would come out on top fairly easily, offering sympathy by saying that she doesn't "want to see Alexei poo his pants:"

“I wanna see Alexei and Captain America together. If we saw them together now, I think we know what would happen. I don’t want to see Alexei poo his pants. I think that’s what would happen. You’d find this little boy in the corner crying his eyes out.”

Harbour continued to describe a sense of "confabulation" in Alexei where he simply "(believes his) lies to such a degree" that he "can't process" them not being real. The Russian hero seems to live in a "reality completely independent" of what's happening in the real world, which comes as a shock through the movie:

“There’s a thing, confabulation, where people actually just believe their lies to such a degree that even when confronted with reality, they can’t process it. It doesn’t make sense [to them]. I think Alexei is very much the same way. He lives this reality completely independent of what other people have seen or heard.”


Through the previews for Black Widow, Harbour's Red Guardian has showcased plenty of his boastful nature and his overabundance of confidence in himself and his abilities. It only makes sense that, in Harbour's eyes, he would have found a way to test his skills against arguably the world's most notable super-soldier.

Whether this happened, Harbour is very much aware of his character's personality and found a way to dive into that sense of invincibility through his first MCU appearance. Through all this, fans are looking forward to seeing how this works with his role as Natasha's semi-adoptive father as their family works their way back together.

Captain America fighting the Red Guardian would certainly be a battle for the ages considering both of their power levels, especially since it took place in the Red Guardian's early comic runs as well. However, with Evans likely retired from the role of Cap, it seems like it will remain only a fantasy going forward.

Black Widow is now in theaters and available to stream on Disney+.

- In This Article: Black Widow
Release Date
July 09, 2021
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.