Warning - This article contains spoilers for Black Widow.
It was a long time coming, but Black Widow has brought the MCU back to the big screen after a 739-day drought. Scarlett Johansson is back, but instead of the Avengers, she is joined by her never-before-seen childhood.
Stranger Things' David Harbour plays her father, Alexei aka the Red Guardian, Florence Pugh plays her sister Yelena, and Rachel Weisz plays her mother, Melina. This family dynamic is at the heart of this movie and features instant, classic performances from Pugh and Harbour.
Pugh's character was blatantly set up for a future in the MCU during the post-credits scene, but Harbour's return as the Russian super-soldier remains unclear.
Now, the Red Guardian actor himself has spoken on a possible MCU return...
DAVID HARBOUR COMMENTS ON A RED GUARDIAN RETURN
In an interview with Collider, David Harbour said that "there is some chatter around certain things" regarding his return as Red Guardian, but Marvel Studios "didn't really give a sense of what was up next" for him.
When asked if Marvel Studios is planning future Red Guardian appearances in the MCU, the actor mentioned that the franchise is branching out with films like Eternals and confirmed he "wasn't involved in that branch:"
"There is some chatter around certain things. We were pretty focused on just this. They also have a lot of stuff in the pipe that, it seems like in this particular phase, there's a lot of different... There's like Eternals... There's different elements to this universe that I think they're branching out at this point until they start to do this. I knew I wasn't involved in that branch. The discussions were... They didn't really give a sense of what was up next. It was more just really focused on this movie, and some speculation of possibilities."
WILL RED GUARDIAN RETURN ON DISNEY+?
Red Guardian was last seen boarding a helicopter with Melina, Yelena, and about a dozen other Widows. The film left the possibility open for hundreds or thousands of Widows across the world to be freed from mind control and be able to live their own lives.
A Disney+ series could suit a story about the Widows finding purpose after a life of brainwashing and intense training. At least hundreds of the best of the best spies around the world are suddenly told they can do what they want? There's got to be drama in that.
David Harbour's aforementioned performance was one of the highlights of Black Widow, and his delusional history with Captain America could be explored even deeper as well.
Seeing Red Guardian in his physical prime during the '80s and '90s would be interesting to see. Maybe he even had a run-in with the Winter Soldier as Isaiah Bradley did. Due to Alexei's desire to compare himself to the Stars and Stripes, his possible return could be in Anthony Mackie's untitled Captain America 4.
Whatever the case, the Red Guardian may hopefully return to the MCU and get a second chance at being contemporary with Cap.
To see Red Guardian in action, Black Widow is now streaming on Disney+ via Premier Access and in theaters worldwide.