Black Widow, the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is almost upon us. In preparation for the movie’s July 9 release in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access, Marvel Studios has unveiled a new clip featuring David Harbour on the grounds of a Russian prison: a scenario that may be very familiar to fans of his character, Jim Hopper, on Netflix’s Stranger Things.
Harbour recently spoke about the Halloween-like experience of suiting up for his role in the MCU. His character in Black Widow is Red Guardian, a burly, bearded super-soldier who functions as the Russian equivalent of Captain America. The clip below sees him out of costume yet still “making a scene” while escaping a Russian prison as Alexei Shostakov, the civilian identity of Red Guardian.
You can hear Harbour’s Russian accent, see the character’s prison tattoos, and see him demonstrate his super strength and agility by kicking a door off its hinges and scaling a wall. He’s being chased by guards and appears to have set off a whole prison riot as he makes a break for freedom. Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johannson) and her surrogate assassin-sister, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) circle overhead in a helicopter.
Sorry, Theorists: Jim Hopper Is Not Red Guardian
We live in an age of shared universes and indeed multiverses, where Disney now owns Fox and Loki is even free to pop up on The Simpsons. It’s not just superheroes crossing over into each other’s films anymore. I haven’t kept up with Stranger Things beyond its first season but that show is where Harbour has really made his name as an actor in recent years. The success of it has opened up more opportunities for him in the film world and Black Widow is merely the latest evidence of that.
Spoilers for Stranger Things follow.
From what I understand (via pop culture osmosis), the third season of Stranger Things ended with Harbour’s character, Jim Hopper, in a Russian prison … the same place where we meet Red Guardian in the clip above. Before anyone starts theorizing about Black Widow and Stranger Things inhabiting the same universe, let’s all take a step back and consider Hopper’s newly clean-shaven face and head. Last month, Harbour went on Jimmy Kimmel and discussed how he and showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer consciously altered the character’s look in Stranger Things, Season 4, so as to avoid any potential confusion between Hopper and Harbour’s Black Widow character.
As neat as it might be to imagine the Stranger Things kids running around in some unexplored corner of the ’80s MCU, this is one case where the two properties only overlap insofar as they have the same actor portraying different characters in them. Forget about Hopper for now and just enjoy David Harbour as Red Guardian in Black Widow.
Black Widow hits theaters and Disney+ Premier Access on July 9, 2021.
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