Black Widow: How did the Red Guardian obtain its powers?

Natasha Romanoff’s adoptive family in Black widow includes Alexei Shostakov aka Red Guardian, the Soviet Union’s answer to Captain America and the closest thing Nat has to a father. Red Guardian has super strength to rival that of Captain America, flexing his powers by lifting a tank and scaling walls with ease, but the details of how exactly he got his powers are sketchy.

Red Guardian was at one time the USSR’s own famous superhero, with action figures made in his image and a brightly colored suit and throwing shield. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, however, he was given the more mundane task of operating as a sleeper agent in the United States. To help sell his fake identity, they matched him up in a fake marriage to Melina Vostakoff and gave him two daughters: Natasha Romanoff, who had already gone through some of her widow training in the Red Room, and the most recent acquisition of General Dreykov. , Yelena Belova, who was only three years old when the Red Guardian mission began.

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Alexei’s superpowers are shown in Black widowThe thrilling opening sequence, in which he uses his enhanced strength, speed, and durability to help the family escape the authorities after their cover is discovered. 21 years later, he is locked up in a remote maximum security prison (as a consequence of offending Dreykov) and spends his days flaunting his past glories as the Red Guardian. But what happened to Alexei in his life before those glory days, besides the unfortunate incident with his father urinating on his hands to avoid frostbite? Here are the most likely explanations for how Alexei Shostakov gained his superpowers, in order of probability.

Soviet Super Soldier Serum

Captain America First Avenger Super Soldi

Whenever a new super soldier appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it can generally be assumed that it is the result of someone trying to recreate Abraham Erskine’s super soldier serum. This serum was used to turn Steve Rogers into Captain America, but Erskine was killed immediately after and his knowledge was lost. Instead of creating an entire army of super soldiers, the United States only had one. Attempts to replicate the super soldier serum have met with mixed success and have created numerous variations of the super soldier ideal, ranging from the failed results of Red Skull’s super soldier serum (which gave him super strength, but also gave him monstrous appearance) towards differently failed results of Bruce Banner’s super soldier serum (which turned him into the Hulk).

In the MCU, Red Guardian is the Soviet Union’s first and only super soldier, and was created to rival Captain America’s military might and propaganda potential. If he received his powers through a super soldier serum, then the Soviets could have obtained it from a number of possible sources. Perhaps HYDRA gifted the Soviets with a dose of the same Winter Soldier serum that they used to turn Bucky Barnes into an unstoppable killing machine. Alternatively, the Soviets could have discovered fragments of Abraham Erskine’s original research after the Allied victory in WWII, or they could have prepared a super soldier serum entirely of their own design.

A super soldier serum would certainly explain the Red Guardian personality, as one of the most consistent effects of serums is to amplify a person’s essential nature. For Steve Rogers, the serum highlighted his compassion and heroism. For Red Skull, it amplified his evil. In the Red Guardian’s case, the super soldier serum apparently failed to make him obedient and unquestioning, and instead magnified both his boastful personality and fierce affection towards those he considers familiar.

Related: When Yelena And Other Black Widow Characters Appear Next In The MCU

“Brutal experiments”

Marvel Comics Red Guardian Origin Story

In his Marvel Comics origin story, Alexei Shostakov doesn’t actually have superpowers. He was chosen to be the Red Guardian due to his already impressive career as a test pilot, and isolated from his previous life (including Black Widow, who in the comics was his wife rather than his daughter) and reassigned to the role of Best Soldier. and mascot of the Soviet Union. He was once a good man, but he became ruthless and became obsessed with proving that he was stronger than Captain America. Although Alexei may not have had real superpowers, it was suggested that he had gone through some kind of scientific process to make him the best soldier.

After recognizing Red Guardian as her ex-husband in Avengers # 44, Natasha regretted that “They changed him somehow … they made him more cruel! He hardly seemed the same man that I once loved.” The Official Manual of the Marvel UniverseThe entry on Alleksey Lebedev, the first Red Guardian, reveals that Alexei Shostakov’s transformation into the Red Guardian was more than just training and brainwashing. Lebedev’s biography concludes by saying that “Alleksey allegedly died during the purges of the 1950s, opposing the brutal experiments that ultimately created his successor, Alexei Shostakov.. “The MCU origin story for Red Guardian could include its own variation on these”brutal experiments, “which go beyond the simple injection of a super soldier serum and into even darker territory.

Mutant genes

Black Widow Red Guardian Fighting Stance

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has already started teasing the idea of ​​mutants, which were previously off-limits, but may now start on board due to Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox. WandaVision She acknowledged Wanda Maximoff’s origins to reveal that while the Mind Stone may have amplified her latent powers, it actually performed acts of magic long before she volunteered for HYDRA’s experiments. This new origin story was linked to Wanda’s fate as a prophesied figure called the Scarlet Witch, and the word “mutant” was never explicitly used. However, it opened the door for more MCU characters to have innate superpowers as a result of their mutant genes.

On Black widow It is revealed that the girls who are taken away from their families and trafficked into the Red Room were specifically targeted because of their genetic potential. The selection of Alexei Shostakov as the Red Guardian could have been born for similar reasons. If it had a latent X gene, this could have been exploited through experimentation, brainwashing, and drugs to bring its innate mutant superpowers to the surface.

Related: Red Guardian vs. Captain America: Which Super Soldier Is Stronger?

Life model lure

Black Widow Red Guardian Toy

What Loki Demonstrated recently, you can never be sure whether a character in the MCU is organic flesh and blood, or just a robot in disguise. Agents of protection had a major story arc involving Life Model Decoys: hyper-realistic robot androids designed to replicate the appearance and personality of a human with such precision that they cannot be distinguished from reality. However, they are not limited to human-level strength, which is why Red Guardian is an LMD would explain their unnatural abilities. In Marvel Comics, Alexei Shostakov was replaced by a Life Model decoy after sacrificing his life to save Captain America. However, if Black widowThe red guardian was a life model decoy, so he probably wouldn’t have to deal with the very human problem of struggling to fit into his old disguise.

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Black Widow’s post-credits scene was filmed during the new shots

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