So, ‘Black Widow’ is finally out in theaters! And what a glorious opening it’s had thus far with a $13.2 million dollar preview day at Thursday’s box office according to CNBC. Now that it’s officially out, it means I can go ahead and talk about a theory that struck me as I was writing my original movie review two weeks ago. **WARNING!! POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR ‘BLACK WIDOW’ GOING FORWARD FROM HERE!!** In the film, Red Guardian (delightfully played by David Harbour) brags to his fellow prison inmates about his epic battle with Captain America. Later in the movie, he asks Scarlett Johansson‘s titular character if Captain America has ever mentioned him to her. At that point, it becomes unclear as to whether he was just boasting about a fight he had with America’s super soldier or if he somehow truly encountered Captain America (or, perhaps, he has just been telling the story so long, he truly believes his own press?). The answer might have a connection to a recent Marvel / Disney + series.
Obviously, as Alexei’s fellow inmate points out to him, Captain America would have still been frozen in ice during the time this supposed battle between the sentinel of liberty & Russia’s own super soldier took place. True! Steve Rogers would still have been a “Capsicle” (Tony Stark‘s phrase) bobbing around in the Atlantic Ocean during the time of this supposed clash. But we now know that The U.S. had another Captain America in the 1950’s and that his name was Isaiah Bradley. As revealed in the TV series ‘The Falcon & The Winter Soldier‘, Isaiah Bradley (portrayed by the ever-incredible Carl Lumbly) was Captain America during the time following World War II. Depending on when Red Guardian came on the scene, he very well may have crossed paths with this new Captain America and fought him. The location, date, circumstances, etc, are something that I would love to see Marvel explore more either on the big screen or in an upcoming original series on Disney +, but perhaps Isaiah’s Cap wore a more concealing costume or armor than what we associate with him wearing in the comics and, therefore, Alexei did not know that he was fighting anyone other than Steve Rogers. More credence is lent to this theory especially given the apparent lengths the U.S. Government went to in order to keep people from knowing about their program or about the existence of Isaiah Bradley after the fact (again, as heart-breakingly detailed in ‘TFATWS’). Either way, I feel this is a plausible theory as to why Alexei was so convinced that he did battle with Captain America but seems unaware that it could not possibly have been Steve Rogers.
What do YOU think? Was Red Guardian just buying into his own PR? Or did he truly encounter Captain America in battle and just not realize which one he was fighting? Leave a comment below with YOUR thoughts on my fan theory. (And be sure to get out and see ‘Black Widow’ in theaters this weekend!!!)