Black Widow will kick off Marvel's Phase Four, finally giving Scarlett Johansson's mysterious assassin her own solo adventure. Someone who is coming along for the ride is Stranger Things star David Harbour as Natasha Romanoff's friend and team-mate Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian.

Thanks to the actor's inclusion, a fan theory has emerged linking the smash-hit Netflix series Stranger Things and Sheriff Hopper with Black Widow. The theory suggests that, with Hopper now imprisoned in Russia, and with The Red Guardian being a Russian superhero, that the two characters are, in fact, one and the same. Sadly, Harbour himself is here to relieve himself all over this particular parade.

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"I know, it is a very surprising, annoying coincidence, and I apologize to the entire internet. There is no rhyme or reason for it, I promise you. There's no crossover event between Stranger Things and the MCU."

Oh, what David Harbour says is a little disappointing. Obviously nobody thought it was true but he could have at least toyed with the idea, perhaps leaving an air of mystery to the whole thing. But, his cut and dry approach is very Jim Hopper so it's impossible to hate him for it.

The actor then addressed the two characters, pointing out that, other than being played by the same person, they do not actually look very much alike at all.

"I mean, I do look very different in them. One of them, I'm 270 pounds and got a beard and thick, long hair, and the other one I'm like 200 pounds and have no hair."

Alright, alright, he doesn't need to rub it in. We get it. It's nonsense. Fine. To be fair he does have a point, plus there's the timeline of it all, as Hopper would have gotten quite old if he'd made contacts in Russia and became the Red Guardian. But, fan theories rarely make proper, logical sense, and that is all part of the fun. Spoilsport.

There is also the interesting coincidence that David Harbour's character in Black Widow is named Alexei Shostakov. Dr. Alexei happens to be the name of the Russian doctor in Stranger Things Season 3 that Hopper and Joyce take hostage and eventually help. Could Hopper, trying to remain anonymous in Russia have assumed his old friend's name to honor his memory in Black Widow? Nah. That, as David Harbour would call it, is just annother 'annoying coincidence'.

Black Widow picks up following the events of 2016's Captain America: Civil War. Natasha Romanoff finds herself alone and forced to confront a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Romanoff must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

The movie is directed by Cate Shortland and written by Eric Pearson from a story by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson, and stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow alongside Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz. Black Widow is currently expected to arrive in theaters on May 1st.

Stranger Things season 3 meanwhile recently started production, though this has now been suspended in the wake of concerns surrounding coronavirus. Jim Hopper is in a tricky position, presumed dead and a prisoner in Russia, fans cannot wait to see how the intrepid Sheriff will get out of this one. It was also announced this morning that Black Widow has been indefinitely delayed due to the pandemic sweeping the nation. All of this comes to us courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge