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Why Does The Red Guardian Have A Shield Just Like Captain America?

The final trailer for the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4, Black Widow, has dropped — and it has us more convinced than ever that David Harbour's Alexei Shostakov, AKA the Red Guardian, will be one of the coolest characters introduced into the mega-franchise in some time. We've seen that Shostakov can be jovial, yet also possessed of a steely determination; he's overweight and out of shape, yet still first in line when an ass-kicking is in order. That final trailer also shows us how affectionate he is toward Natasha Romanoff and the rest of her "family" — and how hard he'll fight for them.

Minus the "overweight and out of shape" part, he really does kind of remind you of his more famous counterpart: Captain America, after whom the Russian government modeled him. This partially answers the question of why he uses a shield, one highly reminiscent of Cap's, as an offensive weapon in the final trailer for Black Widow.

Yes, the Red Guardian — in the comics and, apparently, in the MCU — is Russia's answer to Captain America. Cap's shield, though, is a finely-tuned weapon; it's only able to be used offensively because its weight and balance is perfectly calibrated for just such a use, and this calibration is so precise that heroes other than Cap have been known to have an extremely difficult time using it.

So, why would Red Guardian just happen to have a shield that mimics the offensive capabilities of Cap's, and how did he learn to wield it properly? The answer may lie elsewhere in that final Black Widow trailer.

Russia has apparently experimented with duplicating Cap's shield

Early in the spot, we see the mysterious Taskmaster — whose "photographic reflexes" allow him to perfectly replicate anybody's fighting style after observing it only once — attempting to take out Natasha, who is in an overturned vehicle. Nat rains gunfire down on the villain — who deflects the bullets with a shield of his own. He then flings the shield at Nat in a very familiar manner; obviously, he's done his research on Steve Rogers.

It stands to reason that Taskmaster's shield was also created to be a duplicate of Cap's — specifically, for use by someone who is able to perfectly imitate the Star-Spangled Avenger. From the trailer, we know that Taskmaster has been running the infamous Red Room, where Nat and others received their training, for some time; is it possible that he schooled the Red Guardian in the use of his shield?

We think it just might be. It's as good an explanation as any as to how the Guardian, as rusty and out of shape as he obviously is, is still able to chuck his shield with extreme accuracy later on in the spot. That kind of muscle memory only comes from intensive training, and we're betting that the Guardian received that training under Taskmaster's watchful... er, visor.

We're sure all will be made clear when Black Widow hits theaters on May 1.