David Harbour took pictures of the Black Widow set and sent them to the Stranger Things creators. On July 9, the newest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will hit theaters after two years of no major releases. While the film focuses on its titular character, also known as Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), it also includes a stacked supporting cast. Harbour plays Alexei Shostakov, known in his glory days as the Red Guardian, Russia’s equivalent of Captain America. When Black Widow and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) seek his help, they have to break into the Russian prison that he’s been locked up in.

The upcoming fourth season of the highly-anticipated Netflix show Stranger Things will have a bigger scale than previous seasons, expanding once again on the world of Eleven and friends. In season 3, the show initially made it appear as if Harbour’s character, Jim Hopper, didn’t survive the events of Strangers Things’s finale. However, the final scene teased that Hopper is still alive, albeit trapped in a Russian prison camp of some sort. This location will certainly be an important one, making two projects that he’s working on featuring such a prison.

In an interview with The Guardian, Harbour discussed Black Widow and other projects he is working on. After getting cast as Alexei in the MCU, he reached out to the Stranger Things creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, also known as the Duffer Brothers. Harbour was instantly struck by the fact that both of his characters would be locked up in Russian prisons and wanted to make sure that they remained distinct from each other. He took some pictures of the set and messaged the Duffer Brothers to inform them on the aesthetic, so that they could do the complete opposite. See below for what Harbour was looking out for:

“I was like: ‘OK, there’s an orange colour in this one. Just don’t make the prison orange! Alexei is big, with a beard and long hair, so I wanted Hopper to have a shaved head, be clean shaven, be very thin. It is a concern that people will go: ‘Woah! It’s a crossover!’ No guys, it’s a coincidence.”

It’s clearly only a coincidence that both of his characters end up in Russian prisons, although it’s a funny situation. The MCU is very strict with what’s allowed to be a part of its continuity and how it establishes its crossovers. Even Sony has had difficulties trying to push Venom to become part of the MCU. The company is also very tight-lipped about its productions, but Harbour was smart to want to keep the aesthetic of the two Russian prisons to be very different, even if just to make the two roles feel as different as possible. Still, his decision to send the photos to the Duffer Brothers is a risky one – had Marvel found out, there’s no telling what would have happened.

Still, Russia is certainly portrayed in a very specific way in film and television that can draw comparisons between different projects. It’s not too surprising to see the Russian prison setting being used in more than one major project in any given year. However, the aesthetic differences are more likely to help Harbour in separating the characters for himself than necessarily helping the audience, although it won’t hurt with that either. Nevertheless, even the tease that was provided at the end of Stranger Things season 3 has a different feel to it than the prison seen in Black Widow and its various teasers.

Source: The Guardian

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