The Marvel Cinematic Universe left one Black Widow mystery lingering, and Marvel’s What If…? episode 8 finally gave it a solid answer.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for What If…? episode 8.
Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe left one Black Widow mystery lingering, Marvel’s What If…? finally gave it an answer. In What If…? episode 8, Marvel showed why Ultron (voiced by Ross Marquand) was the most significant threat the MCU ever faced. Not only does Ultron easily defeat Thanos (Josh Brolin) in the episode, but he sets his sights on destroying Marvel’s entire Multiverse. The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) tries to stop Ultron’s mission, but he’s easily outmatched. Ultimately, the Watcher breaks his oath never to interfere and turns to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help taking down Ultron.
Black Widow solved several MCU mysteries. In the film, Marvel reveals how Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) became a victim of the Red Room, showing the secret operation training her as a child. The movie also explains why Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow were so close, showing the pair working together in Budapest to take down Dreykov (Ray Winstone), the Red Room’s overseer. Additionally, the film gives a glimpse of Black Widow’s backstory. The movie reveals Natasha Romanoff was once part of a secret operation where Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian (David Harbour), Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) played her pseudo-family.
Besides solving mysteries, Black Widow also raised questions, and What If…? helps answer one about Red Guardian’s missing shield. In What If…? episode 8, Black Widow (voiced by Lake Bell) and Hawkeye survive Ultron’s attack on Earth and search the KGB archives for a way to defeat the AI. During the search, Black Widow comes across a box carrying a red shield. “Is this my color?” she jokes with Hawkeye, strapping the shield to her back. And with that moment, What If…? finally answers a Black Widow mystery about what happened to Red Guardian’s infamous weapon.
Until now, the location of Red Guardian’s shield was unknown. In Black Widow, a Red Guardian action figure shows the character with the shield, but Alexei never gets the real thing. Even when Red Guardian dons his uniform later in the film, the shield remains missing. Black Widow reveals that Dreykov imprisoned Alexei for years, so it makes sense that the KGB put the shield in storage. What If…? seemingly confirms that. Though What If…? episode 8 occurs in a different timeline from the main MCU, the shield likely stayed in the same location.
The shield’s location may also explain Alexei’s bitterness toward Captain America (Chris Evans). In a prison scene in Black Widow, Red Guardian recalls a fight with Captain America, saying that he came face-to-face with Steve Rogers in the ’80s. During his story, Red Guardian says he grabbed hold of Captain America’s shield, adding that the hero carries it around like a “baby blanket.” If the KGB took Red Guardian’s shield away, it makes sense that he’d get defensive about it. Sans shield, he mocks other heroes who carry one. After all, Red Guardian doesn’t need a “baby blanket.” He just needs everyone to listen to his stories about why other heroes have them.
More: Yelena’s Black Widow Joke Has Hilarious Secret Meaning
Marvel’s What If…? releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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