What's Up With Julia Louis-Dreyfus In Falcon And The Winter Soldier?

Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode 5 debuted a surprising cameo: Emmy Award-winning actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus as comic book villain Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine

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The penultimate episode of Falcon and The Winter Soldier snuck a massive cameo into the mix: Emmy Award winning actor and TV icon Julia Louis-Dreyfus made her surprise MCU debut as Val, or, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. And though she had only one very mysterious scene in the episode, according to Variety, Marvel's got some big things lined up for her in the future.

Louis-Dreyfus was, apparently, originally intended to make her debut in the extensively delayed Black Widow solo film, which would have likely provided slightly more context for her Disney+ scene. In the episode, she waltzes up to a recently court martialed John Walker and introduces herself before praising Walker's work and making him an ambiguous offer of support--complete with an ominously blank business card. We can't be sure if Walker actually accepts this offer (or how he would contact her, given the lack of info on the card) but it certainly seems like Val is the sort of person with power and influence that could help Walker get an outlet for all his obvious anger issues.

In the comics, Contessa got her start as a sort of femme fatal secret agent in the pages of the '60s Nick Fury solo series where she split her time jet-setting around and meddling in both Fury and his companion Dum Dum Dugan's plans. In her earliest stories, she threaded the needle between villain and Bond Girl-style distraction where her biggest threat was what sort of sex appeal she could provide for the titular male heroes. However, eventually she was given something of a rework and evolved into Madame Hydra (or, more specifically, a Madame Hydra--multiple women have held the title.)

This flip came after it was revealed that SHIELD had, in fact, always been infiltrated by Hydra and Contessa had been a Russian mole within the organization all along. This probably all sounds vaguely like the plot of the Winter Soldier film--the same basic premise between SHIELD and Hydra was lifted from these stories for the movie.

Unfortunately, the reveal between SHIELD and Hydra has not been given much screen time in the MCU since Winter Soldier, so it's not likely that Louis-Dreyfus is going to suddenly reveal herself to be the new face of Hydra in the future. More likely, she'll represent some new organization that may or may not have cropped up or consolidated power during the Blip. Or, if the constant shuffling of Black Widow's release date hasn't forced Marvel to delete Louis-Dreyfus's scene from the movie entirely, we may learn that a separate organization--perhaps one related to the Red Room--has been operating in the MCU secretly all along.

Alternatively, Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been doing a great job of keeping the details and identity of its Power Broker secret through the series. Sharon Carter is currently a strong contender for the proverbial mantle as she continues to manipulate the situation to unknown ends from Madripoor, but Val could just as easily be the one pulling the strings. Her interest in John Walker could be related to the serum he now has running through his veins.

Or, Louis-Dreyfus's Val could be neither of these things and instead be a total reinvention of the character to totally undisclosed ends that won't become apparent until the final episode of the show this week. Either way, it's probably a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for anything strange or unexplained as we wrap up Falcon and the Winter Soldier and head into Loki, or as you settle in to stream Black Widow on Disney+ on July 9.

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