This article contains spoilers for The Falcon And The Winter Soldier.
Our journey with The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is coming to an end as today’s penultimate episode sets events up for an epic finale.
Over the past couple of weeks we have been teased to expect big things in episode five, including a surprise cameo which did indeed leave fans flabbergasted.
That’s because the cameo was none other than Veep and Seinfeld actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus making her big Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debut as a character called Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine – it may be a mouthful but that’s quite the name!
She approaches a broken John Walker after he is forced to give up the mantle of Captain America, introducing herself as ‘Val’ for short, and telling him that he is not misguided, despite what the government says.
It appears she is working for an organisation that is interested in John, especially since he has taken the super soldier serum which has made him “very valuable to certain people”.
Who these “people” are is yet to be made clear, but she tells John to await her call – and so we eagerly await this too given that Val’s history in the comics means she could have a big impact on the MCU.
Who Is Contessa Valentina Allegra De La Fontaine In The Comics?
First appearing in Strange Tales #159, The Contessa is a recurring character in Marvel Comics who has quite the intriguing history.
Essentially, she’s an Italian noblewoman skilled in combat who became an agent of espionage, joining S.H.I.E.L.D then rising through the ranks to become Deputy Director.
Whilst there she dated Nick Fury at one point, something which could be brought into the MCU to create some interesting tension between the two.
Her flirtations with none other than Steve Rogers whilst dating Nick did cause some trouble though, leaving the Director Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America estranged for some time. Luckily the three managed to work things out.
The comics also sees Val take on the role of Madame Hydra as she secretly infiltrates HYDRA working undercover.
But it turns out that she has been undercover the whole time, with The Contessa and her parents being Russian sleeper agents working for the Soviet espionage agency Leviathan.
When all of this is revealed after she betrays HYDRA to Leviathan (causing a war to break out between the two shadowy organisations), The Contessa surrenders herself to Interpol and is sent to prison – which is where we last saw her in the comics.
Black Widow Connections
Interestingly Vanity Fair reports that sources say that not only is the MCU positioning Louis-Dreyfus’ Val up as a franchise baddie, but that the original plan was for her to appear in Black Widow first.
The film was intended to be released last year, but due to the pandemic was delayed, and so The Falcon And The Winter Soldier has hit our screens first.
Although we don’t know what role Val will play in Black Widow, in the comics she is a Russian agent who works for a Soviet espionage agency, so it’s incredibly likely she’s had encounters with both Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff and Florence Pugh’s Yelena Bolova.
Maybe Val was in the same program as them, which is where she received her training.
What Could Her Role Be In The MCU?
Val could be the answer to the question which has so far been left answered by the series: who is the Power Broker?
We are yet to meet the mysterious villain who is behind the super soldier threat, tasking scientist Dr. Wilfred Nagel with recreating the serum, which the Flag-Smashers then stole giving themselves powers.
Given that Val is clearly powerful and is interested in John now that he has taken the serum, she could indeed be the Power Broker, just another name she has taken on in her long career.
Our bet is still on Sharon Carter being revealed as the Power Broker though since she has been acting suspiciously. After all, she was left as a fugitive and has the motivation to break bad.
It seems clear though Val will play a large role in the MCU going forward, so perhaps she’s the woman who will put together the Thunderbolts, something that the franchise could indeed be heading towards.
With Val cameoing in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier and reportedly making an appearance in Black Widow too, maybe she will be a Nick Fury-like figure, popping up throughout Phase Four to put together a team.
This wouldn’t be surprising considering in the comics Val has assembled teams, so maybe she’s contacting potential members of the Thunderbolts, a group of villains who pretend to be heroes.
In today’s episode the ‘Raft’ was also mentioned as Zemo was sent there, a prison for supervillains from the comics which has ties to the Thunderbolts.
With Zemo once leading the team of antagonists in the comics, it gives us more reason to believe the Thunderbolts are coming to the MCU. Walker would indeed be a likely member alongside the Baron himself.
This is the MCU we are talking about though and quite literally anything could be coming our way. However, we do hope Louis-Dreyfus’ Val does become an evil Nick Fury-like figure as she will absolutely smash the role.
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier airs exclusively every Friday on Disney+.