Who is Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine?
Friday's new episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier gave fans plenty to think about when it comes to the future of the MCU.
From John Walker losing the title and shield of Captain America (and then ominously forging himself a new one), to Sharon Carter freeing Georges Batroc to fight alongside the Flag Smashers, to Bucky getting his flirt on with Sarah Wilson (!!!), "Truth" set more than a few important things in motion as the eight-episode series barrels toward its finale -- and it also introduced a brand-new player from the comics canon.
As Walker (Wyatt Russell) sat moping after being stripped of his title and military honors, he was approached by a sharp-tongued figure, played by television legend Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Introducing herself as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Dreyfus' character assured Walker that she knew all about him -- including that he no longer was in possession of his shield, which the government officials had demanded he return.
"These guys in ties, they got a whole thing to protect," she told Walker, revealing that she also knew he had taken the super soldier serum: "It has made you very, very valuable to certain people."
"I actually think it was the second-best choice you've ever made in your life. You wanna know what the first-best choice was? ...Picking up the phone when I call you," she added, before leaving him with a blank business card.
So who is Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine? (Or Val, as she tells Walker not to call her to her face.) In the Marvel comics canon, she's been an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., partner and love interest of Nick Fury, Russian sleeper agent and, perhaps most notably, the villainous Madame Hydra.
Vanity Fair reports that Dreyfus' character was originally set to debut in the upcoming Black Widow movie -- but due to pandemic delays, her Falcon and Winter Soldier cameo came up first. However, the MCU possibilities for her character in this series as well as future installments are pretty interesting: Is she the Power Broker ruling over Madripoor? Do her Russian ties stem back to the Black Widow's Red Room? Is she here to start setting up the MCU's version of the Femme Force or the Thunderbolts?
In a 2019 Vanity Fair interview, as Dreyfus was looking ahead to future roles following her Emmy-winning run on Veep, she noted that she would be interested in taking on a superhero role in some capacity. "Swinging around on wires and kicking people in the face…shooting fire out of whatever you shoot fire out of. I would dig that," she mused.
New episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier stream Fridays on Disney+.