The introduction of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Marvel Comics character Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier may have already laid the groundwork for her as the franchises’ next great antagonist.
Fans who know anything about Julia Louis-Dreyfus know that the multiple Emmy-winning star of beloved comedies Seinfeld and Veep does not get brought into a world as vast as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) for a one-time cameo appearance. According to a new rumor from Daniel Richtman, Contessa Valentina (“Countess Val” for short) may be crafting her own super-team from the comic books designed to position her as Sam Wilson’s greatest villain, on par with Steve Rogers and Red Skull.
“Val will create the Dark Avengers and will rebuild Hydra and will become a nemesis for Sam’s Cap,” Richtman asserts.
For those unfamiliar, the Dark Avengers are exactly what they sound like, lesser-tier superheroes who team up to present a counter-weight to Earth’s mightiest heroes. Often times, this team is made up of characters who aren’t as burdened by morality as the draft 1 Avengers team. Falcon and the Winter Soldier presented a world in which these heroes were sorely missed after the events of Avengers: Endgame, so it would make sense for someone out there like Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Countess Val to be trying to recapture that world-saving greatness with whatever capable super humans are lying around.
This may seem like a lot to extrapolate from Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ brief time on Falcon and the Winter Soldier, however, there’s just enough evidence in place for this rumor to hold a significant amount of water.
To recap, fans were introduced to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ live-action version of Countess Val in episode 5 of the series, just after John Walker was stripped of his Captain America title for going straight up mental and murdering a Flag-Smasher after illegally getting himself yoked up on super-soldier serum. She showed up again in the finale to give Walker his new costume and title of U.S. Agent, bringing his comics origin, for the most part, to fruition on-screen.
If Julia Louis-Dreyfus seemed like she was playing Val as a character whose only goal was to dress Walker in black, you weren’t watching hard enough. In the comics, her character was a staple in the espionage world and, while she had no great loyalty to Hydra, was not afraid to assume leadership roles within it as a means to her own greater ends. The Val that fans were introduced to on the show seemed like she was just getting started with something big.
It’s not unreasonable to think that Val is combing the lesser-known but equally powerful litany of MCU characters to form a super-team of her own to rival the Avengers. Further evident by the fact that U.S. Agent has his own ties to the Dark Avengers in the comic books and even briefly led them at one point.
Even if you were to remove Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character from the mix entirely, Esquire noted as early as July of 2019, when Marvel laid out its Phase 4 plans, that the writing was on the wall for the Dark Avengers to make their way into the MCU. Fans were speculating far-and-wide at the time that the first iteration of the Dark Avengers, led by Norman Osborn after a skrull invasion, are mostly present in the MCU already, save for a few easy canonical tweaks here-and-there. That was before the premiere of Falcon and the Winter Soldier came and doubled down on that speculation with Countess Val and U.S. Agent. With other projects like Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, Armor Wars and a potential second season of Falcon and the Winter Soldier slated to join the MCU TV show roster, perhaps U.S. Agent won’t be working solo for too much longer.
Furthermore, Falcon and the Winter Soldier executive producer Nate Moore made it clear that the actress is “game” for a full character arc in the MCU. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the executive producer revealed that Julia Louis-Dreyfus didn’t sign on for a cameo, she signed on for a role in the universe.
“She’s so talented and you can do so much with her. And she’s game for it,” he shared. “She certainly didn’t come to us and say, ‘I’ll be in one show once.’ She was like, ‘I want to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.’ And we said, ‘Great! Let’s get you in and let’s figure out how to use you.’ And the truth is, I think you will see her in the future. Definitely.”
With the chess pieces in place for the Dark Avengers to unite pre-existing characters in the MCU, the potential to introduce even more characters in upcoming projects and a promise from on-high that Julia Louis-Dreyfus is here to shake things up across the entirety of the MCU, perhaps fans were yet again ahead of the curve in 2019 when they speculated that a scary new super team is making its way to the franchise.