One of the most surprising introductions into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent memory came in the fifth episode of Disney+'s "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," when Julia Louis-Dreyfus showed up as the mysterious Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.
The most impressive part of her appearance is that it was a genuine shock when she showed up to pick up the ruins of John Walker's (Wyatt Russell) shattered ego in the wake of his firing as Captain America. Now that the season is over, Louis-Dreyfus let us know how they were able to keep her role a secret.
"They snuck me onto set every day in this stunning hooded cloak. I have worn it every day since. Obviously," Louis-Dreyfus wrote on her Twitter account Friday.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character figures to have a pretty important role going forward, as she's seen by the end of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" not only refashioning Walker into U.S. Agent but apparently building a team of her own. In the comics, where she's also known as Madam Hydra, de Fontaine is kind of like a bizarro-world version of Nick Fury.
Valentina Allegra de Fontaine was created by writer-artist Jim Steranko, best known for his celebrated late '60s run on the Marvel Comics series "Strange Tales," soon retitled as "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." Valentina first showed up in "Strange Tales" #159 in 1967, just before the renaming.
In the comics, Valentina is an Italian jet setter who joined S.H.I.E.L.D. in an attempt to honor her parents, who apparently died during World War II fighting in "the resistance." She rose quickly through the ranks however, eventually became the leader of an all-female team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents called Femme Force, and also had an off-again, on-again romantic relationship with Nick Fury. (There's much more about her character here.)