One of the more surprising elements of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” was Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ debut as Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. And it appears we’ll be seeing much more of her, considering she rebranded John Walker as U.S. Agent by the end of the Disney+ series.
“She’s so talented and you can do so much with her. And she’s game for it,” Marvel Studios executive producer Nate Moore told Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
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,” which was retitled “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 died during World War II fighting in “the resistance.” She rose quickly through the ranks, eventually becoming the leader of an all-female team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents called Femme Force, and also had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship with Nick Fury. (You can read much more about her character here.)
Vanity Fair reported that Louis-Dreyfus was originally going to debut in “Black Widow” before the pandemic shuffled Marvel’s release dates around. Zoie Nagelhout, another executive producer on “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” confirmed the late addition of Val to the Disney+ series, saying it “was actually a little bit late in the game for us.”
“That character of Val, we were like, we’ve got to bring somebody into John Walker’s world that challenges him, that maybe gives him a glimmer of hope — but hope that is tainted, because his character is all about a search for identity that is maybe a bit problematic,” Nagelhout told EW. “As soon as we figured out [Val’s] the right character for that role, [Louis-Dreyfus] came quickly after.”