Falcon and the Winter Soldier Director Breaks Silence on Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Secret Cameo

The finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier debuts this weekend, bringing an end to an action-packed and genuinely surprising Marvel Studios adventure. The Disney+ series has introduced a number on interesting characters while showcasing the journey of Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) — some returning veterans in the MCU, and others new faces entirely. The newest and most unexpected face arrived in the series' fifth episode, when Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus made a surprise appearance as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, a fan-favorite character who becomes Madame Hydra in the comics. The arrival of Valentina was definitely unexpected for Marvel fans, many of whom were quick to research her Marvel Comics history. In a recent interview with The Toronto Sun, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland revealed her own familiarity with Valentina prior to working on the series.

"I wasn’t as aware of her," Skogland revealed. "She’s a deep dive, and I only became a fan of Marvel 10 or 15 years ago. So, I didn’t know until I started looking into who she was and where she came from. But I also didn’t know about Madripoor… and that’s such a unique space of the MCU."

A number of fans probably felt similarly to Skogland when Valentina appeared onscreen, especially given the unconventional way she was introduced. But according to the top brass at Marvel, Valentina's role in the larger MCU will soon reveal itself.

"Whenever we talked about Valentina, even in the writer's room, she was sort of a more acerbic, funnier, but darker Nick Fury," producer Nate Moore recently told Marvel.com. "Someone who knows her secrets, who's not afraid to operate in the moral gray area, but maybe who isn't as inherently altruistic."

"Having a character like Valentina in the show, and actually in the MCU, is really interesting because I think she'll be making more waves sooner rather than later," Moore teased.

"What a gift for us to have her," co-executive producer Zoie Nagelhout added. "She is just incredible. In the initial conversations between her and Kevin [Feige], she was just excited by the idea of joining this world and what it could mean to play a new quirky, weird, mysterious character. And she loved that there was this comedy to it as well because that's, of course, one of her great strengths. She was the perfect character to bring into John Walker's world to complicate what he's going through and give him a weird almost ominous light at the end of the tunnel."

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