The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5 Sets The Stage For Marvel's Thunderbolts

Villains breaking good — even if momentarily — has led to the success of franchises like The Suicide Squad, so it's only a matter of time before Marvel goes to replicate that with a villain team-up of the studio's own. Thankfully for fans hoping for that team-up, the latest episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier practically guarantees the Thunderbolts are on the way. The introduction of one major award-winning actor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe this week goes to great lengths showing just how serious Marvel Studios is about the future of the Thunderbolts.

Major spoilers follow for "Truth!" If you've yet to catch up with the latest episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, proceed with caution.

The fifth and penultimate episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier introduces Julia Louis-Dreyfus to the MCU in her debut Marvel role. The Emmy-winning actor plays Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, a shady character that may or may not have a tie to the United States government. In the comics, the character has donned the Madame Hydra moniker and has acted as an agent on behalf of SHIELD and practically all other clandestine governmental organizations.

When she first arrives on screen in the MCU, she consoles a distraught John Walker (Wyatt Russell) after the government officially strips him of his shield and the Captain America moniker. Naturally, de Fontaine tells Walker she'll be in touch, and the foundation for the Thunderbolts has been built.

Moments after the character's debut took place on Disney+, Vanity Fair released a piece revealing Louis-Dreyfus was actually supposed to make her MCU debut in Black Widow, except the numerous COVID-related delays pushed that back until after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

With the character supposed to debit the Scarlett Johansson vehicle, it stands to reason that she's in the movie to create a character like Yelna Belova (Florence Pugh) or Taskmaster to also join her cause. That Vanity Fair piece also suggests Louis-Dreyfus will have a major role as the MCU moves forward, so perhaps Kevin Feige and his team already have a Thunderbolts movie or series already in some stage of development.

Either way, the stage is set. The Thunderbolts are coming to the MCU.

Watch The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+.

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