Julia Louis-Dreyfus is breaking her silence about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The award-winning Seinfeld and Veep actress made a surprise cameo appearance in Episode 5 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, as one of Marvel's most pivotal figures in the spy/espionage world: Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. Like any actor hired by Marvel Studios, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has had to live under a thick veil of secrecy about her involvement in the MCU. Unlike a lot of actors in the franchise, however, she's had to keep quiet for much longer than usual (thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic). But not anymore!
Julia Louis-Dreyfus' debut as Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine was actually supposed to come in summer 2020 when Black Widow was originally supposed to be released in theaters. When that film (and the rest of the MCU Phase 4 slate) got pushed back several times, Marvel decided to debut Contessa in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. That means that Julia Louis-Dreyfus was signed on as Valentina as far back as 2019 or early 2020 - but she's just now getting to reveal it. So, her post on social media with the single world "Yup." may not seem like much in the way of "speaking out," but after the code of silence she's maintained, it's got to feel pretty good to say anything at all!
Valentina (or "Val") showed in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode "Truth" in a scene where John Walker (Wyatt Russell) has just been stripped of the Captain America title. Valentina sidles up to John Walker offering a new partnership with the disgraced soldier, on behalf of an organization that we don't yet know anything about. Given where The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is likely to end its story and characters, it's safe to assume that Walker won't be working for the "good guys" while under Valentina's wing.
In the comics, Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine ended up being a triple agent. She entered the espionage world as a standout S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (and Nick Fury's lover), but eventually she turned on the organization and became the new Madame Hydra. However, even that villainous turn was an act, as Valentina's true allegiance was to the organization Leviathan, which had formed in the Soviet Union, as a rival to S.H.I.E.L.D., HYDRA, The Hand, and the other splintered factions of the clandestine collective known as Zodiac. Julia Louis-Dreyfus' almost-role in Black Widow hints that Leviathan could be coming to the MCU soon enough.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming on Disney+. Black Widow will be in theaters (and Disney+ Premium Access) starting July 9th.