The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Producer: Newest Marvel Star Julia Louis-Dreyfus Plays a “Darker Nick Fury”

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has not seen the last of guest star Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine — Val for short — who makes a surprise cameo in the penultimate episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. When military man John Walker (Wyatt Russell) is stripped of his title and authority as the new Captain America in Episode 5, "Truth," she hands him a blank business card and tells him the "first best choice" he'll ever make is answering the phone when she calls — and that his secret injection of the recreated Super Soldier Serum has made him "very, very valuable to certain people."

A shadowy, well-connected recruiter dressed in black recalls Marvel's first-ever post-credits scene, where S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) tells Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) he's not the world's only superhero in 2008's Iron Man. According to Falcon and Winter Soldier executive producer Nate Moore, Louis-Dreyfus' character was envisioned as a Fury-type character:

"Whenever we talked about Valentina, even in the writer's room, she was sort of a more acerbic, funnier, but darker Nick Fury," Moore 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."

And like Fury, who pops up now and again across the MCU, Louis-Dreyfus' surprise Marvel role isn't a one-and-done: Val was supposed to be revealed in Scarlett Johansson's spy-thriller Black Widow before the film was repeatedly delayed amid the pandemic.

"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.

The Seinfeld and Veep star "has such range," Moore added. "She's only ever been great. There's something so likable about her that when she does show those darker tendencies to her character, it's a little bit more surprising and entertaining because you don't expect it to come from her."

Added co-executive producer Zoie Nagelhout, "What a gift for us to have her. 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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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will premiere its series finale on Friday, April 23, on Disney+.

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