Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Character in 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,' Explained

In the penultimate episode of Disney+ and Marvel Studios' The Falcon and The Winter Soldier series, fans are treated to a cameo that no one saw coming.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) made a surprise appearance in the fifth installment of the miniseries, and her character's introduction could have serious implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We're going to dive into her character's role in the comic books, but we should also issue a spoiler warning for Episode 5 of The Falcon and the Winter Solider, since we have to discuss the show's plot.

Oh, and when you're watching the episode, keep an eye out for a post-credits scene.

falcon winter soldier episode 5 standoff walker
Falcon, Winter Soldier and John Walker having a standoff in Episode 5 of 'The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.' Disney+/Marvel Studios


After the graphic and violent events at the conclusion of Episode 4, John Walker (Wyatt Russel) has his shield taken away by Falcon and Winter Soldier. He's then stripped of his duties and rank by the U.S. government, but at one point in Episode 5, he's approached by a mysterious woman.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus appears and sits next to Walker. She identifies herself as La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, but you can just call her Val—just in your head.

Fans of Marvel Comics may recognize the name and the character as a major superspy in the Marvel Universe. Valentina was created by John Steranko in the 1960s, and was introduced as a SHIELD agent alongside Nick Fury.

Valentina was a highly trained combatant and master of espionage, which helped her rise the ranks of SHIELD. She and Fury also became lovers in her time with SHIELD. But, with spies, you can never know where their true allegiances lie: Even though La Contessa was recruited to be a part of SHIELD, she was actually a double agent for Hydra, known as Madame Hydra.

She used her resources to infiltrate SHIELD to benefit Hydra, but, it turns out, Valentina was actually a triple agent. Well, actually, she was a sleeper agent for the Russian organization Leviathan, like her parents before her. Using SHIELD and Hydra, Valentina resurrected the organization Leviathan, whose sole purpose is world domination.

Those are her major plotlines in the comics, but she was also notable for heading up the SHIELD all-female group Femme Force. In the "Secret Invasion" storyline, in which Skrulls were posing as members of the Marvel Universe, it was revealed that the Valentina who was working in SHIELD at that time was actually a Skrull. Nick Fury discovers this and sets off the events of "Secret Invasion."

Interestingly enough, "Secret Invasion" is the title of the Nick Fury-led Disney+ series that is set to release in the near future, but we don't foresee Valentina's introduction having to do with that upcoming show. Still, crazier things have happened in the MCU.

The blank card that Valentina gives Walker, though, is very intriguing. If she's recruiting Walker for something non-SHIELD related, there have been teams in the past of reformed villains, like the Thunderbolts. Could this be Valentina's play? We'll just have to wait and see.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is available to stream now on Disney+.

What did you think of the surprise cameo? What role do you see Valentina holding in the MCU moving forward? Let us know in the comments section.