The Classic Marvel Character Influencing Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ MCU Role In The Run-Up To Thunderbolts

Ever since Seinfeld and Veep icon Julia Louis-Dreyfus surfaced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making her first appearance in the closing moments of the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, fans knew she was being set up to hold a significant role in future projects. You don’t hire someone of her caliber for a cameo, however, even Louis-Dreyfus admits to being surprised by the offer to join what has been a constantly evolving on-screen universe. Her mysterious character, Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, recruited John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in that scene, then appeared with Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) as Black Widow drew to a close. Marvel is following a playbook with Valentina, and producer Nate Moore shares with us part of their strategy with regards to this character and a classic character who came before her.

Nate Moore sat down with CinemaBlend to discuss Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine was brought up because she surfaces in this sequel, as well. In it, we learn that the character once was married to Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman), and still maintains a close relationship with the federal agent. Add it to the growing list of things we know about her. And when describing Marvel’s approach to De Fontaine in the MCU, Moore compared her to another powerful string-puller… Nick Fury. He said:

It is not dissimilar to how we dealt with Nick Fury initially, in just sort of seeing her pop up in a couple of different places, hopefully that are interesting. And starting to get a sense of her nature as a character. And starting to ask the very real question, ‘Is she a good guy?’ But to also give some context for her, we thought was interesting. And her relationship with Everett Ross in this movie was both fun to think about and craft, and I think shows you, by the end of the film, a different color to that character that hopefully makes people lean in a bit. And certainly makes Julia excited, which I like.

As is mentioned in the full interview clip at the top of this story, Valentina’s presence is building to the upcoming Marvel movie Thunderbolts, which as of right now is closing out Phase 5. She’s featured in the team concept art that Marvel Studios shared. She’s expected to lead this band of antiheroes (full-blown criminals?) when that movie arrives on July 26, 2024. 

Thunderbolts

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The interpretation of the Thunderbolts will be different from the comics, where Norman Osborn led a team of pure villains masquerading as the Avengers following a conflict that left the real heroes in bad standings. Something devastating could happen in a Marvel Phase 5 that arrives before Thunderbolts, hastening the need for Val to recruit Yelena, Taskmaster, Ghost, Bucky Barnes and more. While we wait to find out, brush up even more on the Thunderbolts’ history, because we feel like it’s going to be important.

As we know about Nick Fury, that man is everywhere… and he keeps on ticking. He’ll be an integral part of the Disney+ (opens in new tab) series Secret Invasion (according to this badass trailer) and may end up being a thorn in Valentina’s side. Sam Jackson versus Julia Louis-Dreyfus? Sign us up.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.