The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5 is finally out, and it’s easily one of the highlights of the season. It’s the penultimate episode in the series, setting the final pieces of the puzzle in place for the finale. But it’s also the episode we’ve wanted to watch most, considering that it’s been the most hyped Falcon installment. It’s all thanks to showrunner and head writer Malcolm Spellman, who teased in different interviews that there would be a mysterious Episode 5 character that would blow fans away, and that the episode would be emotional.
We had no idea whether this mysterious cameo would make us cry but Episode 5 finally cleared the air. The emotional scenes have nothing to do with Marvel’s surprise hero. The cameo occurs early in the episode, while the more intense and highly charged scenes come much later. But both of those elements will continue to be explored in the MCU going forward. A new report now indicates that the cameo actor will also appear in Black Widow, a film that was originally supposed to launch before Falcon. Mind you, several spoilers follow below so stop reading here or you’ll spoil some surprises.
As the pandemic hit, I explained that Marvel was in a precarious position when delaying its films and TV shows. The action in the MCU isn’t linear, with the first Phase 4 film being a prequel that takes place after the events in Civil War but before Infinity War. But I said at the time that Marvel would want to show some events in a particular sequence. Black Widow will deliver the standalone film the character never got in a decade of Marvel movies, but its post-credits scenes are expected to hook into other Marvel adventures, including films and TV series set after the events in Endgame.
Leaks said that the Black Widow post-credits scenes would introduce the Thunderbolts, the new superhero team that will join the Avengers in the MCU. What’s particularly interesting about this team-up is that it’ll include characters who aren’t your regular superheroes, but they’re not villains either. Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and John Walker (Wyatt Russell) are two potential members.
Thanks to that shocking cameo in Falcon, we might know the identity of the person assembling these Thunderbolts. It’s Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), the Marvel cameo that surprised the audience in Episode 5. She made quite an entrance similar to the way Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) appears in Marvel films just at the right time to recruit his team members. “Val” made it clear to Walker she knows everything about everything and that the best decision he ever made, alongside marrying his wife, was picking up the phone when she called. This, by the way, is an indication that Walker will appear again in future MCU productions.
A report in Vanity Fair tells us that Louis-Dreyfus was supposed to show up in Black Widow first. Marvel reportedly has “even bigger ambitions” for Louis-Dreyfus.
The story says that Louis-Dreyfus inadvertently teased her Marvel involvement back in 2019, without actually confirming anything:
When asked what Louis-Dreyfus should do next, [Veep costar Tony] Hale said: ‘Selina was so atrocious, but then you loved her at the same time. And I think that makes a really good
Disneyvillain.’ It was [Veep showrunner David] Mandel, specifically, who suggested she might play a Marvel villain. Louis-Dreyfus had no choice but to play along saying: ‘Swinging around on wires and kicking people in the face…shooting fire out of whatever you shoot fire out of. I would dig that.’
The Contessa isn’t exactly a superhero, but neither is Fury — the two have been romantically involved in the comics, and that’s one layer we’d want to be explored in the MCU. She’s a spy who has worked with SHIELD and used a Madame Hydra alias in the comics. Madame Hydra turned out to be a Russian sleeper agent, and that might explain the character’s connection to Black Widow.
Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) will be the new Black Widow in the MCU, and she could be recruited to Val’s team just like Walker. This is just speculation, but previous leaks did say that Black Widow post-credits will set up the Thunderbolts. Vanity Fair also points out that the Contessa was the leader of a Femme Force team that included Sharon Carter. We’ve long suspected that Emily VanCamp’s Carter could be the Power Broker in Falcon. But it sure looks like the Contessa fits those shoes a bit better.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale airs next Friday, bringing a resolution to this conflict, as well as more answers. Not to mention that it’ll probably deliver an important post-credits scene for the future of the MCU. We’ll just have to wait and see if the Contessa makes another appearance.