We did not see this one coming.

Warning: Spoilers from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier season 1, episode 5 are discussed in this article.

Call her Val. But don't call her Val. Just keep that in your head.

Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus has joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as comic book character Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, and she finally made her debut in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's penultimate episode.

Malcolm Spellman, the show's head writer, had teased episode 5 was the big one in an interview with ComicBook.com, and he separately teased a big cameo with Rotten Tomatoes. Of all the guesses, we did not see this coming.

Valentina, or Val, arrives after John Walker (Wyatt Russell) is stripped of his rank as Captain America for killing a member of the Flag-Smashers in public in the previous episode. She tells him that taking the super-soldier serum was the second best choice he's made in his entire life because he's now become valuable to "certain people." The best choice? Picking up the phone when she calls him in the future. She then leaves him a black and white business card that appears to be blank and jets.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier- Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Wyatt Russell on 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'
| Credit: Marvel Studios

So, who is Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine? Well, first of all, you don't cast the multi-Emmy-winner comedienne of shows like Seinfeld and movies like Enough Said for just a one-and-done role.

Valentina is a triple agent and mega spy in Marvel comics. She was a Russian sleeper agent for a terrorist organization called Leviathan, and she went by Madame Hydra. Arriving on the scene in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, almost like the anti-Nick Fury with a purple streak in her hair, could mean bigger things to come for this character in the context of the MCU.

For one, she could be serving the role of the mysterious Power Broker in the show. For another, there have been conjectures that the Thunderbolts, a team of reformed super criminals originally formed by (coincidentally) Helmut Zemo in the comics, might be in the works. Val giving her card to John, could mean she's bringing together a group of remarkable people... etc. etc.

Spellman previously told EW that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier would be setting up multiple Marvel projects, saying, "I can think of three that I'm not allowed to talk about." It feels like a safe bet that this isn't the last we've seen of Val.

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