Marvel producers tease big plans for Julia Louis-Dreyfus: 'She's game for it!'
"She certainly didn't come to us and say, 'I'll be in one show once.' She was like, 'I want to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.'"
Warning: This article contains spoilers about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
You don't cast Julia Louis-Dreyfus for a one-and-done role in your massive blockbuster franchise. And it looks like that won't be the case for Marvel.
After the Veep and Seinfeld star strutted into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as comic book character Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, Marvel Studios producers Nate Moore and Zoie Nagelhout are teasing larger plans for the actress in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When asked in an interview if the intention with Louis-Dreyfus' casting is to open up that character, Moore tells EW, "One hundred percent."
"She's so talented and you can do so much with her. And she's game for it," the executive producer says. "She certainly didn't come to us and say, 'I'll be in one show once.' She was like, 'I want to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.' And we said, 'Great! Let's get you in and let's figure out how to use you.' And the truth is, I think you will see her in the future. Definitely."
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland and head writer Malcolm Spellman knew the Contessa character would be featured in the show, but it wasn't until "after we came out of the writers' room and all the scripts were being shaped" that Marvel told them who they cast, Skogland recalls.
"I don't know how that secret got kept," she says with an air of incredulity. "Those things just come out, but somehow she was a nice surprise."
Val made her grand debut in the show's fifth episode, after John Walker (Wyatt Russell) was stripped of his title and rank as Captain America after killing one of the Flag-Smashers in a public display. She tells John that because he took the super-soldier serum, he has become valuable to certain people, and she urges him to pick up the phone when she calls.
In the finale episode, Val returned to give John a new uniform and declared him to be U.S. Agent, the character's comic book name. Moore previously described Val as "a more acerbic, funnier, but darker Nick Fury."
Vanity Fair reported earlier that the character of Val was going to be revealed first in Black Widow but was repurposed for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier when the pandemic forced Disney and Marvel to shuffle their phase 4 slate. Questioned about that report, Nagelhout says the casting "was actually a little bit late in the game for us."
"That character of Val, we were like, we've got to bring somebody into John Walker's world that challenges him, that maybe gives him a glimmer of hope but hope that is tainted because his character is all about a search for identity that is maybe a bit problematic," she says. "As soon as we figured out [Val's] the right character for that role, [Louis-Dreyfus] came quickly after."
"It's one of those things where you're like, 'She's never going to do it,'" Moore adds. "It is probably an open secret that most of us at Marvel are kind of obsessed with Seinfeld, probably more than Veep. Just the idea that she would be in a Marvel show… Is it really going to happen? And the fact that she was so game blew our minds."
Skogland worked with Louis-Dreyfus to "figure out the hair, the earrings, how to keep her grounded but have all the quirkiness that Julia was going to bring to it, and the nuances," the director says. "It's hard to see because her hair is so dark, but [the purple streak is] there. That was straight from the comics, of course. We had to include that."
Moore remembers being on set with the Emmy and Golden Globe winner on her day shooting those scenes and praises her energy. "She rifts exactly like you think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is going to riff," he says. "So much of that is what's in the show."
Following the show's finale, which revealed Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) to be the next Captain America, EW learned that Marvel is developing a fourth Captain America movie with Spellman and one of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier's staff writers, Dalan Musson. "We tend to not comment on rumors because it's all speculation," Moore says. Neither he nor Nagelhout will confirm a second season for the show, either. But no matter where Val will pop up next, it seems like she's here to stay.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier