The Falcon and The Winter Soldier finally revealed who the surprise cameo is and with only four words, she's altering the course of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever with her debut as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine who reveals herself in aid of John Walker in Episode 5. But first, who is she and how will her arrival in the MCU affect the rest of Phase Four?
The canon series definitely has a lot of characters, old and new, which brings the story to a whole new level giving us a shocking twist of events. With recurring characters of the titular roles, Sharon Carter, Baron Zemo, Batroc the Leaper, and the Dora Milaje, a new set of characters arrive with the government's new Captain America John Walker, Lemar Hoskins, Joaquin Torres, Isaiah Bradley, and more.
A new name arrives with the MCU newcomers as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, also known as Madame Hydra, makes her MCU debut in Episode 5 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the surprise character teased by showrunner Malcolm Spellman. Who is she? What will her appearance mean to the rest of the MCU?
Warning! This portion may contain spoilers for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Read at your own risk!
In Episode 5 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Truth, when Walker was stripped off of the title of Captain America by the Senator who granted the same to him, he walked out of the room and sat beside his wife when a woman approached them declaring her boots aren't for walking. She had a conversation with Walker and said what he did was right.
She introduced herself as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, even correcting herself as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, then proceeding to say she can be called just "Val" but "not too loud, though, only in your head." She said that the shield doesn't belong to the government per se and that it belongs to a legal gray area. She told Walker to answer his phone when she calls and says the four magical words, "I'll be in touch."
Who is Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine?
A countess herself, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Val for short, is known to be a triple agent in Marvel comics being part of three organizations that conflict with one another: Leviathan, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Hydra. She grew up learning everything about being a spy as her parents have served the Leviathan in her formative years.
The Leviathan is a secret terrorist group based in Russia and in the Cold War, her family has been given the identity of de Fontaine. When her parents died, she was taken into custody by the Leviathan. She became a great asset and she took a different persona which caught the attention of Dum Dum Dugan, one of the members of Captain America's Howling Commandos, and an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. when it was newly formed.
Val was recruited by Dugan and on behalf of Leviathan having an eye on S.H.I.E.L.D., she learned the ways of S.H.I.E.L.D. through the academy. When Nick Fury saw her, he was amazed at her and had a fling with her. Thereon, she established her own cover story to the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. by telling Fury that her parents' death shouldn't be in vain.
She also infiltrated HYDRA within S.H.I.E.L.D. During the aftermath of the Skrull Invasion, when S.H.I.E.L.D. disbanded, Val took on the moniker of Madame Hydra. Despite being a triple agent, her loyalty lies on one organization alone, her roots, Leviathan.
Who is Madame Hydra?
Originally, Val isn't the first bearer of the moniker of Madame Hydra. It is a woman called by the name Viper, an orphan who was struck by a tragedy who survived by being a criminal. She made a pact with Chthon, an evil entity, slowing her aging. She found herself in Madripoor where she trained with Seraph against the Hand and even helped Wolverine from Sabretooth.
Viper became a member of Hydra and quickly made her way up to the ranks. Upon the belief that the Supreme Hydra, Baron von Strucker, Viper donned the name Madame Hydra becoming the leader of the evil organization. At one point, she even became the princess of Madripoor.
This is not the first time Madame Hydra appeared on the screen. It could be remembered in ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that when Aida created the framework, she lorded the halls as Madame Hydra or Viper. In said framework, she headed the Agents of Hydra were in the framework, she became the ruler of her own world.
What does Val's Madame Hydra mean for the MCU?
Whether Val would take on either comic origin or becoming a mix of both with the introduction of Madripoor in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, this time would surely not be the last we'll be seeing her. Played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, it was revealed that the series isn't her supposed MCU debut.
According to Vanity Fair, Val was "slated to first appear in the Black Widow film." Given her comic book origin of being a Russian spy, it would not be a surprise if she would appear in Black Widow as well. Whether she will be appearing in the film, we'll definitely get to see more of her in the future as she seems to be the new Nick Fury or Baron von Strucker of Phase Four.
Her character opens up the door that Hydra or even S.H.I.E.L.D. still subsists and would return for more in this phase of the MCU. Given that the Secret Invasion is slated as a series, her character signals that big bad things are coming for Marvel. In the comics, it was Val who Fury discovers first to be a Skrull. Could she be in the Secret Invasion as well?
In the Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Val has the potential to be the Power Broker. With the comic book origin of Madame Hydra hailing from Madripoor and even becoming a princess there, Val may be the Power Broker all along. However, some theories say that it is Sharon Carter. Do you think Val is the Power Broker?
It seems that she'll still appear in the finale episode and we sure would be waiting for her call just as Walker would, presumably, now that he knows someone supports his decision and somehow planted it into his head that he could make a shield of his own and be his very own Captain America despite being stripped off the title.
Let's see how Val would bring the storm into the MCU.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier returns for the season finale on Friday, at 3 AM, via Disney+.