HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 18: Julia Louis-Dreyfus attends the Premiere Of Disney And Pixar's "Onward" on February 18, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

This week’s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier rumor mill promised a secret cameo of a huge Marvel Comics character who has yet to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The rumors also stated that this character would be played by an award-winning actor or actress. The actress turned out to be Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, Christine Campbell on The New Adventures of Old Christine), and who she’s playing is a huge revelation!

Enter Madame Hydra

During this episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, we see John Walker suffer some consequences for his action last week. Wearing the colors of Captain America and wielding that legendary shield, he brutally murdered a foreign national in front of a crowd of onlookers including Sam and Bucky.

As a result, John Walker is stripped of the Captain America title and discharged from the United States Military. In the next scene, sitting with his wife a new character approaches them.

She introduces herself as Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine and long-time fans of the comic universe will recognize that name. Val, as she calls herself, has also carried the moniker of Madame Hydra.

Who is Madame Hydra?

The Madame Hydra name has been worn by a few different characters, but in the case of Valentina, she was born into a family of spies and eventually found herself recruited by SHIELD.

She quickly rose in the ranks and became a powerful and prominent member of the organization and at one point, even entered into a relationship with Nick Fury, director of SHIELD This even led to an awkward love triangle between the two and Captain America when Val made some flirtatious comments toward the Star-Spangled Man.

At one point, Valentina was the leader of SHIELD’s Femme Force, an elite squad of female operatives that also included Sharon Carter. Sharon’s relationship with Val was also rough due to the flirting Val did with Steve Rogers, who was in a relationship with Sharon.

Val and Sharon Carter in Captain America Vol. 5 #26 (2007) by Marvel Comics.
Val and Sharon Carter in Captain America Vol 5 #26 (2007) by Marvel Comics.

Eventually, she secretly joins Hydra following the events of Civil War, taking on the Madame Hydra name. But even this move was in service to a larger goal. She manipulated Hydra into stealing an Artifact from Silver Samurai for the shadowy organization known as Leviathan.

Leviathan is a Russian organization with eyes on world domination. Using the Artifact, Madame Hydra awakened the leader of Leviathan, Orion, and his army. Leviathan and Hydra went to war with one another and when SHIELD put an end to it, Val surrendered to Interpol and currently remains in prison.

How Does Madame Hydra Fit Into The MCU?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character isn’t likely to make another appearance in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. She gave a card to John Walker and told him that the most important decision he will ever make is to pick up the phone when she calls. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier cameo is setting her up for something further down the road in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but what could that be?

The two major players in Madame Hydra’s comic book origins are already out of play in the MCU. SHIELD was disbanded and put out of commission after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They operated on TV in a smaller capacity through Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. It’s possible we get another incarnation of that through Disney Plus or some new iteration of SHIELD in the MCU soon.

On the other side, as far as we’re aware Hydra has been off the map since Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well, the same event that damned SHIELD also saw the defeat of Hydra. Of course, as we all know, when you cut off one head two more grow in its place, no one should be surprised if Hydra pops up in some capacity again in the future.

Photo by Julie Vrabelova Marvel Studios 2021
Photo by Julie Vrabelova Marvel Studios 2021

What’s most likely is that Val is currently part of the Russian shadow organization known as Leviathan. Since John Walker took the super-soldier serum, he fits into her plans in some way, but at the moment there’s no way to know what that is.

The one thing we can take away from her interaction with John Walker is The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will not be the last we see of his character or Julia Louis-Dreyfus’. Don’t expect to see her in the final episode of the show, or have anything to do with the Flag-Smashers. I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility that she may in some way be related to the Power Broker.

Marvel’s The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is directed by Kari Skogland. New episodes premiere every Friday on Disney Plus. It stars Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Wyatt Russel and Erin Kellyman.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images