“Black Panther: Wakanda forever” – Who’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus?

Val appears once more in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and as always, she’s an enigma. And if you’re thinking to yourself “What do you mean she showed up ‘again?’” — no one could blame you. She’s been pretty minor so far, but that clearly is about to change, so let’s refresh.

Val is a new character from Phase Four. She was played by “Veep”And “Seinfeld”Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a star and Emmys record-setter. She’s sassy and sarcastic, and boasts an incredible stripe of purple in her hair (something particularly fitting, given the general color scheme of “Black Panther”). However, it is still a little unclear how she fits into this puzzle.

Val is a Marvel Comics character. Her full name is Valentina Allega de Fontaine. (Actually, there’s even a “Contessa” at the front of that, but we’ll stick with Val from here on out). Jim Steranko was the one who created her. She started out as an Italian jetsetter and became an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury and her love interest. It’s convoluted like almost everything from the comics, but you can read more about it here.

And though you might not remember her, this is actually Val’s third appearance in the MCU.

In the Disney+ series, she first appeared twice. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” where she saves John Walker’s (Wyatt Russell) career after he was fired as the new Captain America for murdering someone in a super solider serum-induced rage.

She reveals to John that her definition of moral or ethical behavior is very loose. Later in the series, we learn she has recruited him for… something, which comes with a new uniform and his new super hero code name: U.S. Agent.

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Next, Val appeared in the post credit scene of “Black Widow,”When she interrupted a deeply grieving Yelena (“Florence Pugh”) at the grave her sister Natasha (“Scarlett Johansson”) via very, very sarcastic nostril blowing. There is some back and forth that Yelena does work for Val in some capacity and Val is there to offer Yelena another job. “A shot at the man responsible for your sister’s death.”

That turns out to be Natasha’s best friend Clint Barton, and the scene mainly sets up Yelena’s appearance in Marvel’s “Hawkeye” Disney+ series. (And yes, this is a huge mistake. You can find out why here.

These short appearances prove that Val, despite her anonymity, is an important player behind the scenes in MCU. “Wakanda Forever,” she’s even more powerful: The new director of the CIA — and also, apparently, Everett Ross’ (Martin Freeman) ex-wife? It all feels a bit shoe-horned in, honestly, but we’ll roll with it.

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In the film, she pretends not to be aware that Ross is in active communications with the Wakandans. Ross also gave Riri Williams to them to protect her against Namor (Tenoch Uerta). But in the end Val reveals that the whole time she had been snooping on every communication Ross had with the Wakandan royal family – and has him arrested for treason.

Turns out, what she’s really trying to do is secure U.S. control over the world’s supply of vibranium — and when Ross tries to talk her out of it with warnings about how terrible this would be, she admits menacingly that she actually “dreams”This is the reality.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is the end of Marvel’s Phase 4, and looking back Val has been one of the only throughlines connecting various Phase Four projects. But unlike Nick Fury in Phase 1 it’s, uh, becoming pretty evident that she isn’t exactly a good guy here. Now the question is: What’s her long game?

As announced last summer at San Diego Comic-Con, Val’s next confirmed appearance is in “Thunderbolts”In July 2024. Details of that story remain unclear, but in the comics the team is basically Marvel’s version of “Suicide Squad” — a team of antiheroes conscripted to do missions for the U.S. government. Since the movie version’s team roster includes Yelena (Pugh) and Walker (Russell), both of whom already work directly for Val, we can assume she’ll play a large role there.

Which means barring any other appearances in Marvel projects before then, we’ll have a while to wait before we know just how many strings she’s pulling or even what side she’s even on. We can only say that she is the main antagonist of Marvel’s current incarnation. Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) holds that slot.

But clearly, she’s someone we’re meant to be paying attention to.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”It is currently in theaters

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