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Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) made her first on-screen appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe during The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. She then showed up again in the post0credits scene of Black Widow

And given what she told Yelena (Florence Pugh) about Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) being responsible for Natasha’s (Scarlett Johansson) death, there’s a decent chance she’ll pop up in Hawkeye, as well. But who is this character, and what is her background in the comics?

Marvel’s Contessa Valentina comes from a family of villains

Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the premiere of ‘Onward’ | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In the comics, Contessa Valentina comes from a family with a history of being antagonists, as Marvel explains. Her parents worked for Leviathan, a secret network of terrorists based in Russia. 

The organization gives them secret identities during the Cold War, including the de Fontaine name. They relocate to Italy, where they pose as members of a resistance effort fighting against the USSR.

When her parents are killed, Leviathan offers Contessa Valentina a spot of her own in the organization. She accepts the position, posing as a European jet-setter. Dum-Dum Dugan then offers her a role in the newly formed SHIELD. She takes it, creating a new cover story.

She’s a talented super spy

Marvel’s Contessa Valentina is trained as a super spy. As such, she has some impressive abilities, despite not having superpowers.

She’s excellent at hand-to-hand combat and a  trained marksman. She’s familiar with a wide range of weaponry, including that used by Hydra SHIELD, and Leviathan. She frequently wears bulletproof fabrics and carries a weapon much of the time.

She also has a mind for espionage. She’s a strategist who knows how to put together a quality evil plan.

She has her share of relationship drama


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During her days working for SHIELD (or at least appearing to), Contessa Valentina becomes romantically involved with Nick Fury, after his relationship with Laura Brown. But he still has a professional relationship with Brown, and that makes Convessa Valentian jealous.

So she starts flirting with Steve Rogers. That, of course, doesn’t go over well with Sharon Carter, who’s dating Steve at the time. Steve and Fury end up fighting over her, and she declares her love for the latter.

Contessa Valentina has shifting loyalties

Contessa Valentina’s loyalties tend to be pretty opaque. She sincerely cares for Fury and goes to great lengths to support him. And there are times when she seems to be quite committed to Hydra.

Nonetheless, her fundamental loyalty is to Leviathan. The organization’s leader, Vasili Dassaiev, aka Magadan, works to regain the ability to create super soldiers. His goal is to revive his brother Viktor Uvarov, aka Orion. Once Viktor is revived, he assumes command with opposing both SHIELD and Hydra.

So she has shifting loyalties over the course of her career. But ultimately, it’s discovered that she is a Russian sleeper agent and she is imprisoned. But her secret doesn’t deter Fury, who still feels a connection with her. He puts in place a plan to break her out.