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We Need To Talk About ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Biggest Surprise Cameo

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine in The Falcone and The Winter Soldier

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiered on November 11, 2022, and left audiences stunned with several of its surprises. The film was an emotional and heartrending tribute to Chadwick Boseman, as well as a hopeful continuation of the story of Wakanda. Additionally, it proved to hold some very well-kept secrets.

**Spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever lie ahead.**

The post-credits scene that introduced a secret character with ties to T’Challa (Boseman) and a cameo from a past Marvel Cinematic Universe villain were hard to top. However, Contessa Valentina Allegra De Fontaine “Val” (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) managed to do just that.

Val stepped into the film in an unexpected role that sent shockwaves through the MCU. Meanwhile, it isn’t the first time she has subtly slid into a Marvel production. She had previously been spotted in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Widow, where she was seemingly recruiting disgraced heroes for some shady business of hers. Val subsequently became one of the MCU’s biggest mysteries as viewers struggled to understand what her angle was and where she even came from.

Nothing was known about her appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before its premiere. Plus, while the other cameos and introductions were somewhat expected, Val certainly wasn’t. However, the cameo revealed some startling truths about her that made her MCU role a little clearer.

Why was Val in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?

Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross in Black Panther

Val’s appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was surprisingly tied to Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) in more ways than one. In the film, as tensions rise between Wakanda, Talokan, and the outside world, Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) seek out Ross for help, since he owes them for Shuri saving his life in Black Panther. Ross’s status within the CIA makes helping Wakanda very dangerous, as the CIA believes the country to be responsible for an attack on an American expedition. However, Ross decides to help them anyway, giving them sensitive information and communicating with Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) via Kimoyo Beads.

Things become particularly dangerous, though, when Val shows up at the site of the crime scene where Ross found the Kimoyo Beads. Val is revealed to be the Deputy Director of the CIA, which means Ross’s actions could land him in hot water with her. Of course, Marvel, not satisfied with that surprise, drops a double bombshell by revealing that Val is also Ross’s ex-wife. That makes things pretty awkward, especially when she asks him for a ride and shows up at his house unannounced.

Her intentions aren’t romantic, though. Instead, she’s following Ross about because she has intercepted his communications with Wakanda. Meanwhile, she seems particularly excited about the idea of there being vibranium outside of Wakanda. Her fishing for information ends when Queen Ramonda is killed. Having no more use for Ross, she has him arrested for treason and sneaks out of the film just as subtly as she came into it.

What does Val’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever cameo mean?

Thunderbolts Lineup D23

Val’s appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was particularly shocking because of how powerful the MCU just revealed she is. Before the film, we didn’t know who she was. She seemed to be part of some black ops or shady underground division as she flitted mysteriously about recruiting the likes of John Walker (Wyatt Russell) and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh). Now, though, she is revealed to have a position of immense authority and power in America. Not only that, but she is cunning enough to intercept highly-advanced communication technology from Wakanda.

Meanwhile, if we had any doubt about what her intentions are, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever shows that they are clearly not good. She openly admits that she dreams of the U.S. having sole access to vibranium and becoming the most powerful country in the world. She also seems interested in the idea of warring with Wakanda. Tensions between the U.S. and Wakanda are exceedingly high throughout the film. Now, with the Wakandans saving and harboring a fugitive, Ross, these tensions could spill over. Perhaps setting that in motion in order to stoke tensions was her goal in having Ross arrested all along.

What we know is that Val is cunning and sly, and she has just been revealed to be in a high position of power and authority. With her intentions to gain vibranium and have America crush the rest of the world, the only thing she is missing is a superhero team of her own to further her goals and do her dirty work. As head of the CIA, though, her task of creating a black ops team like the Thunderbolts shouldn’t be hard.

(featured image: Disney)

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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.