Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Black Widow and TFATWS.
At the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we’re introduced to a brand new Marvel Cinematic Universe mega-villain who’s nothing like Thanos. While giant spacemen are terrifying, there may be nothing more intimidating than a strong, ill-intentioned woman in a power suit, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Sure, she’s quirky and hilarious, but she also knows what she wants and how to get it.
We first meet Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (yes, her name is ridiculous yet fitting with her over-the-top disposition) in TFATWS. However, we were first supposed to meet her in the Black Widow post-credits scene. Due to some COVID-19 complications, Marvel’s release dates got mixed around. So now that we know who Valentina is, why does she want Hawkeye dead?
Valentina clearly wants Hawkeye dead according to the ‘Black Widow’ post-credits scene.
In what was supposed to be her first MCU appearance, Valentina approaches Yelena, Natasha Romanoff’s sister, at Natasha’s grave. It seems as if the two of them are already working together, but now, Val is ready to put her plan into motion.
She posits to Yelena, “Maybe you'd like a shot at the man responsible for your sister's death,” and shows Yelena a photo of Hawkeye. “Kind of a cutie, don't you think?” our charming new villain adds.
This scene led many fans to believe that Yelena will be a major part of Disney Plus’s new Hawkeye series, and they’re not wrong. Florence Pugh, who plays Yelena, is slated to be in most, if not all, of the show.
Does that mean Valentina will be in Hawkeye as well? It’s possible. But from what we can tell, Val’s part in the MCU is going to be much larger than a few bit roles in a handful of different properties.
Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is based on a character from the Marvel comics.
In the comic books, Valentina is a complicated character, to say the least. She’s recruited to be part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and works alongside Nick Fury (who is also supposed to get his own Disney Plus series in the current MCU phase).
Not only does Valentina rise up in the S.H.I.E.L.D. ranks, but she and Nick Fury are lovers. Throughout the comics, they spar over jealousies and affairs until S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally disbanded and Valentina is relocated to the U.K.
However, while working for S.H.I.E.L.D., Valentina decides to infiltrate Hydra. In this time, she even takes on the persona of Madame Hydra, manipulating Hydra and ultimately betraying them to a different villain, Leviathan.
As it turns out, even through her successful tenure at S.H.I.E.L.D., Valentina has been working for Leviathan the whole time… or has she? It’s possible that the MCU will give us some more insights into who Valentina really works for, if not just herself.
Some people think Valentina wants Hawkeye dead so she can create a team of “Dark Avengers.”
In the Marvel comics, there is a group of anti-heroes called the Dark Avengers, which was originally conceived by Norman Osborn. On the flipside, there was another group of reformed vigilantes called the Thunderbolts, with whom the Dark Avengers are often confused.
Both groups consist of somewhat heroic members with a villainous streak, although the Dark Avengers actually have a reason to go after Hawkeye.
In the Marvel comics, it’s Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, who accuses Norman of being a madman, a murderer, and a manipulator. So it’s possible that we could meet Norman in the MCU as a partner to Valentina, who would want Hawkeye dead for obvious reasons.
At the same time, Valentina mentions in TFATWS that Zemo gets the last laugh; did she plan it or did she not? Regardless, Zemo is the man behind the "Thunderbolts," so we could be looking at some sort of MCU hybrid of the two teams.
At the same time, Valentina could be recruiting her own Dark Avengers. Although the characters are different in the comics, the sentiment is roughly the same. She brings in John Walker at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as an anti-Captain America and calls him U.S. Agent. She knows how to give him exactly what he wants: pride, glory, and a sense of purpose.
Now, in the Black Widow post-credits scene, it seems she’s bringing in Yelena too, and giving her a very convincing motive: to avenge her sister’s death.
While Yelena doesn’t have the full truth, Valentina can be very convincing, so if she succeeds in pulling together her Dark Avengers, we may get something even more exciting than Avengers: Endgame. Valentina’s recruitment style of popping into post-credits scenes to do her bidding feels similar to Nick Fury’s.
It's possible that Valentina might want Hawkeye dead so she can begin replacing the actual Avengers with her own Dark counterparts.
The MCU has also been gearing us up for what feels like a team of Young Avengers, having introduced us to its members in all three series on Disney Plus so far. Plus, Marvel has also confirmed that a new live-action Big Hero Six will be part of canon. So could this be the beginning of the Dark Avengers versus the Young Avengers? Evil versus the Future?