WARNING: In this version of Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, there could be spoilers ahead for Black Widow! Proceed with caution.
We’ve all been waiting for a Black Widow movie ever since Scarlet Johansson made her screen debut as super spy Natasha Romanoff. I will not go into the details of Black Widow because that is not the purpose of this article.
Instead, I want to take a look at the dark character who appears in the post-credits: Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Aside from having what is perhaps the most fabulous name I’ve come across so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), those of us unfamiliar with comics wonder without no doubt who she is and what her entry means for the storyline.
La Contessa in Post-Credits and in the MCU
In the post-credits, Natasha’s adopted sister Yelena Belova, who was also trained in the Red Room, visits Natasha’s grave. She is joined by the Countess, from whom we learn that she is Belova’s master. The Countess entrusts Belova with her next mission: to kill Clint Barton.
What is interesting is that the Countess said to Belova: “Maybe you would like to shoot the man responsible for your sister’s death.” How did the Countess know that Natasha had sacrificed herself so that Clint could get the Soul Stone? Is Red Skull involved?
There are a few other things we can take from this scene, especially about Belova who we now know works for the Contessa. When it comes to the MCU as a whole, we know that the Contessa and Belova will more than likely be antagonists for the Avengers in the future.
In Contessa’s first MCU appearance on the penultimate episode of the Disney Plus series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, she appears to form her own team (possibly anti-heroes) which includes former Captain America John Walker. We could also assume that she would mirror Nick Fury if she actually formed her own Avengers team. I’m sure we’ll also see Belova and la Contessa on Hawk Eye when it premiered on Disney Plus.
What is the origin story of the Contessa?
While the MCU hasn’t given us too much to do, we have a wealth of information on the comics. The Contessa was created by Jim Steranko, the legendary writer and artist Nick Fury / SHIELD. His first appearance was in the feature film Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD in the 1967s Strange tales # 159 like a European jet-set socialite.
But of course it’s Marvel and there’s a tragic story behind the stitching. La Contessa and her family are from Russia. His parents worked for a secret terrorist organization named Leviathan but were posted to Italy (hence the Italian name) during the Cold War. Their aim was to suppress a local resistance effort against the USSR. However, her parents are killed by (presumably) Russian agents, after which Leviathan recruits her. This is important because we know that the basis of the Countess’s motivation is a desire not to let the death of her parents be in vain.
From the comics, we know the Contessa is a triple agent who works underground for Leviathan and has infiltrated both SHIELD and Hydra. An interesting detail is that she learned that her father worked for SHIELD as an agent.
As an agent of SHIELD, she teamed up with Nick Fury, with whom she has a romantic rollercoaster relationship. The two would remain lovers again and again over the years, and the Countess would even become one of her most trusted agents. It will be interesting to see their relationship unfold in the MCU. That said, we don’t know of his involvement with SHIELD or Nick Fury in the MCU, but oh can we speculate.
What are his skills?
Part of the fun with MCU is watching the heroes and villains in action. The Contessa certainly won’t disappoint – in the comics, she’s a master martial artist and an excellent sniper, strategist, and weapons specialist. In other words, she’s a super spy.
What will his role be in the MCU?
This is just speculation.
We know she has ties to Hydra and in the comics was known as Madame Hydra, a Russian double agent. Hydra was one of the main opponents of the Avengers, of course, so the question remains whether the Contessa played a role in the organization behind the scenes or still is. Hydra was apparently defeated in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but he appeared in The ant Man and was a key opponent in the ABC Agents of SHIELD. We have to ask ourselves if the reappearance of the Contessa could mean a return of Hydra or something even more sinister.
With the MCU, the possibilities are truly limitless. Black Widow has sown the seeds for the next phase of the MCU, and the Contessa’s appearance could indicate that she’s going to be a key figure moving forward.
Whether or not it is “good” or “bad” remains to be decided. But to say the obvious: if she’s part of a hit against Clint Barton, she’s probably “bad” (at least for now). I think we’ll definitely see her causing our heroes a lot of grief.
Oh, and given that Julia Louis-Dreyfus, aka Selena Meyer, is the Contessa, I would expect a lot of irreverent gallows humor.