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Major MCU Phase 4 Character Returns in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

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Full spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever follow! In a way, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther sequel is one of the few projects in Phase 4 of the MCU that doesn’t have to connect to anything else around it. The sequel has a lot going on already, balancing its tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman while also pushing the story forward and adding Marvel favorites like Namor and Ironheart to the MCU. All that said, the sequel does happen to include a surprise appearance by a major Marvel character that has been critical to Phase 4, none other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.

First appearing in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and then appearing again in a post-credit scene for Black Widow, Marvel fans previously thought they might not see the Seinfeld star in the MCU again until 2024’s Thunderbolts movie. Her appearances in previous MCU projects was largely building toward assembling that team as she’s shares key scenes with Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova and Wyatt Russell’s U.S. Agent, both confirmed members of the Thunderbolts team. Val’s appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever doesn’t really tee up the Thunderbolts in any way but does reveal her relationship with another major character.

(Photo: Marvel Studios)

In the film, Martin Freeman’s Agent Everett K. Ross appears to help Okaye and Shuri in their search for Riri Williams, only for his sharing of information to go noticed by his new boss at the CIA, Val, who is now the director of the whole operation. To make matter even more interesting, Val reveals that she and Ross used to be married. Across the movie Julia Louis-Dreyfus only appears in a handful of scenes, maybe three in total. Considering her place in the movie it’s unclear if this will be leading up to the eventual Thunderbolts but what it does make clear is that Marvel Studios still has some surprises up their sleeve.

“There’s a lot of mystery in terms of her background, and whether she’s a good guy or a bad guy remains to be seen… she’s sort of living in a gray zone,” Louis-Dreyfus previously revealed in Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: The Art of the Series book. “And I like the idea of a female mastermind. I think it’s about time, by the way, not to get too political on anybody. But I’m all in favor of it. And I’m delighted to be able to do it myself.”

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