WARNING: There could be some spoilers for Black Widow in this version of Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine! Proceed with caution.
We’ve all been expecting a Black Widow movie since Scarlet Johansson first hit the big screen as super spy Natasha Romanoff. I will not go into the details of Black Widow as that is not the purpose of this article.
Instead, I’d like to take a look at the shadowy figure that appears in the credits: Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Aside from having probably the most fabulous name I’ve come across in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), those of us unfamiliar with the comics are no doubt wondering who she is and what her entry for the plot is means .
The Contessa in the Post-Credits and in the MCU
In the credits, Natasha’s adoptive sister Yelena Belova, who was also trained in the Red Room, visits Natasha’s grave. She is joined by the Contessa, from whom we learn that she is Belova’s carer. The Contessa assigns Belova her next mission: to kill Clint Barton.
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It is interesting that the Contessa says to Belova: “You might want to shoot the man responsible for your sister’s death.” How did the Contessa know that Natasha sacrificed herself so that Clint could get the soul stone? Is Red Skull involved?
There are a few other things that we can glean from this scene, especially about Belova, who we now know works for the Contessa. Regarding the MCU in general, we know that the Contessa and Belova will most likely be antagonists for the Avengers moving forward.
When the Contessa first appeared in the MCU in the penultimate episode of the Disney Plus series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, she appears to be forming her own team (perhaps made up of anti-heroes), which includes former Captain America John Walker. We could also speculate that if she actually put together her own Avengers team, she would be Nick Fury’s mirror. I’m sure we’ll see both Belova and the Contessa on Hawkeye when it premieres on Disney Plus.
What is the origin story of the Contessa?
While the MCU didn’t give us too much, we have a wealth of information from the comics. The Contessa was designed by Jim Steranko, legendary Nick Fury / SHIELD writer and artist. Her first appearance was in the 1967 film Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD in Strange Tales # 159 as a jet setting, European celebrity.
But of course this is Marvel and there is a tragic backstory behind the couture. The Contessa and her family are originally from Russia. Her parents worked for a secret terrorist organization called Leviathan, but were stationed in Italy (hence the Italian name) during the Cold War. Its purpose was to suppress local resistance against the USSR. However, their parents are killed by (presumably) Russian agents, whereupon Leviathan recruits them. This is important because we know that the basis of the Contessa’s striving is the desire not to let the death of their parents be in vain.
We know from the comics that the Contessa is a three-time agent who secretly works for Leviathan and infiltrated both SHIELD and Hydra. An interesting tidbit is that she learned that her father used to work as an agent for SHIELD.
As an agent for SHIELD, she was hooked up with Nick Fury, with whom she has a romantic roller coaster relationship. The two would remain lovers again and again over the years, and the Contessa would even become one of his most trusted agents. It will be interesting to see how their relationship plays out in the MCU. However, we don’t know about their involvement with SHIELD or Nick Fury in the MCU, but we can speculate.
What are their 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 of martial arts and an excellent marksman, strategist, and weapons specialist. In other words, she’s a great spy.
What will your role be in the MCU?
This is all speculation.
We know she has connections with Hydra and was known in the comics as Madame Hydra, a Russian double agent. Hydra was, of course, one of the main opponents of the Avengers, so the question remains whether the Contessa played a role behind the scenes in the organization or still is. Hydra was apparently defeated in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but she showed up in Ant-Man and was a key adversary in ABC’s Agents of SHIELD.We have to wonder if the Contessa reappearance could mean a return of Hydra or something even more sinister.
With the MCU, the possibilities are really limitless. Black Widow has sown the seeds for MCU’s next phase, and the Contessa’s appearance could suggest she will be a key figure in the future.
Whether it is “good” or “bad” has yet 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 will surely see her cause a lot of grief for our heroes.
Oh, and considering Julia Louis-Dreyfus, aka Selena Meyer, is the Contessa, I expect a lot of disrespectful gallows humor.