Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5: Madame Hydra explained

Spoilers for Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5 comply with.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5 has arrived on Disney Plus, and with it comes a giant cameo look that was teased earlier than the sequence was launched.

Marvel government producer Nate Moore had already played down the possibility of a Black Panther cameo from the late Chadwick Boseman – a rumor born out of Wakanda’s presence in the series. As it turns out, though, the episode’s big reveal was a character that we really didn’t expect to see.

The cameo came during a scene with John Walker (Wyatt Russell) rather than Sam (Anthony Mackie) and/or Bucky (Sebastien Stan), which may indicate where this character’s moral compass sits and what role they have in the MCU moving forward. Not only that, but it seems that this individual was supposed to appear in an earlier Marvel movie, so we may have found out who they were before Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Disney Plus arrival.

We’re about to dive into huge spoiler territory for Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5. If you aren’t caught up on the latest entry in the TV show, this is your final warning to turn back.

Madame Hydra’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier appearance explained

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Madame Hydra MCU

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

If you’ve watched episode 5, you’ll know that its huge character reveal is an individual called Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. It’s certainly a mouthful, which is why she’s also known by another name in the comics – Madame Hydra.

The scene takes place after John Walker has been stripped of his Captain America title and discharged from the US Armed Forces. After he angrily storms out of the hearing, he’s consoled by his wife Olivia (Gabrielle Byndloss) outside the court room – until a mysterious figure shows up and interrupts the duo’s conversation.

The camera pans up, and it’s revealed to be none other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The award-winning actress, who has starred in the likes of Seinfeld and Veep, introduces herself as de Fontaine before sitting down between the two and making ‘friendly’ conversation. She reinforces Walker’s belief that he was right to kill Karli Morgenthau’s henchman in episode 4 and in taking the super soldier serum, with the latter making him a ‘very valuable’ asset.

De Fontaine tells Walker that he should always answer his phone whenever she calls him and hands him her card. Finally, she drops one last bombshell before she leaves – Captain America’s shield doesn’t belong to the government, despite what they have told him, Sam and the press in earlier episodes.

Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine’s comic history explained

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Madame Hydra

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Who exactly, then, is de Fontaine? The character’s Marvel comic history holds most of the answers.

De Fontaine is a spy who has worked for Hydra and SHIELD. She made her comic book debut in Strange Tales #158 in August 1967, but it wasn’t until a year later that she rose to prominence in Marvel’s comics.

An Italian citizen, de Fontaine is contacted by SHIELD and trained as one of their agents following the death of her parents. She featured regularly throughout creator Jim Steranko’s comics starring Nick Fury – after the pair cross paths in Strange Tales #168, the duo become lovers and de Fontaine even becomes a leading member of SHIELD. This position that eventually sees her create the organization’s Femme Force group.

As time goes on, it turns out that de Fontaine isn’t who she initially appeared to be. During Marvel’s Secret Warrior comic series, it’s revealed that Hydra had always controlled SHIELD from the start. We’ve already seen this play out in MCU movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but de Fontaine has a big role in how this occurs in the comics.

De Fontaine is thought to be a Russian sleeper agent recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D and installed as Hydra’s new leader, which is where she gets the moniker Madame Hydra from. However, de Fontaine is also double-crossing Hydra from the inside. It’s revealed that she is a Russian mole who works for the Soviet espionage group called Leviathan. This confirmation eventually leads to a battle between Hydra and Leviathan, and eventually sees de Fontaine imprisoned by Interpol for playing three different national spy agencies off against each other.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Madame Hydra could play a huge role in the MCU moving forward

Falcon and the Winter Soldier

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame follow.

How can Madame Hydra have an impact on the MCU? For starters, it looks like she’s trying to recruit Walker to her cause. As we covered in our new Captain America explainer article following Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s premiere, Walker becomes US Agent after he gives the Cap mantle back to Steve Rogers in the comics.

If Madame Hydra wants Walker to carry out less-than-savoury missions that even the US government don’t know about, we could see Walker adopt the US Agent title in the MCU, too. This would allow the character to exist post-Falcon and the Winter Soldier, maybe get his own Disney Plus series or appear in other MCU properties in the future either as a villain or anti-hero. This is alluded to in episode 5’s mid-credits scene, which shows Walker making his own shield.

Next, Madame Hydra’s Russian sleeper agent backstory could be used to great effect with one particular ex-Avenger – Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff.

According to a Vanity Fair article printed after episode 5 aired, sources have claimed that Madame Hydra was slated to first seem within the upcoming Black Widow film. In fact, this MCU flick was alleged to be launched in Could 2020, which implies it ought to have presupposed Falcon and the Winter Soldier. As a result of Covid-19 pandemic, although, it’ll now arrive on July 9, 2021, three months after Falcon and the Winter Soldier ends.

If Madame Hydra has a task in Black Widow, it is believable that she had some half in Natasha Romanoff’s coaching, or that of the opposite Black Widows which have been recruited up to now and current. Because the Black Widow trailer exhibits, there is a new batch of spies being put by their paces by an unknown character. Is that this particular person Madame Hydra? And is she the one who creates the film’s villain in Taskmaster? It isn’t out of the realms of risk.

One other large tie that Madame Hydra has to Falcon and the Winter Soldier is Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp). As we talked about above, de Fontaine was the individual behind the creation of Femme Power within the comics. Who was the group’s first chief? Yep, none apart from Carter. 

Carter is not who she appears to be in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with common telephone calls to sinister people since her reintroduction in episode three. Is she a pawn of Madame Hydra’s within the MCU? If that’s the case, we might even see Femme Power make an MCU look down the road. It could possibly be a gaggle that Marvel introduces in a possible Falcon and the Winter Soldier season 2, and even as a part of Walker’s attainable vigilante group that Madame Hydra appears to be assembling.

John Walker Falcon Winter Soldier

(Picture credit score: Marvel Studios)

Alternatively, Madame Hydra could possibly be the TV present’s mysterious Energy Dealer. There are different Marvel comedian characters who’ve assumed the Madame Hydra mantle and, curiously, a kind of iterations did function out of Madripoor. Provided that we visited the prison metropolis alongside Sam, Bucky and Helmut Zemo in episode three, Marvel Studios could have retconned its Madripoor Madame Hydra – who is named Ophelia Sarkissian within the comics – and put in Louis-Dreyfus’ iteration because the one and solely Madame Hydra. This might stop any confusion with quite a few Madame Hydras within the MCU’s future.

Lastly, we have now de Fontaine’s relationship with Nick Fury. Whereas the duo clearly have not crossed paths within the MCU but, they might do in Marvel’s upcoming Secret Invasion Disney Plus sequence.

Once more, the comics are our information as to how this might occur. Within the Secret Invasion comedian run, a Skrull agent poses as de Fontaine to spy on Fury. Ultimately, Fury works out that the Skrull is masquerading as de Fontaine and kills it, thus revealing the Skrull invasion of Earth.

We would not anticipate Samuel L. Jackson’s Fury and Louis-Dreyfus’ Madame Hydra to satisfy in that Disney Plus manufacturing, nevertheless it could possibly be one thing work exploring in Secret Invasion. We may even get some flashbacks of a de-aged Jackson and Louis-Dreyfus, which could present that Fury and de Fontaine have an identical relationship within the MCU to that of their comedian e-book counterparts. It could tie extra MCU plot threads collectively and proceed to point out how interconnected it’s.

Nevertheless Marvel Studios approaches Madame Hydra, there are many methods to carry her into future motion pictures and TV exhibits. It will be intriguing to see which path Marvel takes her character given her comedian historical past, however one factor’s for certain: she’s not going anyplace for some time, but.