Actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays Val in Black Widow and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, confirms the shooting start for Thunderbolts.
Thunderbolts star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is sharing a summer window for the start of production on the Marvel Cinematic Universe series.
Louis-Dreyfus, who plays CIA director Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine in the MCU, spoke to Variety about preparing for the show’s upcoming summer shoot, confirming June for the start of production. Yet, the former Veep star also shared that she wants to see her shadowy character, Val, get physical, rather than spending screen time recruiting more anti-heroes to the dark MCU team. “I actually pitched it,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “I told them I really, really want to fight. We’ll see if that happens.” But concerning the intense Marvel stunt training, Louis-Dreyfus acknowledged the fact that she “better get in shape.”
The Emmy-winning actor, who became a household name in the ’90s playing Elene Benes for nine seasons on Seinfeld, shocked MCU fans when she made her debut as Val in Episode 5 of the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in 2021. Louis-Dreyfus’ role was such a heavily guarded secret that the production team had to cloak her to get her on set. Interestingly enough, the character’s MCU arrival appearance was originally designed to be her second since an uncredited cameo in the long-delayed, subsequently released feature film Black Widow was originally intended as her debut.
Her commitment beyond the Disney+ series was confirmed by Marvel Studios executive producer Nate Moore. “She’s so talented and you can do so much with her,” Moore said. “And she’s game for it. She certainly didn’t come to us and say, ‘I’ll be in one show once.’ She was like, ‘I want to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.’ And we said, ‘Great! Let’s get you in and let’s figure out how to use you.’ And the truth is, I think you will see her in the future. Definitely.”
Val’s Marvel Cinematic Universe Machinations
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a sympathetic Val offers the disgraced John Walker (Wyatt Russell) a fateful opportunity to redeem himself by re-branding him as “U.S. Agent.” Her next appearance, a post-credits scene in Black Widow, saw the mysterious agent hire Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) to assassinate Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to avenge the death of her sister Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson). Thus, the seeds for what will eventually become Thunderbolts were effectively planted.
The character’s most recent appearance, in the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, was originally a larger part of the overall story until the untimely passing of star Chadwick Boseman. “Actually, in this version, [Louis-Dreyfus’ role] was pared back in order to make space for dealing with T’Challa’s death,” said Wakanda Forever co-writer Robert Cole. “And we had Val in there before she even appeared in any of the other movies, before Black Widow and [the series] Falcon and the Winter Soldier. People assume that we were told to put her in, but she was there from the beginning.”
Marvel Studios’ Thunderbolts is set to hit theaters on July 26, 2024.
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