Marvel fans finally have an idea of what the future will look like. It’s been a long wait, but there’s certainly a lot in store: Even though we’re still in the middle of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we now know that two Avengers movies, Avengers: Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, lie ahead.
The details of these blockbusters, however, are hush-hush. While Kang Dynasty sounds self-explanatory after the encounter with He Who Remains in Loki, Secret Wars is, well, secretive. Could the ultimate big bad of this Avengers film be a character we already know, one who’s actually a Skrull in disguise?
Back in the beginning of Phase 4, we were introduced to Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Played by comedy legend Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she posed an alternative to ousted Captain America John Walker in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Instead of being Captain America, he could join her secretive team and become U.S. Agent. Later, we saw her in a post-credits scene of Black Widow, where she offers Yelena Belova a chance at revenge.
But what’s her end goal here? She’s clearly assembling a sort of anti-Avengers, akin to the Dark Avengers or the Thunderbolts in the comics. But there’s no hint of the Dark Avengers in the future, and Thunderbolts isn’t until Phase 6 of the MCU. Why was she introduced so early?
One theory is that Contessa Valentina is actually a Skrull. Skrulls could be anyone, as we saw in the post-credits scenes of Spider-Man: Far From Home and WandaVision. Could Contessa Valentina be one herself? She was included in the Secret Invasion comic run, though she was knocked off early to serve as Nick Fury’s first indication that something was amiss.
Though Valentina was merely a redshirt in the comics, it’s likely she’ll play a bigger role in the MCU considering the amount of build-up she’s been given. Does she have the potential to be the Thanos-level threat we’ve come to expect with an Avengers movie? Maybe not, but even if she’s just a soldier in the Secret Wars, it would be a shocking payoff to her character.
While Avengers: Secret Wars is still a mystery, now’s the time to start hypothesizing about who will be the villain of the piece. Until we learn more, our money is on Contessa Valentina.
Avengers: Secret Wars premieres in theaters May 7, 2025.