Warning: SPOILERS for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode 5
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s Wyatt Russell says he had no idea about that surprise cameo in episode 5 of the Disney+ series. Up to that point, in his role as John Walker, Russell typically shared the screen with Clé Bennett’s LeMar Hoskins, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan as the show’s lead characters. But in its penultimate installment, Falcon and Winter Soldier shook things up significantly.
In the case of John Walker, the shakeup occurred early in episode 5. After being stripped of his Captain America title and receiving an other-than-honorable discharge from the Army, the character is attempting to regain his composure when he’s approached by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. The character, as portrayed by a delightfully scene-stealing Julia Louis-Dreyfus, offers her support and tells a befuddled John that he is quite valuable.
In a new interview with Esquire, Russell confesses that he had no idea he’d be working with the eight-time Emmy winner. That being said, he admits that there were rumblings that someone significant would be involved. Once he did learn that he’d be working alongside Louis-Dreyfus, however, Russell noted there was an immediate level of ease between the two as actors. In particular, he praised the star of Seinfeld and Veep for cultivating a sense of spontaneity during her time on the set of the series.
Russell’s surprise at working with Louis-Dreyfus lines up well with what his character is experiencing as Valentina introduces herself, explaining her presence and not caring if John catches up to what she’s saying. Valentina’s introduction takes up only a few minutes in what’s an all-around significant entry in Falcon and Winter Soldier’s limited run. Still, it’s enough to leave viewers speculating about when Louis-Dreyfus will reappear and what her addition could mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. While it’s been argued that the franchise has grown bigger than most of the actors it features, Louis-Dreyfus’ cameo unfolds in a manner that speaks to her accomplishments and acclaim as a performer. The secrecy, as well, is another indication of her significance and stature.
It speaks, in another sense, to the fact that Marvel is still quite capable of keeping a surprise under wraps. It’s a worthwhile reminder at a time when, rightly or wrongly, some fans think they’ve figured out the story of Spider-Man: No Way Home based on reports of actors like Alfred Molina returning to reprise villainous roles. Louis-Dreyfus’ unexpected cameo also comes at a time when audiences are divided on Black Widow, with some arguing that the solo film has nothing new or illuminating to reveal about its main protagonist. That may prove to be correct. Although, it might prove that, just as they have with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Marvel can still catch viewers off-guard.